Greta Thunberg Disrupts Airline's Shareholders Meeting

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.19 - 2024 12:44 PM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Greta Thunberg and four other climate activists from the Fridays for Future movement made headlines when they disrupted Scandinavian Airlines' (SAS) shareholder meeting in Sweden.

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They were allowed to attend the meeting at the company's headquarters in Frösundavik near Stockholm because Fridays for Future holds shares in the airline.

They came prepared, brandishing banners and ready to confront SAS executives about the airline's environmental policies.

Direct Challenge to Corporate Narratives

The meeting took a turn as Thunberg and her fellow activists called out the airline for its environmental claims.

"Stop lying," read one of the activists' banners.

Thunberg didn't hold back at the meeting, directly questioning SAS CEO Anko van der Werff about the airline's plan to cut flights and address its carbon footprint.

"SAS has done a lot to comply with the Paris Agreement, and we have acted in such a way as to be in line with the guidelines set out in the agreement. Flying is important. It is important to bring the world together,” said van der Werff.

However, Thunberg retorted with a poignant question about how the executives could remain complacent while people, according to her, are already dying from the climate crisis.

Demands for Real Change

"Why don't you respect our future? Why do you only rely on clichés? You don't listen to us or to the research," she said.

The activists argue that airlines, including SAS, must undertake more substantial measures to reduce their emissions.

Kevin Anderson, a professor at the University of Manchester, stated in a joint press release with the movement that a reduction in flying is necessary.

"Aviation is the only sector where there are no technical possibilities to reduce total emissions on the timeline of the scientific emission budgets associated with the Paris Agreement. The only realistic option for the sector to do its fair share in keeping the temperature rise below 1.5 to 2C is to drastically reduce demand; anything less than this is just another scam," Anderson said.

The Paris Agreement is an international climate agreement that was concluded in 2015 during the UN Climate Conference. It states that the global temperature increase must be kept below 2C and that efforts must be made to limit it to 1.5C (2.7F).

Fridays for Future

Fridays for Future, a movement spearheaded by the youth, emerged in 2018 when Greta Thunberg, then 15, alongside fellow activists, protested outside the Swedish parliament (Riksdag) in Stockholm, demanding more robust action against the climate crisis. They did this every school day for three weeks.

In a recent demonstration by Fridays for Future outside the Riksdag, Thunberg was detained by the police.

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