Amazon launched two initiatives on Thursday to promote women who head climate-tech companies. The Seattle tech behemoth founded the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Climate Gender Equity Fund, which supports female climate innovation entrepreneurs. Amazon and USAID each donated $3 million. Amazon also encourages Climate Pledge co-signers to support the fund.
Amazon has pledged $50 million from its Climate Pledge Fund to companies led by or started by women who are working in the field of climate technology.
Investments in climate technology have reached all-time highs in recent years. This sector encompasses a wide range of businesses developing novel approaches to lowering carbon emissions in sectors such as transportation, energy, buildings, agriculture, and manufacturing.
According to PitchBook, the industry received $34.5 billion in venture capital funding in the United States in 2021. But if the investment trends in climate tech are any indication, very few of those funds went to female entrepreneurs.
Despite growing awareness of gender disparity in VC, companies in the United States that were established entirely by women raised only 2.4% of total capital invested in 2017.
Amazon is also supporting Greentown Labs in Massachusetts, the largest U.S. climate tech business incubator, and planning to build its own AWS Clean Energy Accelerator in 2021.
In a statement, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide sustainability, Kara Hurst, said, “As an important step in solving climate change, we must address the gender inequalities that persist in climate finance and ensure female entrepreneurs have an equal seat at the table and access to funding, networks, and technical support they need to scale climate solutions.”