Today is the first day of a week-long global climate strike, and if your brand hasn’t taken note of this event yet, it may want to start now. Here’s why so many brands are participating in some way, along with the online sentiment that’s informing their efforts.
Greta Got it Going
When she was 15, Greta Thunberg started taking time off of school to demonstrate for climate action in front of Swedish parliament. Her blunt manner attracted attention and her efforts gained momentum rapidly, spurring the creation of school climate strike movement, called Fridays for Future.
Every Friday, Greta and other kids around the world, protest in front of local government offices instead of attending school.
“Why are kids striking?
School children are required to attend school. But with the worsening Climate Destruction this goal of going to school begins to be pointless.
– Why study for a future, which may not be there?
– Why spend a lot of effort to become educated, when our governments are not listening to the educated?”
They carry signs emblazoned with hashtags promoting #Fridaysforfuture and #Climatestrike. And it’s working. With today kicking off the latest – and seemingly largest – effort to date. And brands are paying attention. With any number of hashtags catching on around the event, it’s hard to ignore:
Brands Paying Attention to Climate Strike Passion
Environmentally focused brands, including some major US firms like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics and personal care firm Seventh Generation “have agreed to close stores on 20 September to join the worldwide day of climate strikes.”
And many businesses worldwide have committed to taking a “break in business as usual” to focus on sustainability efforts to combat climate change.
And although not all schools are on board, New York Public School System is:
But probably the most notable news trending online about this is around Amazon’s announcement, one day ahead of the start of the strike . . .
Employee Protests Online Compel Amazon to Act
More than 1,000 Amazon employees recently pledged to participate in the global climate strike. Their goal in doing so revolved around three business practices they wanted the ecommerce giant to adopt, including:
- Commit to zero emissions by 2030
- Have zero custom cloud computing contracts with fossil fuel companies
- Spend zero dollars on funding climate-denying lobbyists and politicians
Their protest gained traction, and today Amazon offered a climate pledge.
Amazon is committing to carbon neutrality by 2040 and is ordering 100,000 electric vehicles to hit the roads by 2024 and investing $100 million in global reforestation projects. Not only that, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, says he’ll recruit other CEOs to commit to change as well.
And that last part touches on the true goal here. Greta and other kids worldwide aren’t just wanting businesses “giving in” to online pressure – and having that be their motivator. They want adults to recognize there’s a problem and step up. And they’re not shy about it.
Calling All Adults – and Brands
It’s been a recurring theme in Greta’s speeches and in her protest signs, where she’s called out adults for making a mess of things. And is calling on them to help kids save the planet.
She says as much in her most recent video, encouraging global climate strike participants to act:
Starting on Friday 20 September we will kickstart a week of climate action with a worldwide strike for the climate. We’re asking adults to step up alongside us. There are many different plans under way in different parts of the world for adults to join together and step up and out of your comfort zone for our climate. Let’s all join together, with your neighbours, co-workers, friends, family and go out on to the streets to make your voices heard and make this a turning point in our history.
So what can brands do?
Ways Brands Can Participate
There’s some powerful conversation happening online around Greta and the Global Climate Strike. Lots of amazing conversations to participate in; entry points to “join” the conversation somehow. And not all of them require taking a stance or getting political:
- Share “inspiring” and relevant stories about student activism
- Show support for kids with “Aspergers” (which is something Greta has been diagnosed with)
- Help bring awareness to influential “voices” in the climate conversation
Very few industries will find themselves untouched by this. Even London’s Fashion Week experienced climate-concerned boycotts.
The conversation is likely to come for your brand in some way in the near future. It would be good for that to happen on your own terms – and to have your unforced climate consciousness on full display for concerned consumers! It could be a sales differentiator soon enough if trends – and Net Sentiment – holds:
At the least, be sure to tweet or somehow socially share your #ClimateStrike solidarity, if that’s consistent with how your brand communicates online. And visuals of your participation are always helpful as part of those posts.
Reach out and we can show you how to understand climate strike chatter in your category, to see how relevant it may be (or not), and what to do about it. And we can run through other relevant chatter while we have you!