• International Workplace
  • 24 September 2019

Global climate strike: businesses urged to stop talking and start acting

On 20 September, a week of global climate strikes began, with adults joining forces with students to inspire a call to action on the earth’s climate. In response, Business in the Community, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has issued guidance outlining how businesses can support their employees who wish to take part in the strikes. The guidance also outlines how businesses can act immediately and collectively work together to meaningfully respond to the climate emergency facing their businesses and our society.

Business in the Community advises businesses to:  

  • Be supportive of employees wanting to take part in strikes by allowing them to take a day’s annual leave if possible and take the opportunity to gather information from their experience after the event. 
  • Sign Business in the Community’s Waste to Wealth Commitment to work collectively with more than 150 companies towards doubling the nation’s resource productivity and eliminate avoidable waste by 2030.  
  • Raise their ambitions on carbon reduction. For example, the water industry is aiming for net zero carbon by 2030, even though the pathway to get there is not yet clear.   
  • Engage their employees by sharing their progress and plans and incentivising more sustainable behaviour.  
  • Create a circular office: The office is home to a vast range of resources, from the fabric of the building (ceiling tiles, plasterboard, glass, etc.), to the fittings and furnishings (carpets, desks, chairs, IT equipment, etc.) and items used on a regular basis (paper, food, drinks, uniforms, etc.). The way we design, use and operate in these areas must change to eliminate waste and create more efficient, resilient spaces.  
  • Identify the risks and opportunities of climate change to the business. For example, the impact of more extreme weather to business continuity, and the transition to a zero-carbon economy.      
  • Go renewable: find ways to purchase or generate renewable energy. 

Gudrun Cartwright, environment director at Business in the Community, said: 

“The time for talking is over. Our planetary crises will not be solved unless we all, including businesses, act now. We know we have a deadline of ten years to at least halve carbon emissions, which may feel like a long time, but in reality it is just two or three business planning cycles.  

“As the realities of a heating planet become even more apparent and public concern grows, governments will increasingly act and businesses will be held to account for not acting.

“We see many businesses making eco-credentials a priority as they have identified climate and ecological breakdown as an existential threat to business, the economy and society. 

“But businesses must do more, quicker, and put aside competition with each other to work collectively and tackle this problem together.”

Download the report here.