‘Green capitalism’ movements are “using Greta Thunberg” to advance their economic interests. Greta has been a youth advisor to the start-up We Don’t Have Time, which is co-funded by Ingmar Rentzhog; a fellow Swede who has supported Greta from the earliest times in her career, and the Persson family. Interestingly, in May 2018, Mr. Rentzhog became the chairman of a (supposedly) non-political think tank called Global Change that has sustainable development as its goal. Less than a year later, on January 16th, 2019, Global Change announced a partnership with the World Economic Forum-creating a network called Global Shapers. Global Shapers is “a community of young leaders aged between 20 and 30,” demographically Greta’s core follower-base, “equipped with strong potential to play a role in the future of society and who work to improve the situation of populations around them.” Their goal is to fight climate change while continuing to push globalization and economic growth. Greta has been, personally and as an advisor, affiliated with these networks.
Against Green Capitalism
Despite what has been mentioned, Greta is officially against ‘green capitalism.’ Whenever she speaks out against global leaders and their lack of effort, commitment and measures in the environmental fight, she mentions both political and business leaders. An example of a speech where she clearly expresses her views in this regard is the following:
“Business leaders, elected officials all across the political spectrum spending their time making up and telling bedtime stories that soothe us, that make us go back to sleep…But you have to understand. This is not primarily an opportunity to create new green jobs, new businesses or green economic growth. This is above all an emergency, and not just any emergency. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced.”
In this regard, Greta has demanded extreme economic actions and policies under the premise of reducing CO2 emissions and meeting the targets set by the Paris Agreement. For example, in Davos she requested an immediate halt on all fossil fuel investments. Greta asked this from “from all the companies, banks, institutions, and governments.”
The Greta Effect 2.0
To draw a comparison with the politics section, Greta’s activism has also influenced some leaders’ economic proposals with regards to climate change. During her appearance in Davos, Greta met with Prince Charles. Upon his return to the UK, Prince Charles actively spoke a message of reshaping the economy to fight the climate crisis, similarly adopting some of the language that is characteristic of Greta: “[Prince Charles] met the climate activist Greta Thunberg at the summit, urged the private sector to use its ingenuity and practical skills to help lead the world out of a climate calamity. “The only limit is our willingness to act and the time to act is now.” Additionally, what has been deemed as the ‘Greta Effect’ is “boosting demand for climate careers,” according to the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).