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1900 Australian companies give workers time off for Global Climate Strike

Print on demand businesses Canva, Redbubble and 99 Designs are among 1900 companies who’ve joined the Not Business As Usual alliance and pledged to allow employees time off on Friday to attend rallies across Australia as part of the Global Climate Strike. Events are scheduled in all capital cities and more than 90 smaller cities and towns

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 Sydney School Strike 4 Climate rally in March (photo Climate Council)

cannon brookes"The economic impact of climate change is coming at us like a freight train,'' Mike Cannon-Brookes (pictured right), CEO of software giant Atlassian and co-founder of Not Business As Usual, told The Australian Financial Review. "Even the Reserve Bank of Australia has clearly pointed out the risks, so why wouldn’t business take a position on an issue of such importance?" 

Cannon-Brookes' stand has drawn sharp criticism from the federal government and business groups. Ben Morton, assistant minister to the Prime Minister, said corporate Australia should focus on profits and shareholders.  Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said business leaders were entitled to speak up on environmental issues but should place equal focus on core business concerns.

Cannon-Brookes issued a media statement praising teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He added: “Humanity faces 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. Businesses and individuals must also play their part and this responsibility is even more urgent when governments fail.”

The rapidly-growing list of 1900+ Australian companies who’ve signed the Not Business As Usual pledge include Atlassian, Future Super, Domain, print industry trade publisher Intermedia, label business SignIQ, energy retailer Amber, Keep Cup, Ben & Jerry’s, Bank Australia, Slater + Gordon, Climate Council, Amnesty International, Stone & Wood brewery, Car Next Door, Intrepid Travel, Planet Ark, Koala, Oxfam, Design Futures Council, Save the Children and Sendle. 

Friday’s event is an expansion of the School Strike For Climate movement, with adults welcomed along this time for what is shaping up as the largest nationwide protest since the 2003 anti-Iraq war mobilisations.

“Millions of school children around the world are calling on adults to join them in the streets and send a message to governments - now is the time for urgent and meaningful climate action,” says the Not Business as Usual website. “The bigger the turnout, the stronger the pressure on the government.”

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The Global Climate Strike on Friday 20 September (4638 events in 139 countries on all continents) is taking place three days before the UN Climate Action summit.