Businesses gear up for day of global climate strikes
Shoe brand Allbirds, tea firm Pukka Herbs and PepsiCo subsidiary SodaStream have joined the coalition of businesses throwing their weight behind the worldwide day of climate strikes on Friday (20 September).
During the 24-hour strike period, which is due to begin at 8 am, SodaStream will not open its head office operations in London. It will also suspend its e-commerce operations and will change its website to display a message reading: “Global Climate Strike in Solidarity with the Young Generation for a Better Future”.
“Caring for the planet is at the core of our company, and we have to walk the talk - even at a price,” SodaStream’s chief executive officer Eyal Shohat said. “It is our responsibility as leaders to listen to the voices of the young generation and act now.”
Allbirds, meanwhile, will close all offices and stores in the US and EU during the day of action. Staff will continue to receive pay and will be encouraged to participate in their nearest marches.
The brand’s co-founder and co-chief executive Joey Zwillinger said the strikes provide “a moment to demand action from our leaders in ensuring there is a healthy planet for future generations”.
“The environment is one of our most important stakeholders, and as we grow in size and influence, we have an opportunity — a responsibility — to use our voice to speak out against inaction in the face of dire consequences of climate change,” Zwillinger said.
As for Pukka Herbs, the tea brand, which last year set approved science-based emissions targets in line with the Paris Agreement's 1.5C trajectory, will encourage its staff to take part in the Bristol demonstrations.
In preparation for the strikes, the B-Corp has declared a "climate and biodiversity emergency" and pledged to offset its 2019 emissions. In doing so, Pukka Herbs' co-founder Tim Westwell said, the business is "committing to telling the truth about the reality of a climate breakdown" and "making a meaningful commitment to address this collapse by taking radical action and urgently reducing carbon emissions."
“When my business partner Seb and I co-founded Pukka 18 years ago, the science was already clear that businesses needed to operate in a way that regenerated our environment and society," Westwell elaborated.
"We acknowledge that fundamental change is required in order to respond to scientific predictions of global warning and call on others to join us on this crusade to protect life on Earth."
Since the first school climate strike was held by teenage activist Greta Thunberg in August 2018, what started out as a solo protest in Sweden’s parliament has grown to a global phenomenon. More than 70,000 children and young adults, across 270 towns and cities globally, have been walking out of their schools, colleges and universities every Friday since February.
To date, the biggest strike, on 15 March 2019, garnered the support of more than 1.4 million students across 112 countries. But this week’s strike is due to be even more well-attended – largely due to the fact that businesses and individual adults have been encouraged to get involved at scale for the first time.
Other businesses set to join the strike include Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics Seventh Generation. Several organisations which represent businesses, including Business in the Community (BITC), the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), will also be giving their backing.
The message behind the strikes is to urge national governments and large corporations to align themselves with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory. This is a feat which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has claimed will require global carbon-neutrality by 2050.
Friday’s strikes will notably act as a precursor for the UN Climate Summit in New York.
Doing our bit
To mark the occasion, edie will be creating a special edition of its Sustainable Business Covered Podcast, whereby content editor Matt Mace and reporter Sarah George will head to London to interview participating business leaders and students from the frontlines of the demonstrations.
This podcast episode is due to be published by evening time on Friday. In the meantime, do come and say hello if you see team edie in Westminster.
edie will additionally be supporting the strike digitally. Visitors to the website from 7 am on Friday will be presented with a “wraparound” message urging them to learn more about the strike movement and to take part if possible. News, features and all other content will be accessible by exiting this pop-up.