Haglöfs decided to shut down its stores on the occasion of a global climate strike on Sept. 20 to allow its staff to take part in the movement. The decision affected the four European stores of the Swedish outdoor company, located in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Åre and Oslo. The company has two more stores in London and Chamonix, run in cooperation with its parent company, Asics Corp.
Patagonia had previously announced its decision to close its stores worldwide on Sept. 20 and 27, during the climate strikes, to encourage its staff and customers alike to join them. The date of Patagonia's strike action was meant to be Sept. 20 or 27, varying from country to country. In the U.K., for example, the strike was scheduled to take place on Sept. 20, while it will be held on Sept. 27 in Italy, the Netherlands and other countries.
The climate strike is calling for a stop to the use of fossil fuels and climate justice for everyone. The dates of the strike were chosen to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit, scheduled to take place in New York on Sept. 23. It was school students who originally started the movement, but then many workers and companies joined them in support. Some businesses have let their employees take the day off to protest, while others are closing their stores altogether.
According to reports on CBS News, store closures on Climate Strike Day also involved Burton, Ben & Jerry's, Lush Cosmetics, Badger Balm and SodaStream. Mountain Equipment Co-Op, the Canadian outdoor retailer, has already announced that it will be shutting its doors across Canada on Sept. 27, in solidarity with the strikes.
On Sept. 20, in New York City alone, the mayor estimated that 60,000 people – young people and adults alike – marched to call for action against climate change, as reported by The New York Times. Parallel strikes were held in cities around the world, with around 2,500 events scheduled in more than 150 countries.
It all began a little more than a year ago, in August 2018, when Greta Thunberg, who was 15 at the time, started weekly sit-ins alone outside the Swedish Parliament, skipping school every Friday to raise global awareness of the risks posed by climate change. Greta has since become a world figure. She met with former U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 17, prior to the strikes.
This past Monday, Greta gave a much-publicized, emotional speech at a climate conference called by the United Nations in New York where about 60 representatives of national governments spoke out without making any strong new commitments to reduce C02 emissions. She accused them of “betrayal” of the young people who will survive them. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said.
At the conference, President Emmanuel Macron of France reiterated that he would not endorse any trade agreement with countries that will not respect the 2015 Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis, evidently referring to the new Brazilian government of Jair Bolsonaro. German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged that her country will stop coal mining by 2023 – a date considered by many to be too late.
António Guterres, secretary general of the U.N., had asked the delegates for a phase-out of coal, but Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi did not make any commitment in this regard, while announcing a plan to develop renewable energies. U.S. President Donald Trump made a short visit to the summit to listen to Modi's speech, but then he walked out, and Greta looked at him sternly.
The United Nations' latest findings show that it will be necessary to at least triple current efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change, which calls for a rise in global temperatures by no more than 1.5 degrees centigrade by the end of this century, or 2 degrees as compared to pre-industrial levels. Based on current trends, they could rise by as much as 3.4 degrees, causing disastrous effects for future generations.
“The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” said Greta and the U.N. summit. “And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line.” She was joined by 14 other children in lodging a formal complaint against the U.S. and other countries under the U.N. convention on the rights of the child.
Governments will have another chance at a more important U.N. summit due to take place in Glasgow at the end of next year, the COP26, where more than 30,000 delegates are expected but many companies in all kinds of sectors have been promising to be carbon-neutral along the whole supply chain. Some of them, like Icebug, claim that they already are and are calling on others to do the same.