The luxurious superyacht owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, named ‘Koru,’ has raised environmental concerns due to its significant carbon footprint. Indiana University researchers discovered that this $500 million vessel generates a minimum of 7,154 tons of greenhouse gases annually, an amount staggeringly higher than the yearly carbon footprint of an average American. This revelation stands in stark contrast to Bezos’s public commitment to combating climate change, including his pledge to donate billions towards environmental causes.
Koru’s grandeur and size necessitate a ‘support yacht’ equipped with a helipad to accompany it during its voyages. Bezos, whose net worth is around $200 billion, gained $75 billion in 2020 alone, with Amazon stocks skyrocketing by 75% as the pandemic shifted consumer behavior towards online shopping. This increase in wealth for U.S. billionaires during the pandemic has been a point of contention, especially in the context of their environmental impact.
In 2022, Bezos announced his intention to give away most of his wealth during his lifetime, targeting environmental charities among other causes. Yet, the opulence and environmental impact of his superyacht have sparked criticism. Beatriz Barros, an anthropology PhD candidate at Indiana University, pointed out the contradiction in billionaires like Bezos advocating for reduced carbon emissions while engaging in activities that significantly contribute to them. She suggests that their immense wealth and influence create a sense of entitlement to luxury travel that contradicts their public stance on environmental responsibility.
Bezos’s engagement to Lauren Sanchez and their European tour aboard the Koru further highlight the disparity between his public environmental commitments and his personal lifestyle choices, raising questions about the real-world impact of wealthy individuals on climate change.