Daily BulletinHoliday Centre

News

  • Written by Ian McGregor, Lecturer in Management, UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney

Multinational ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s will close its Australian stores for this month’s global climate strike and pay staff to attend the protest, amid a growing realisation in the business community that planetary heating poses an existential threat.

It is one of hundreds of business in Australia and many more overseas that plan to support the strike on Friday, September 20.

Millions of people around the world are expected to take part in the schools-led civil action, led by 16-year-old Swedish student and climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Everyone's business: why companies should let their workers join the climate strike A young child holds a sign as part of a climate strike in Sydney in March 2019. AAP

Read more: Mark Butler calls for “ruthless” re-examination of Labor policies, including on climate

The strike will call for decisive global action on climate change ahead of a major United Nations summit in New York on September 23.

Scientists themselves recently urged their colleagues to embrace political activism, even civil disobedience, arguing that using peer-reviewed research to influence policymakers has not brought about the radical change needed.

Ben & Jerry’s will close 35 shops across Australasia for the duration of the strike. The company’s Australian arm has declared that business as usual “is no longer a viable plan” in the face of a climate emergency. Or as the company says in its values statement: if it’s melted, it’s ruined.

No one will be spared from the effects of unmitigated climate change, and that includes the business community. That’s why I argue that all businesses should support the climate strike any way they can.

There is no escape

The Department of the Environment and Energy has warned of the pervasive effects on Australian business of higher temperatures, altered rainfall patterns and more frequent or intense fires, heatwaves, drought and storms.

The department says the changes will be felt “by every person and every organisation, public or private, and at all levels, from strategic management to operational activities”.

Everyone's business: why companies should let their workers join the climate strike Firefighters battling a bushfire on the Sunshine Coast on September 9, 2019. Bushfires are expected to become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change. John Park/AAP

Many in the business sector recognise the looming challenge, including the Business Council of Australia which has called for a bipartisan energy and climate change policy framework.

So who’s already on board?

Ben & Jerry’s Australia and New Zealand marketing manager, Bert Naber, confirmed to me in an interview that the company would close its stores for several hours on September 20.

Staff will be paid while the stores are closed. The company is strongly encouraging staff to take part in the strike but their attendance is not compulsory.

Everyone's business: why companies should let their workers join the climate strike A photo from June 2019 showing dogs hauling a sled over a rapidly melted ice sheet during an expedition in northwest Greenland. Steffen M. Olsen/Danish Meteorological Institute/ EPA

The company will also close its US stores for the strike, joining other retailers such as Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics, and personal care firm Seventh Generation.

Australian marketing agency Republic of Everyone is closing its business for the day. ounder Ben Peacock is encouraging his staff to attend the event and perhaps even take a volunteer role.

Other large organisations such as software giant Atlassian are making it as easy as possible for staff to attend.

Everyone's business: why companies should let their workers join the climate strike Atlassian chief executive Mike Cannon-Brookes. HOWORTH

Atlassian chief executive Mike Cannon-Brookes said the climate crisis “demands leadership and action … But we can’t rely on governments alone.”

Cannon-Brookes co-founded Not Business As Usual, an alliance of progressive Australian companies pushing for greater action on climate change. As of September 9, more than 230 companies had joined the alliance and pledged to allow employees to strike including Future Super, Canva and Bank Australia.

On climate, business is a broad church

Calls from the Australian business sector for climate action have grown louder as the threat worsens. The sector has also demanded long-term certainty to assist with investment decisions - particularly energy businesses and large power consumers such as manufacturers.

Everyone's business: why companies should let their workers join the climate strike Operations at Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia, owned by BHP. The firm has called for stronger climate action. BHP

However across the business community, research indicates that views are split on the need for stronger climate action.

Some parts of the business sector, such as insurance, reinsurance, financial services, renewable energy and energy efficiency have advocated for strong climate action early since the 1990s.

