Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall is impressed by Greta Thunberg and stresses the importance of continuing to work for the climate.
On Monday 23 September the UN Climate Action Summit will take place in New York. This is a step towards COP25 - the UN Convention on Climate change - in Santiago, Chile, which will be held in December 2019.
One of the speakers at the New York meeting will be Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16 year old climate activist, who one year ago started to strike from school every Friday to instead sit outside the Swedish Parliament. This have now developed into a worldwide movement – “Fridays for Future”.
To join the meeting in New York, Greta has travelled across the Atlantic in a zero-emission yacht, since she doesn’t want to fly and leave any carbon footprints on her journey. She will later continue to South America and to the meeting in Chile in December.
Magnus Hall, what is your view on Greta Thunberg and the movement that has started?
Actually I think it’s very inspiring. She has been successful in putting the climate issue to where it belongs – on top of the agenda. And she does it in a humble way at the same time as she doesn’t shy away and doesn’t feel the need to please others. I’m impressed by her.
Do you agree on her views?
I have heard her talk about that politicians need to take responsibility, that we have to act now, that the “house is on fire”. I think she is right about that. Vattenfall also believes that the global climate ambitions and targets need to be sharpened. A transition will not happen overnight, but the political decisions must be taken now, and they need to be bold. But that also go for companies. For many years, Vattenfall has been pushing for ambitious climate targets and we will continue to do that.
I am however quite optimistic about the solutions. As a company, we are very much at the very heart of coming up with solutions. Whether we are talking about decarbonization of the energy sector, industry sector or transport sector, I think it is fair to say that Vattenfall is one of the world leaders driving the development. We do it in-house or in partnerships with many other industries, and it’s a very inspiring place to be. For us it also means a lot opportunities.
On 20 to 27 September the movement has convoked for a climate strike week. This time the proposal goes beyond a student strike and has the ambition to also cover workplaces.
Do you support Vattenfall employees to join that strike?
I have big respect for individuals who want to take a stand and show their opinion.
For Vattenfall as a company, I think however that the best thing we can do for the climate is to continue to work to find solutions. I believe the students are looking to companies like us, and we should put all our efforts in responding to their concerns. The best way to do that, in my view, is by action. So instead of going on a climate strike we should “climate-work”.
I’d like to encourage everyone at Vattenfall to talk to customers, colleagues and friends on how we as a company can contribute even further to decarbonizing the society.