A host of businesses – including Unilever, Ecotricity, and The Body Shop – have come out in support for environmental organization Extinction Rebellion.
Extinction Rebellion has shut down parts of London over the last week during protests which have seen police make 1,065 arrests. The London protest started on April 15 and is slated to continue until the 29. Campaigners have targeted areas including Parliament Square, Marble Arch, and Picadilly Circus.
Demanding climate action
The organization, which describes itself as ‘an international apolitical network’ uses non-violent direct action to ‘persuade governments to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency’.
It has three demands, asking the Government to ‘tell the truth’ by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
It says theGovernment must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and go beyond politics, creating and being led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Now multiple business leaders have written to The Times newspaper, supporting the protests, and saying ‘entire industries and businesses’ need to be redesigned
“Contrary to belief, there is business support for the Extinction Rebellion (XR) agenda,” wrote the business leaders. “The multi-million-pound costs that the Extinction Rebellion protests have imposed on business are regrettable, as is the inconvenience to Londoners. But future costs imposed on our economies by the climate emergency will be many orders of magnitude greater.
“Hard pressure drives change, but even the most committed businesses will need time to respond. We welcome the news that Extinction Rebellion is evolving a new platform, XR Business, to engage business leaders, investors and advisers. To drive things forward, the idea is to convene a meeting of XR activists and experts with business leaders and influencers.”
Changing the way business works
They added that most businesses ‘were not designed in the context of the developing climate emergency’ and said there is, therefore, an urgent need to ‘redesign entire industries and businesses, using science-based targets’.
The business leaders proposed that businesses should make a declaration that we face a climate emergency and organize a session at a full board meeting to consider the case for urgent action, adding: “We will encourage the senior management teams of which we are part to do likewise.”
Extinction Rebellion’s actions continued today with protests at the Natural History Museum and Westminster.