Monday, September 30, 2019

Businesess and Employees Supporting the Climate Strikes

Thousands of companies joined millions people in the recent student led climate strikes on September 20 and 27. These strikes are an urgent call for governments to act on climate change. Some companies gave their employees paid time off to participate in the strike while others closed their doors.

Well known corporate brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry's, Burton, and Lush Cosmetics shut down both their manufacturing and their bricks and mortar retail outlets. They also encouraged their employees and customers to attend the strikes.

On September 20th more than 7,000 businesses and websites participated in a digital climate strike including some of the world's largest companies. Tumblr, WordPress, Imgur, Kickstarter, BitTorrent, Tor, BoingBoing, Greenpeace,, among many others spread the word on social media, donated ad space or put banners supporting the strikes on their sites. Seventh Generation donated its commercial airtime for the week to youth climate strikers.

The employees at tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Atlassian, Cobot, Ecosia, Twitter and Amazon also participated in the strikes. Amazon employees sent a letter to their boss and the board of directors telling them to adopt a climate plan. Thousands of Google employees signed a pledge calling for their employer to support climate action. They also called out their employer for supporting members of Congress who vote against climate action. Many employees want to see the firms they work for achieve zero emissions by 2030, eliminate contracts for fossil fuel companies and eradicate funding for climate deniers.

On September 20 more almost 4,500 climate strikes were held in 132 countries. There were 800 events in the U.S. including a massive march in New York City ahead of the U.N.'s Climate Action Summit. Canada was at the forefront of climate mobilization on September 27th. In Montreal 500,000 people participated in the strike making it the largest single climate march in history. A total of almost a million Canadians took part in some form of action on this day. 

Canadian businesses like the National Bank encouraged its 2,100 employees to take part in the strikes and companies like Mountain Co-op and Lush Cosmetics closed their doors across the country. Small businesses also participated in the protest. Even companies in some of Canada's smaller cities took part. In Moncton this included Calactus, La Station, Branch Graphic Design, SDV Vintage and Cafe C’est La Vie.

As quoted in Huddle, Marc Theriault, the owner of the vegetarian restaurant Calactus explained:
"Maybe some businesses, their purpose is to impact climate change…but it’s also very possible that businesses realize that climate action on their part means more customer loyalty from their customer base…Frankly, I don’t care where the decision comes from if the effect is the same," he said. "I’d like to encourage people to come to the march. Make the necessary change."

Symbiose, an environmental and social justice organization at the University of Moncton and their president Antoine Zboralski said the involvement of business is important to the cause.
"It’s really crucial because we try to engage everybody in our society to get involved in the climate emergency to get people to think about this really important matter," he said. "If we get the businesses on board, then we can get the city and politicians on board. When you have the businesses, you can say, ‘look, everybody want to change, not only environmentalist’...It’s really a global approach that we need to have collectively. People can do small things alone but it’s really a collective approach that’s required to change the way we do things in the hope that we can limit the effects of climate change," Zboralski said. 

American companies like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry's have assumed a leadership role. They are at the forefront of corporate efforts in support of the climate strikes.
"We recognize that climate change is an existential threat to our planet and all its inhabitants, and therefore we are proud standing with the youth-led movement demanding bold action in response to the climate emergency," a spokesperson for Ben & Jerry's said.
No company has show more sustained leadership than Patagonia. This company has sustainability woven into its DNA.
"For decades, many corporations have single-mindedly pursued profits at the expense of everything else—employees, communities and the air, land and water we all share," Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario wrote in a blog post explaining why the company plans to close for business during the strike. “Now we face a dangerously hot and fast-changing climate that is exacerbating natural disasters, causing food and water shortages, and speeding us toward the biggest economic catastrophe in history. The plain truth is that capitalism needs to evolve if humanity is going to survive."

Badger Balm closed for the day and gave its workers paid time off to demonstrate or volunteer. The company also donated 5 percent of online sales from September 16 to 27 to to aid in preserving the Amazon. SodaStream, the seltzer maker owned by PepsiCo, closed its headquarters and its e-commerce activity on September 20th.

Several hundred other businesses supported the strike by giving workers time off, closing corporate offices or otherwise drawing attention to the strike. Here’s a list from Fast Company of the businesses that participated in the September 20th strike in some way:

3P Partners
450 Architects
A Better World
A.K. A Coach and Company
Aegis Renewable Energy
AGL Media Group
Alston C Lundgren, MD, PC
Alter Eco
American Sustainable Business Council
Amicus Solar Cooperative
Appropriate Technology Group
Arcadia Power
Aspen Leaf Wealth Management
At The Epicenter
Attention To Details
Bandidas Taqueria
Bee’s Wrap
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.
Bird + Stone
Blackledge Furniture
Blue Earth Planning, Engineering & Design
Brattleboro Savings & Loan
Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
Buckminster Fuller Institute
Carbon Analytics
Center for Partnership Studies
Chelsea Green Publishing
Chroma Technology Corp.
Circularity Edge
City of Las Cruces
CleanChoice Energy
Clean Yield Asset Management
Clif Bar & Company
Climate Changers
Collaborative Solutions
Cooperative Economic Alliance of New York City
Danforth Pewter
David Brothers Landscape Services
Dock to Dish
Dr. Bronner’s
EDB Organization
Eileen Fisher
Emerson Gardening Services
Encore Renewable Energy
Environmental & Public Health Consulting
Ever Better, PBC
Evolution Marketing
Florida for Good
Folia Water
Good for Business
Grassroots Solar, Inc
Groennfell Meadery
Ground Floor Partners
Group14 Engineering, PBC
Grove Collaborative
HELM Construction Solutions
Ideaction Corps
Image Relay
Indigo Agriculture
Intex Solutions
Intrepid Travel
Jim Schulman Architect
Johnnie Brook Creative
Legacy Vacation Resorts
M&E Engineers
Manale Realty
Marin Sunshine Realty
Medicine Buddha Coaching
Mercury Press International
Modern Species
Montgomery & Granai PC
Mountain Sports
Namasté Solar
Nature’s Path Foods
New Chapter
NewGen Surgical
New Jersey Sustainable Business Council
North American Climate, Conservation and Environment
Ohio Sustainable Business Council
One Green Planet LLC
Opening Ceremony
Our Natural Homes
Outdoor Voices
Package Free
Partnership Studies
Paul Millman
Pipe Organs/Golden Ponds Farm
Pingala Cafe
Population Media Center
Real Pickles
Responsible Leader Group, LLC
REY architecture + interiors
Salt Palm Development
Scream Agency
Seventh Generation
Shifting Patterns Consulting
Sir Kensington’s
Small Wonder Communications
Socrates Dog Walking
Solberg Manufacturing, Inc.
Southern Energy Management
Spector and Associates
Sterling College
Sticky Paws Meadery
Stone’s Throw Strategies
Sunsprout Farms of Central Ohio LLC
Sustainable Heating Outreach & Education, Inc.
Swap Society
Teatulia Organic Teas
Telecom for Charity
The Alchemist
The Culture Company
The Green Engineer, Inc.
The Jia Group
The John Leary Organization
The North Face
Think Tanky Consulting
Third Sun Solar
Tim’s Naturals
Toast Ale
Transformative Wealth Management
Vegan Flag
Verity Platforms
West Hill Shop
Wieden+Kennedy London
Wiltse Kitchen
Wisconsin Green Growth
World Centric
WS Badger Company
Wurst Biergarten

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