Amazon has announced a $15-million allocation for nature-based solutions in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The fund will invest an initial $3 million into projects in India, beginning with a first project in the Western Ghats to plant 300,000 trees. 

The allocation draws from Amazon’s $100-million Right Now Climate Fund, created in 2019 to support nature conservation and restoration projects that enhance climate resilience and biodiversity while driving social and environmental benefits in communities where they operate.

“The Asia-Pacific region is home to vast forests and rich coastal environments, but it is also highly vulnerable to climate change, biodiversity loss, and land degradation. To protect the region from the impacts of climate change and preserve biodiversity, we will need both large-scale and local action – and we’re committed to investing in both,” said Kara Hurst, Amazon’s Global VP for Sustainability. 

Wildlife studies

The first $3-million from the fund’s APAC allocation will support nature-based projects in India. For its first project, Amazon will be working with the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) to support communities and conservation efforts in the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is home to more than 30 per cent of all of India’s wildlife species, including the world’s largest population of wild Asiatic elephants and tigers. 

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Amazon’s funding of $1 million will help CWS establish the “Wild Carbon” program, which will support 10,000 farmers in planting and maintaining one million fruit-bearing, timber and medicinal trees. 

Amazon’s direct contribution will enable CWS to partner with 2,000 family farms and plant 300,000 trees over three years. The trees will help to expand land area for animals and reduce human-wildlife conflict through the creation of natural buffer zones, while also bringing in higher-value trees for the farmers compared to other subsistence crops. 

Monitoring systems

CWS will also use project funds to develop t monitoring systems using drone and remote sensing technology and on-the-ground surveys to verify program outcomes, advancing research on the potential positive impact of farmers on reforestation opportunities, said the company. 

The Right Now Climate Fund’s allocation for India and APAC complements its broader sustainability and decarbonization efforts in the region. In 2019, Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge, committing to reach net-zero carbon by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. 

The Pledge now has more than 400 signatories across 55 industries and 38 countries, which work together on initiatives that preserve the natural world and enable decarbonizing technologies. Nine Indian companies have joined the Pledge: BluPine Energy, CSM Technologies India, Godi, Greenko, HCL, Infosys, Mahindra Logistics, Tech Mahindra, and UPL.