Jeff Bezos of Amazon.
CAPE TOWN - Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos said at an award ceremony in Berlin he believes his legacy will be defined by his investment in space exploration.

The Bezos-funded space exploration company Blue Origin is “the most important thing I’m doing,” said the chief executive upon receiving a business innovation award from German publishing house Axel Springer.

Bezos also said that he believes that the development of the solar system is necessary to prevent future energy crises, and that humans will one day “move all heavy industry out of Earth.”

According to the publishing house, the non-remunerated Axel Springer Award is presented to outstanding personalities who are particularly innovative, create and change markets and who face up to their social responsibilities.

While Bezos was receiving the award, several hundred Amazon employees and anti-capitalist activists protested in front of Axel Springer’s Berlin headquarters.

The German trade union Verdi had previously criticised Bezos’ selection as the recipient for a business innovation award and organised the protest rally. Verdi has for years been demanding a collective bargaining agreement for employees at Amazon’s logistics centres on the same terms as retail and mail-order companies.

The union has criticised the fact that employees can not live off Amazon salaries, while Bezos is the richest man in the world.

The US corporation, which employs more than 12000 permanent employees throughout Germany, has responded by saying that it pays at the upper end of what is usual for comparable activities.

At the ceremony, Bezos rejected criticism of unfair working conditions.

“I’m very proud of the wages that we pay,” Bezos said. “I’m very proud of our working conditions.”

In addition to owning Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, Bezos is also the current owner of the Washington Post newspaper.

With a fortune of more than $120billion (R1.48trillion), Bezos is considered the richest man in the world-.

Previous winners of the Axel Springer Award are Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2016 and British "father of the World Wide Web" physicist and computer scientist Timothy Berners-Lee in 2017. 

- DAP