Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is on a 3-day India visit, for multiple reasons. One among them is to inaugurate an event being organized by the online retailer for small and medium businesses in New Delhi. Speaking at the event, Amazon’s boss gave an interesting take on why he launched an aerospace and spaceflight services company. He also gave his opinion and company initiatives on Climate Change.
There is e-commerce and there is Space.
Blue Origin, started by Jeff Bezos in late 2000, is into space technology and building reusable space vehicles.
On being asked about his motivation to launch this company, Bezos alluded to his childhood passion. He started getting interested in space as a 5 years old boy when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the surface of the moon. “I have been studying rocket, rocketry, rocket propulsion and space travel since I was a little boy. In high school, I read a book High Frontier by Gerard K. O‘Neill and started thinking about humanity expanding into the solar system.”
The Founder gave a very interesting perspective on how human civilization would evolve interwoven with space technology. Earth has finite resources which are running into its limits, so in the long run (like hundred of years) “our descendants are going to move all heavy industry off Earth and all the polluting industry will be done in space where we have infinite resources for all the practical matters”. Earth can be effectively be used for light industry and residential purposes – it can be an “amazing garden”.
“There are no other good planets in this solar system. We have to take care of this one and this has to be done in a bunch of different ways.”
Effectively using the resources of the solar system requires a new breed of space entrepreneurs. As per him, two kids in the dorm room can create a billion-dollar company (like Facebook), but that kind of dynamism will not be able to create something in space. The cost of admission and resources is just too high, anything in space requires hundred of millions of dollars. That’s why a company like Blue Origin can be a facilitator to reduce that cost for “two kids in the dorm room who can create something in space”.
Climate Change and Amazon initiatives
Jeff Bezos indicated his commitments towards taking strong action to mitigate the impact of Climate Change. As per him, if there are still people who do not recognize the impact of climate change – “These people are not being reasonable, this is a big problem”.
As part of the action plan, his e-commerce company has recently announced ‘The Climate Pledge’, which is a commitment to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years in advance. Amazon plans to have 10,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2022 and 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030 – thereby reducing carbon emission. Amazon plans to make large scale investments in sources of renewable energy like wind and solar.
Amazon’s vision is also to make all shipments net-zero carbon through sustainable packaging. In India, the company has decided to eliminate all plastic in the next 6 months i.e. by June 2020.
The need of the hour is to take strong and collective action – when large corporations like Amazon take such steps, it can create a ripple effect on many industries and businesses.