Greta Thunberg will no longer appear at a large Scottish book festival this week, saying she does not want to be “associated with events” connected to the fossil fuel industry.
The climate activist was set to appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, starting August 12, for an event called “Greta Thunberg: It’s Not Too Late to Change the World,” but said Friday she would no longer attend, accusing the main sponsor, Baillie Gifford, an investment management firm based in the UK, of “greenwashing.”
Greenwashing refers to a phenomenon of companies or firms that outwardly market themselves as environmentally conscious but, in practice, fail to live up to those standards. An example is when critics accused Coca-Cola and the United Nations of greenwashing the 2022 COP27 climate talks, citing plastic pollution from the company’s products.
“As an activist for climate change, I can’t attend an event sponsored by Baillie-Gifford. They invest heavily in fossil fuels,” Thunberg said on the website of the festival . The fossil fuel industry’s greenwashing, which includes sponsorship of cultural events allows them to maintain their social license. I cannot and do not want to be associated with events that accept this kind of sponsorship.”
In response to Thunberg’s statement, Baillie Gifford said it was not “a significant fossil fuel investor” and that “only 2% of our clients’ money is invested in companies with some business related to fossil fuels.”
Thunberg’s decision to opt out of the festival comes after an investigative news site in Scotland known as The Ferret reported that Baillie Gifford’s investments tied to the fossil fuel industry (or firms that profit from it) total up to $4. 5 billion.
Nick Barley responded to the statement in the same way, and defended the support the company has given the book festival.
“I agree with Greta that the pace of change in society is too slow. Barley wrote. “However, in applauding Greta for standing by her principles, we too must stand by ours.”
He added: “The Book Festival exists to give a platform for debate and discussion around key issues affecting humanity today – including the climate emergency…We strongly believe that Baillie Gifford are part of the solution to the climate emergency.”
This is not the first time the investment firm has been criticized for its holdings in the fossil fuel industry. In 2020, The Ferret also published a story highlighting the company’s shares in fossil fuel companies.
The post Greta Thunberg says she will no longer speak at a climate event, accusing a sponsor of greenwashing by investing in companies tied to the fossil fuel industry appeared first on Business Insider.