Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said he plans to donate the majority of his net wealth to charity within his lifetime in a new interview with CNN. Bezos did not give any specifics about how he would distribute the money or exactly what percentage of his wealth he would give away but said he wanted to fight climate change and support people who can unify humanity, CNN reports. The Amazon founder is reportedly the fourth-richest person on Earth, with a net wealth of $124 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
CNN reports that this is the first time that Bezos has announced plans to give away the majority of his fortune. In a clip of the interview published by CNN, interviewer Chloe Melas asks if Bezos plans “to give away the majority of your wealth in your lifetime.”
“Yeah, I do,” Bezos responds. “The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way… It’s not easy. Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work, a bunch of very smart teammates, and I’m finding — and I think Lauren [Sánchez, Bezos’ partner] is finding the same thing — that philanthropy, is very similar. It’s not easy, it’s really hard.”
“We’re building the capacity to be able to give away this money.”
“There are a bunch of ways that I think you could do ineffective things, too,” Bezos added. “We’re building the capacity to be able to give away this money.”
The comments make Bezos the latest billionaire to say he’ll give away some or all of his wealth to charitable causes. Most notably, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said he plans to give away “virtually all” of his fortune (currently estimated at $114 billion) to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been reported as the largest private charity in the world. Gates also co-founded The Giving Pledge, a campaign to encourage the world’s superrich to give a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. As of this writing, Jeff Bezos is not listed as a signatory.
Bezos has previously committed large sums of money toward charitable causes, though nothing approaching the majority of his wealth. In 2020, he announced the creation of the Bezos Earth Fund and committed to spending $10 billion to fight climate change.
But Amazon, the e-commerce giant that Bezos founded and which created the majority of his wealth, has a mixed record when it comes to the environment. Although in 2019, Bezos announced a 2040 target for the company to become carbon neutral, Amazon’s carbon dioxide emissions grew by 18 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to its latest sustainability report. Bezos resigned as the company’s CEO last year and now serves as its executive chair.