By Rhiannon Hardwick
350 Australia’s national week of action kicked off on Monday the 10th of August, with human billboards outside PwC’s head office in Brisbane asking the company to wash its hands of the coal lobby.
After weeks of campaigning online, contacting staff on LinkedIn and social media, flooding PwC with written letters and attempting to book meetings with zero response from the company’s leadership, it was time to ramp things up a notch!
Volunteers took the #CutAllTies campaign to PwC offices across the country, where they engaged in socially distanced conversations with staff about PwC’s membership of the Minerals Council of Australia.
350 Australia campaigners outside Brisbane and Sydney PwC offices
In Perth, two of our volunteers were met with a surprisingly strong reaction from Mr. Ian Campbell, a former federal minister under the Howard Government.
According to 350 volunteer Cyril Toman, during the ten-minute rant Mr. Campbell
‘…vehemently supported the Minerals Council of Australia and its ongoing “moderate” support for coal mining. … Mr. Campbell declared that the building – owned by Brookfield Properties, of which he is a director – was built on the profits of coal mining and accused the activists of wanting to destroy most of central Perth. Such was the former Minister’s vehemence that a member of the public, concerned by Campbell’s belligerence towards one young female, felt the need to intervene telling Mr. Campbell that he should stop shouting, keep his social distance, and that the activists had every right to speak to people on the public footpath.’
As Minister for the Environment, Mr. Ian Campbell represented Australia at all global climate change negotiations from 2004 to 2007. During this period, Mr. Campbell was quoted as saying ‘coal and fossil fuels will still be a part of the future needs of the world in 80 years’ time.’ According to The Age (2005), he also said that ‘there was no real upside into pumping more money into old technologies such as wind turbines.
This was our Minister for the Environment speaking.
Mr. Campbell’s hostile attitude to climate action, as well as his questionable move from politics into a private company position related to his former portfolio, demonstrates why we need to challenge the revolving door between politics and the private sector, and why we must scrutinise the ties corporations have to powerful lobby groups.
Why is 350 targeting PwC?
PwC, formerly known as Pricewaterhouse Coopers, has a strong reputation as being Australia’s number one professional services firm to work for and claims to be a leader in sustainability.
As stated on their website, ‘in 2008, PwC Australia was the first Australian professional services firm to become carbon neutral and we are proud to continue this commitment.’
Yet in spite of their publicly stated commitment to the climate, PwC is currently a member of the Minerals Council of Australia – a powerful lobby group who has pushed a pro-coal agenda through heavy advertising campaigns and propping open the revolving door between parliament and the mining industry.
Essentially, PwC is giving money and social license to the world’s 8th worst opponent to climate action. For a self-proclaimed leader in sustainability this isn’t good enough, which is why 350 is calling on PwC to #CutAllTies.
For more information, check out 350 Australia’s Dirt File, which uncovers the Mineral Council’s dirty tactics.
How can I help?
The first and easiest step is to sign this petition!
You can leave a 1-star review on PwC’s Facebook page and their offices on Google.
If you have some time on your hands and are comfortable with using your LinkedIn account (or you’re happy to make one), you can join our LinkedIn team and contact PwC employees directly. Check out this LinkedIn Action Guide and join the Slack channel to be connected with the team!