Amazon buys naming rights to KeyArena in Seattle, will call it Climate Pledge Arena as part of sustainability initiative

Amazon just took its climate change initiative to another level.

The Seattle tech giant announced Thursday that it bought the naming rights to Seattle’s KeyArena and will change the name to Climate Pledge Arena.

Amazon announced its Climate Pledge initiative last year as the company promised to become net carbon neutral by 2040.

The 18,100-seat venue is undergoing a $930 million reconstruction project and will be home to Seattle’s new NHL team and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, with a scheduled opening in Summer 2021.

RELATED: OK, what do we actually call Climate Pledge Arena? Nickname suggestions needed for Seattle venue

It will be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world, generate zero waste from operations and events, and be powered with 100% renewable electricity. It will also create the “greenest ice in the NHL” by using reclaimed rainwater for its ice system stored in a giant tank underground next to the arena, according to ESPN.

“We’ve secured naming rights to the historic arena previously known as KeyArena. Instead of naming it after Amazon, we’re calling it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the importance of fighting climate change,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “We look forward to working together with Oak View Group, a new Climate Pledge signatory, and NHL Seattle to inspire global climate action.”

Welcome to the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world.@amazon, #NHLSeattle & @oakviewgroup are excited to announce a partnership to name our future home Climate Pledge Arena & use our platform to take action against climate change →

— NHL Seattle (@NHLSeattle_) June 25, 2020

The arena’s location in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood is just blocks from Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle and other offices for Google, Facebook, Apple, and more.

This is Amazon’s first arena naming rights sponsorship deal. The company has expanded its sports media footprint over the past several years via streaming deals.

Amazon Web Services Chief Andy Jassy is part of the NHL ownership team in Seattle.

Amazon’s Climate Pledge aims to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change 10 years ahead of schedule.

Amazon’s announcement last year came amid public pressure from the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, which urged the company to set more specific goals on climate change. Bezos said in announcing the pledge that the company was “done being in the middle of the herd on this issue.”

Amazon this week released its 2019 sustainability report. Its greenhouse gas emissions rose over the previous year by 15%, illustrating the challenge the company faces in its quest to go carbon neutral.

Emissions did grow more slowly than net sales, which increased 22% last year from 2018, but the increase illustrates the challenge the company faces in its quest to go carbon neutral.

Earlier this week Amazon launched The Climate Pledge Fund, a new venture capital investment program that will funnel an initial $2 billion into startups building sustainable technologies across various industries such as transportation, food, manufacturing, and more.

This past April Amazon launched a $10 million grant program designed to help family forest owners conserve their land and participate in carbon credit markets. It was the first donation from Amazon’s $100 million Right Now Climate Fund, part of the Climate Pledge initiative.

The company previously led a $700 million investment round in electric car company Rivian.

Amazon has 91 renewable energy projects worldwide.

Bezos in February launched his own $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund that will issue grants aimed at addressing climate change. He has not released further details on where the money will go.

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