After nearly a thousand arrests of non-violent demonstrators in London over the last week, it is clear that the Extinction Rebellion movement has changed the conversation about climate change, where so many of us have tried and failed hitherto. This is a therefore a unique moment of opportunity, for all with eyes to see how quickly we are collectively sabotaging a livable future.
The letter to the Times by business leaders that follows was pulled together by the inestimable John Elkington at short notice. I would appeal to all in the business world who worry about climate change to engage with the XR business platform that the letter refers to.
A survival reflex could yet emerge in society, but as the anguished people of all ages blocking London streets and the thousands of striking schoolchildren know only too well, time is running out fast.
Sir, Contrary to belief, there is business support for the Extinction Rebellion (XR) agenda. 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.
Most businesses were not designed in the context of the developing climate emergency. Hence we must urgently redesign entire industries and businesses, using science-based targets.
To kick start the process, businesses should make a declaration that we face a climate emergency and organise a session at a full board meeting to consider the case for urgent action. We will encourage the senior management teams of which we are part to do likewise.
Seb Beloe, partner at WHEB
Thomas Bourne, CEO and co-founder, Greenheart Business Ltd
Amy Clarke, co-founder, Tribe Impact Capital LLC
Chris Davis, CSO, The Body Shop International Ltd
John Elkington co-founder and Louise Kjellerup Roper, CEO, Volans Ventures Ltd
Brad Frankel, CEO and co-founder, Flooglebinder Ltd
Jake Hayman, CEO, Ten Years’ Time
Jeremy Leggett, founder and director, Solarcentury Ltd
Charmian Love and Amanda Feldman, co-founders, Heliotropy Ltd
Andy Middleton, founder and chief exploration officer, TYF Group
Safia Minney, founder & Former CEO, People Tree Fair Trade group.
James Perry, partner, Snowball LLP
Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever plc
Samer Salty, co-founder and managing partner, Zouk Capital LLP
Sir Tim Smit, founder of The Eden Project, executive chairman of Eden Regeneration Ltd
Hermione Taylor, CEO and founder, The Do Nation Enterprise Ltd
Diana Verde Nieto, CEO and co-founder, Positive Luxury Ltd
Dale Vince OBE, founder, The Ecotricity Group
Bevis Watts, managing director, Triodos Bank UK
Tim Westwell, co-founder and former CEO, Pukka
Gail Bradbrook (co-founder) Extinction Rebellion
Fiona Ellis (XR Business)
I’m sure there are lots of other people from business that would like to add their name to this (myself included). Is it possible to make it a list that you add to?
All the best
Michael Pawlyn, TED speaker and Founder, Exploration Architecture
How will you and XR engage China and India?
Trying to engage the Solar Energy Industry (http://www.snec.org.cn/website/index.aspx?url=Conference/Login&lang=en see my contribution at Industry Workshop on Global PV Markets) and bridge them to the United Nation Climate Action Summit on 23rd September in New York https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/03/25/leaders-told-to-bring-plans-not-speeches-to-un-climate-summit/
I didn’t see the names of any insurance groups in the list of companies, and find that surprising.
Absolutely support the Extinction Rebellion. We have a Climate Emergency, and time for serious action is fast running out. Fluffing about on the edges, and pandering to the fossil fuel industry is killing our chances of survival. The solutions are available. All that is lacking is political will. Now is the time for a world hero to arise. Which politician will that be?
It’s about time!
I’m an ordinary 74 year old woman and I am ashamed of the way my generation are leaving the planet for future generations.
I lend my full support. From small islands lens, we have been on the climate emergency titan since the dawn of the fossil fuel industry.
Well done! Just the sort of support that ER needs to make government take notice and finally act as a matter if the greatest urgency.
XR are doing GREAT things for all life on the planet, as we know it. I planned going joining them in London, but was unable. So, i donating money to the cause. We all need to pitch in.
This needs to spread to all of the major banks! How can we better pressure BANKS. They need to pull monies from: petroleum industries (all fossil fueis); nuclear industries; weapons manufacturers; and big Agriculture.
And, invest in wind, solar, geothermal, organic foods, electric transportation; weatherizing of buildings; and upgrading old infrastructure. BANKS, could help us turn this rush to the ecological cliff around.
Hi Jeremy – any updates on XR Business? The website isn’t up yet, it seems. And is membership of the group for large businesses – or is it also open to SMEs?
There were some concerns that business was co-opting the XR brand, coming from activists who don’t know the main players and what our motivations are. A bit of shame, IMHO. Anyway, a decision was taken to graciously retreat to activism of our own, without using the XR brand. Personally, I will continue using Extinction Rebellion language, because I am a citizen as well as a green business person, and as such I consider myself part of the movement.