Read more: Australians disagree on how important climate change is: poll

Fossil fuel extraction industries, fossil fuel-driven electricity generation and vehicle manufacturers have, however, traditionally opposed strong emissions reduction targets.

There are exceptions. [Global mining company BHP], for example, is now calling for stronger action because it recognises that climate change is a huge global challenge that requires an urgent collaborative market and policy response.

Climate-aware investors are also calling on companies to act. They include superannuation giant HESTA, which recently demanded that Australian oil and gas companies Woodside and Santos link executive pay to reducing their emissions.

Advice for employees wanting to attend the strike

Of course, many employers will not be closing their doors for the climate strike and some workers will have to seek leave from their jobs to attend. The exact rules surrounding this will depend on individual awards or enterprise agreements.

In some cases employees may be able to negotiate an arrangement with their manager to enable them to participate in the strike.

Everyone's business: why companies should let their workers join the climate strike Swedish schoolgirl and climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired climate strikes around the world. ALBA VIGARAY/EPA

While I strongly support the strike, I do not recommend “chucking a sickie” or not turning up for work so you can take part. That approach is likely to make your employer unhappy and leave them in the lurch.

I recommend that employees providing vital services, such as paramedics and the like, support the strike in ways other than leaving their duties. Supporting events in the lead-up to the strike can be found here.

Read more: UK becomes first country to declare a 'climate emergency'

At the time of writing, 26 unions were listed on the Schoolstrike4climate website.

National Tertiary Education Union president Alison Barnes told me in an interview on September 4 that “the time for urgent action is now … we encourage people to take appropriate leave or make necessary arrangements with their employers to attend [the strike]”.

Authors: Ian McGregor, Lecturer in Management, UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney

Read more http://theconversation.com/everyones-business-why-companies-should-let-their-workers-join-the-climate-strike-122976

INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

The Conversation

Politics

Scott Morrison on Credlin

PETA CREDLIN: Thank you for your time tonight, PM I know you've got a lot on your plate. I'll get to the issue of bushfires in just a moment, but I can't let it go unremarked that with Australia Day...

Peta Credlin - avatar Peta Credlin

Scott Morrison interview with Ray Hadley

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: G’day Ray.    HADLEY: Jeez you copped a hammering while I was away.   PRIME MINISTER: Goes with the job mate.    HADLEY: Well, yo...

Ray Hadley - avatar Ray Hadley

Immediate small business support for bushfire affected communities

In response to the devastating bushfires, the Morrison Government has today announced a comprehensive suite of measures to immediately support impacted small businesses.    This initial package ...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

2019 Hottest FinTech Startups Overview

Modern technology is experiencing rapid growth, so many industries expect a so-called revolution, and the financial world is no exception. Over the past ten years, people have witnessed the emergence ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Australians need to look out for this US Crypto-platform

Good news for Aussie sports fans as UssCyber is soon to launch its very own crypto-currency sports trading platform. UssCyber, a blockchain-oriented company based in Florida, is introducing “World S...

News Company - avatar News Company

How to Choose the Right Data Recovery Solution for your Business

In the modern business environment, data is one of the most important commodities. A typical B2C seller, for instance, offering home delivery service cannot deliver the product to the right addres...

News Company - avatar News Company

Travel

The Family Travel Handbook from Lonely Planet

Everything you need to know to take unforgettable trips with your children   Full of practical advice, ideas and inspiration for every type of family, Lonely Planet's The Family Travel Handbook ...

Adam Bennett - avatar Adam Bennett

3 Ideas for a Family-Friendly Holiday to Bali

A family holiday is always an exciting time, but it can often come with its fair share of challenges, especially when trying to keep every member of the family happy. Thankfully, the beautiful islan...

News Company - avatar News Company

The Best Things to Do in Adelaide Hills

Adelaide Hills has long been a relaxing escape for the people of Adelaide and beyond. Its proximity to the capital makes it an accessible destination that feels like you’re miles away from the hustl...

News Company - avatar News Company

ShowPo