Not business as usual: A roundup of Canadian businesses joining global climate strike

Climate strike

“It’s not business as usual for the world’s children to skip school to get adults to pay attention to the climate crisis. It’s not business as usual for citizens to strike to get governments to make meaningful commitments to climate action. So, on Friday, September 27, we’re not doing business as usual.”

That’s the statement issued by a group of global businesses pledging to support worker participation in the climate strikes last week and today, September 27, as  millions around the world gather to demand greater climate action from governments.

So far, over 3000 companies and organizations have signed onto the Not Business As Usual alliance; though most are New Zealand- and Australia-based, where the alliance was founded. Canada only seen a smattering of support from a handful of larger companies, including well-publicized activist-retailers, such as Mountain Equipment Co-op (with 22 locations closed until 5 p.m.) and Lush Canada (which is closing its 50 stores, as well as its manufacturing facilities and online site), which are physically closing their doors.


Smaller environmentally-minded businesses like EcoExistence, Karma Co-op and Greenhouse Juice Co. locations in Toronto will be closing to allow their staff to participate in the Global Climate Strike. At least 50 independent businesses in Victoria, BC are participating.


But it’s not all retailers. Vancity (with assets of $22.9 billion) and its Toronto-based subsidiary VCIB did a partial shutdown. “The VCIB team is proud to be participating in the march, walking our talk and demonstrating our commitment to supporting business and organizations driving positive change.”


BC-based Nature’s Path Organics  (the $400 million-cereal maker) says, “We are walking out of our head office on September 27 and marching at the Global Climate Strike in Vancouver to stand behind the children who are fighting for their future.”


Phillip Haid, CEO of Public Inc has given staff the time off so they can show their support. “We also signed the pledge as a B Corp calling for more and faster action on climate policy,” says Haid.


Some are, like Body Shop, are allowing employees to join the #ClimateStrike marches across the globe if they choose.


Another 10,000 companies and organizations around the globe are participating in a digital #ClimateStrike,  hosted by, during which time companies will donate ad space or post banners on their sites supporting the strikes.


Another few hundred, including Canadian brands, such as Allbirds, Alter Eco, Nature’s Path and Credo, have signed onto the U.S.-based Joint Business Statement Supporting Global Climate Strike that declares the climate crisis as an existential threat to the people and the planet:


“Our actions in the next 18 months will be critical to determining the future of our planet. We must drastically change way we make, grow, and build things. We must change the way we travel, live, eat, and power our communities. We must change the way we do business. As business leaders, we are committed to being accountable for, and reducing our impact on the planet [and standing with youth] by joining and amplifying the #ClimateStrike.”


In Greater Victoria, as many as 50 businesses have signed on to pressure government to act on the climate crisis. Powershifter, a digital product studio in Vancouver posted, “The climate crisis is the single greatest issue of our time and it requires urgent action. That’s why we are supporting the youth-led Global Climate Strike and we invite our clients, collaborators and competitors to join us.”


Corporate Knights staff will be joining the marches in Toronto and Montreal.


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