Aussie businesses take the lead in climate fight
3 September 2019 at 5:15 pm
Australian business leaders must step up and take decisive action on the climate crisis, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes says as he joins an alliance of companies encouraging employees to take part in this month’s global climate strike.
Businesses including Atlassian, KeepCup, Dumbo Feather, Impact Investment Group and Future Super have joined the Not Business as Usual alliance, which advocates for all Australian companies to support taking climate action.
The global climate strike is taking place on 20 September, three days before the UN Climate Action Summit, with hundreds of thousands of school students and workers expected to take part across Australia.
Cannon-Brookes – who is Australia’s richest person under 40 and a passionate environmental activist – said it was clear humanity faced a climate change emergency.
“It’s a crisis that demands leadership and action. But we can’t rely on governments alone. Sadly, in Australia, we can’t rely on them at all,” Cannon-Brookes said.
“Businesses and individuals must also play their part and this responsibility is even more urgent when governments fail.”
Atlassian allows staff to use their volunteering leave to attend the protests, but participation is voluntary.
Cannon-Brookes also encouraged his staff to go further by volunteering at other climate-focused not for profits.
He said other businesses should follow Atlassian’s lead.
“As business leaders, we’ve got to step up and try to solve this problem. It would be amazing to see other companies join us and support their people to join the climate strike,” he said.
— Ben O’Connor (@benoco) September 3, 2019
Simon Sheikh, CEO of fossil-free superannuation fund Future Super, helped form the alliance and said his company was closing its doors on the day of the strike.
He said businesses which supported their employees would be sending out a powerful message that this was not business as usual.
“We need to put boots on the ground and help solve the climate crisis, and by coming together we all have the power to be part of the solution to solve the moral challenge of our generation,” Sheikh said.
In Australia, strikers are calling for governments to commit to no new coal, oil and gas projects including the Adani mine, 100 per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030, and job creation for all fossil-fuel industry workers and communities.
The strike follows the School Strike 4 Climate protests in March, which saw protests taking place in 1,659 towns and cities in 105 countries around the world.
The Australian school strike movement began last year when school students in Central Victoria took action after being inspired by then 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg – who had been striking outside Swedish Parliament calling for climate change action.
In a statement, Australian student strike organisers said they expected a bigger turn out than the 150,000 protesters who turned up in March.
“History reminds us that politicians rarely lead. They need people powered movements to push them. By downing tools at a global scale, we’ll show our politicians that all of us want climate justice, because the alternative is unthinkable,” they said.
Pro Bono Australia will be taking part in this month’s climate strike.