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The Seattle Times reports that Amazon has purchased the naming rights to Seattle's KeyArena, home to the city’s incoming NHL franchise and WNBA’s Storm, and in "an unprecedented sports-world twist will see the venue become known as Climate Pledge Arena rather than using the company’s name."

Not only that, but the move means that the building will be converted so that it "will be powered 100% by renewable electricity when it opens by late-summer 2021 and seek to achieve a zero-carbon footprint … the arena aims to produce zero waste, source food locally and reduce all plastics by 2024."

The story notes that "Climate Pledge signatories commit to regularly disclose of their greenhouse gas emissions; pursue a decarbonization strategy that focuses on strategies including efficiency improvements, renewable energy and reduced materials usage; and purchase carbon-offset credits for emissions they can’t directly eliminate, funding third-party projects expected to reduce, avoid or remove climate-warming gasses from the atmosphere.

"Last week Amazon announced its first co-signers of the Climate Pledge, Verizon, Infosys and consumer-goods giant Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB). Arena developer OVG joined the pledge as part of Thursday’s naming-rights deal … The signatories’ goal is to become carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of what is called for in the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to hold global average temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)."

This is said to be separate from Amazon's $2 billion investment in a venture capital fund designed to back sustainability-centric technologies.

KC's View:

Amazon isn't a perfect company, and Bezos isn't a perfect man.  But he certainly knows how to make the grand gesture in unexpected ways that may even matter.

He gets a lot of grief for his devotion to space travel technology, but it is important to remember that he's also spending billions in the climate change battle, and in a personal investment rescued the Washington Post.  Those sound like pretty earthly concerns to me … he puts his money not just where his mouth is, but also where his heart is.  That's better than a lot of other rich folks who mostly use their money to get richer.