Amazon chief Jeff Bezos said on Monday that he's launching the Bezos Earth Fund, with an initial investment of $10 billion in initiatives aimed at saving the planet. It's a step in the right direction. And it's one other business leaders should follow.
Companies that haven't devised a plan for addressing climate change and their own impact on it are at risk of being left behind by those that do. Regardless of your political leanings, addressing climate change has become a must for businesses. And Bezos is the best example of that.
Before Bezos formed his Earth Fund, Amazon employees (and many external critics) took Amazon to task for not doing enough to address the environment. Some employees even staged walkouts and other public displays to announce that the company needed to do better.
As climate change becomes one of our most pressing topics of concern, employees are coming to work each day trying to determine how their companies are trying to make things better.
In the tech space, especially, having a plan to address climate change is critical since these companies have large carbon footprints thanks to server farms that make up the cloud. Doing nothing to address it puts you behind the times and could result in poor brand perception, trouble attracting top talent, and even bigger trouble keeping valuable employees.
Yes, there is a cost in time, energy, and capital to being more environmentally responsible. But, at this point, it's become a downright necessity in the corporate world and beyond. Just ask Bezos.
"Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet," Bezos wrote in an Instagram post on Monday. "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."
Doing what's right matters. And that, for many business leaders, will be enough. But there are real business implications to not addressing climate change. And that, too, should be kept in mind.
After all, if Bezos does it, other business leaders should too.