Jeff Bezos Just Boosted His Plant-Based Meat Pledge To $100 Million

Jeff Bezos' Earth Fund is investing in alternative meat


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Photo shows Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Jeff Bezos is investing additional money in plant-based meat via his Earth Fund - Media Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock

Jeff Bezos just boosted funding for plant-based and alternative meat development from USD $60 million to $100 million through his Bezos Earth Fund.

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The Bezos Earth Fund aims to open a string of “Bezos Centers for Sustainable Protein,” which it hopes will help overcome major technological barriers in widespread alternative protein production such as quality, cost, and nutritional content.

At the end of May, the Earth Fund announced that North Carolina State University (NC State) will be the first location for a Bezos Center.

It has awarded NC State $30 million over five years to create an open-access “biomanufacturing hub for dietary proteins that are environmentally friendly, healthy, tasty, and affordable,” primarily plant-based, precision fermented, and cultivated meat.

“Food production is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s critical we find ways to feed a growing population without degrading the planet,” said Earth Fund president and CEO Andrew Steer. “Sustainable protein has tremendous potential but more research is needed to reduce the price and boost the flavor and texture.”

Read more: New Study Names Biodiversity Loss As The Main Driver Of Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Bezos Earth Fund now ubiquitous in the climate sector

Photo shows dishes of various vegetables on a chopping board with a stack of meat-free burger patties
Adobe Stock Animal agriculture has a huge environmental footprint, and plant-based meat and other alternative proteins could help make food production more sustainable

Bezos first established the Earth Fund in 2020 as part of a public commitment to tackle the climate crisis, including an overall pledge of $10 billion by the end of the decade. He specifically pledged at least $1 billion of that total for food transformation, and the boosted $100 million investment (previously $60 million) is part of this overall commitment.

The Earth Fund has quickly become a major source of funds for climate-focused organizations of all kinds, including the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the world’s leading adjudicator for corporations’ climate targets. The Earth Fund’s sudden and widespread presence in the sector has been a source of both celebration and criticism.

In May, the annual Conservation International gala in New York honored Bezos and his fiancée Lauren Sánchez with a global visionary award. Meanwhile, SBTi unexpectedly announced that companies under assessment could use carbon offsets to meet their obligations, an approach endorsed by its now-major financial backer, Bezos’s Earth Fund.

While some believe carbon offsets have their place in fighting the climate crisis, a common criticism is that corporations like Bezos’ own Amazon – notorious for its environmental impact, mistreatment of workers, tax avoidance, and absence of animal testing policies – may use them to avoid making difficult emissions cuts.

Speaking to the Guardian, Climate Action Network International senior global energy policy adviser Dr Stephan Singer noted that the Earth Fund’s projects are “nice” but “cosmetic.”

Read more: Jeff Bezos Just Pledged $60 Million To Improve Plant-Based Meats

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