The world’s rich list and their philanthropic efforts that bring new opportunities to startups.

On February 17th, 2020, Jeff Bezos announced on social media that he was donating $10 billion to a new organization called Jeff Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce I am launching the Bezos Earth Fund. Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.

Jeff Bezos

He has taken an immense amount of criticism from mainstream news journalists saying that he was under pressure by his employees to do something about the carbon emissions caused by his internet giant Amazon.

Jeff Bezos founded the e-commerce colossus in 1994 out of his garage in Seattle. He remains CEO and owns a nearly 12% stake. In 2018, Amazon had $230 billion in revenues and a record $10 billion in net profit, up from $3 billion the prior year.

Jeff Bezos is ranked the richest man by Forbes with a net worth of $116 billion as of 1 March 2020, $14 billion less than before the market correction, but on the philanthropic contributions scale has been way down compared to the richest according to Forbes ranked #2 and #3.

Over the last 5 years Warren Buffett, the world 3rd richest man with $81.2 billion, has given the most with $14.7 billion, or 18% of current net worth, to support health and poverty alleviation, education, social justice and women’s rights through foundations run by his children.

The investment legend has given away $34 billion of his Berkshire Hathaway stock since 2006—much of it to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—as his longtime friends put it to work with poverty and healthcare initiatives in developing countries.

Over the same 5-year period, Bill, the world’s 2nd richest with B96.5B, and Melinda Gates, have given the second most to philanthropy with $9.9B, or 10% of their net worth.

The couple runs the world’s largest private charitable foundation, with $46.8 billion in assets. The Seattle-based nonprofit focuses on global poverty, economic development, healthcare and education, and has doled out $50.1 billion in grants since the inception of its predecessors in 1994. The foundation’s major initiatives include bringing contraceptive services to an additional 120 million women in the poorest countries and preventing 264 million illnesses through vaccination as well as polio eradication, all by the end of 2020.

Clearly, there is a lot of money awash from just these three individuals for not only NGOs and activists, but for venture philanthropy and impact investing.

The world is constantly changing and traditional industries of yesterday don’t receiving the same attention as the new sustainable efforts of conscious investors and entrepreneurs.

The attention created by the investment and technology gurus mentioned above is pathing the road for many new and innovative startups seeking capital for R&D and making it trendier to be a part of these projects that are changing the world.

  • More than 100 globally significant financial institutions have restricted investments in carbon-intensive fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • The $1 billion Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund, founded by Gates, Bezos and other philanthropists, has invested in 14 companies involved in everything from battery storage to fusion energy.
  • Warren Buffett is betting on solar power, through one of Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiary companies, NV Energy, to build the largest solar power plant in the U.S that will generate electricity of 690-megawatt on federal land in Nevada. The current record for a solar plant is 579 megawatts.

In a research note, UBS analysts pointed to trends in urbanization and population growth, technological progress driving cost advantages in the renewable space and an improved regulatory environment as factors driving the long-term viability of renewable-energy investments. Globally, cumulative investment in renewables will surpass $9 trillion by 2050, they say, while cumulative investment in energy efficiency and clean-air technologies will balloon to $35 trillion by 2030.

This will bring a whole new meaning to venture philanthropy and impact investing, a term first used in 1969 by John D. Rockefeller III to describe an imaginative and risk-taking approach to philanthropy that may be undertaken by charitable organizations.

Article Giacomo Bonavera – earth funds