This is Not Business as Usual

A group of Australians and global businesses have recently taken their campaign against climate change to a new level by supporting their workers to participate in the Global Climate Strike on 20 September 2019.

The ‘This is not business as usual’ website outlines the reasons why it is not usual for businesses and their workers to have to take action and call for climate change to be taken seriously.

“It’s not business as usual for Australia’s children to skip school to get adults to pay attention to the climate crisis. It’s not business usual for those children to have to ask the adults to skip work. It’s not business as usual for citizens to strike to get the government to make meaningful commitments to climate action. So, on Friday 20 September, we’re not doing business as usual.”

Already in the three days since the alliance was launched, over 250 businesses have made public commitments. Well known businesses including the Australia Institute, the Climate Council, and Keep Cup have already made pledges of support. Despite operating in various industries and sectors, by joining the alliance and showing support for their workers to strike, businesses are recognizing they “can do our part in this first of a kind moment.”

Perhaps the most high-profile signatory to the alliance is Michael Cannon-Brookes, billionaire co-founder of Atlassian. Speaking to Business Insider, he said the message that he wants to send is “Don’t @#$% the Planet.” This builds on one of the company’s values is “Don’t @#$% the Customer.” Although his business will not be closing down on the day of the strike, they will instead be offering public and internal support for the event and allowing employees to take part if they choose to.

Businesses can help apply pressure on their governments in different ways to change policies, reduce their demand and support for fossil fuels and promote green alternative solutions to the climate crisis. “Every business in Australia can do something, whether it’s closing the doors, having a meeting free day, allowing time out on a lunch break to strike, or sending an email to make it clear teams will be penalized for taking a few hours off.”

And many more companies are likely to pledge their support in the build up to the Global Climate Strike and share details of the ways in which they’ll allow their workers to strike.

The timing of the strike is also significant as it is scheduled to occur just three days before the UN Climate Action Summit. The Summit’s website states, “Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it.” While not directly mentioning the ‘This is not business as usual’ alliance, the UN expresses support for business. It says “Business is on our side. Accelerated climate solutions can strengthen our economies and create jobs, while bringing cleaner air, preserving natural habitats and biodiversity, and protecting our environment.”

The ‘This is not business as usual’ alliance was started by Simon Sheik, founder of Future Super, a retirement fund that only invests in ethical, environmentally friendly and other sustainable investments. His key message is that, “Businesses who support their employees will be sending out a powerful message that this is 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.”


Image courtesy of Flickr. Originally published by S&S on Sept. 12, 2019.


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