Five CEOs Tell Us Why They’re Joining the Climate Strike
Students started the climate change action, but businesses are joining
The Global Climate Strike is being led by the youth. That may sound like an oxymoron (can young people who are for the most part in school go on strike?), but it’s a deliberate choice of words.
The week of action — which coincides with the UN Climate Action Summit — will kick off on Friday, September 20th with an international walkout. Students around the U.S. and the world will leave their classes to demand leaders take immediate action to confront climate change. But more importantly, this time around (16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has been at it for over a year), they’re calling on adults to walk out with them. They’re calling on everyone to strike.
Of course, despite the urgent need to curb greenhouse gas emissions and corresponding global temperature increases, striking is still a hard choice — and some schools and businesses are more accepting of the decision than others. In New York City, public school students will not be penalized for skipping classes to join. Meanwhile, Amazon employees are organizing their own strike, and some are using vacation days to do so.
Then, there are the CEOs of major companies who have decided to join the strike. Yes, there are some business leaders who do not see the strike as a potential loss of man hours or logistical nuisance. And they don’t see their participation in it — or their approval of employees and customers participating — as an oxymoron, either. They see it as necessary.
In their own words, here’s why five different CEOs are participating in the Global Climate Strike, and why they think you should, too.
CEO of Patagonia
“Corporations can show they are serious about caring for their employees and communities by taking responsibility for their ecological footprint in the world. CEOs who want to show they are serious about the planet and humankind can make investments in renewable energy sources, protect our lands and water, and transition to a regenerative, organic system of agriculture. These are reasonable, available solutions that create jobs and are cost effective. And we all must make it clear to our elected leaders that there is no room in government for climate deniers and that their inaction is killing us. We need our leaders to act on the science and follow the market forces — do their job and create policies that protect our planet and our communities.”
Co-CEO of Burton
“I’ve been so inspired by Greta Thunberg and the students around the world who have used the weekly Fridays for Future protests to beg adults to pay attention to the climate crisis. At Burton, we want to help preserve the winter outdoor experience for future generations, so I’m proud to have our company join Greta’s movement. As Greta said, ‘We’re all in the same boat, so everyone should be concerned about this.’”
President and CEO of Lush Cosmetics North America
“As a business with deep roots in environmental activism, giving our thousands of staff the time to get out there and demand bold action is a no brainer. We all share this planet, so we need to band together to sound the alarm and show our politicians that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. The climate crisis won’t wait, and neither will we.”
CEO of Ben & Jerry’s
“My generation will be judged harshly for not acting in the face of a clear, scientific consensus around the crisis of climate change. We adults must now follow the lead of youth activists who are demanding a safe and sustainable future. I am inspired by the energy and determination of this youth-led movement and I am committed to helping them succeed.”
CEO of Seventh Generation
“Future generations are inheriting the consequences caused by this generation’s failure to act on the climate crisis. They have every right to be fed up and worried for their future. We share the concerns of the youth climate activists, admire their determination and are here to lift their voices. The time to act on climate is now.”
You can find out more about the Global Climate Strike and events happening near you here.