16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg says no company on Earth right now has a climate change strategy that's good enough

greta thunbergGreta Thunberg in Plymouth, England, shortly before sailing to the Americas on August 14, 2019.Alexandra Ma/Business Insider

  • Many major companies around the world have pledged to fight climate change, from banning single-use plastic to donating sales to conservation groups.
  • But Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, thinks none of them are doing a good job right now.
  • She was speaking to journalists moments before her 13-day sailing trip from Plymouth, southwest England, to New York on Thursday.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

PLYMOUTH, England - Many billion-dollar companies in the world have pledged to help mitigate the effects of climate change, from banning plastic packaging to donating a portion of their sales to the Earth's conservation.

But Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, told Business Insider that none of them are doing enough to save the planet.

When Business Insider asked whether she thinks any company on Earth is doing a good enough job to tackle the climate and ecological crisis at a Wednesday press conference, Thunberg said: "We will just simply have to see.

"If they succeed in reducing enough CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions then of course they have succeeded in doing that. And if they won't, then they haven't."

"And as it looks now, it doesn't look very good," she said.

Greta ThunbergClimate change activist Greta Thunberg and skipper Boris Herrmann wave from the Malizia II boat in Plymouth, England, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019.Associated Press

Here's how some major companies are trying to fight climate change:

  • Patagonia has pledged to donate 1% of its sales to helping conserve the planet. Earlier this year it also stopped selling its apparel to companies that don't align with its environmental values, which included multiple large banks and fintech startups.
  • IKEA plans to remove all single-use plastic from its global home furnishing range by next year, and to use only renewable or recycled materials in all is products by 2030. You can see all their goals here.
  • Similarly, Unilever wants to replace all of its plastic packaging with reusable, recyclable, or compostable materials by 2025.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also stressed the importance of speeding up the "advent of cars powered by electricity made from solar power," like those from his company.

Thunberg was speaking to journalists hours before setting off on her 13-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, southwest England, to New York.

She and her crewmates - Thunberg's father Svante, filmmaker Nathan Grossman, and competitive sailors Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi - will sail north toward Greenland and down the coast of eastern Canada and New New England, Business Insider's Aylin Woodward reported.

Read more: Here's what Greta Thunberg's zero-emissions journey will look like

Greta ThunbergClimate change activist Greta Thunberg grimaces as she addresses the media during a press conference in Plymouth, England, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019.AP Images

Thunberg and Herrmann said on Thursday that their aim is not to persuade everyone to sail across the Atlantic, but to encourage people to find alternate forms of transport that don't rely on sources like diesel, kerosene, and heavy oil.

A single round-trip flight between New York and California, for example, generates 20% of the greenhouse gases that a the average car emits in a year. Thunberg refuses to board any airplanes, and typically travels by train while moving around Europe.

"This voyage symbolizes two things: that it's not easy to replace fossil fuels, and that overcoming this challenge can be a great adventure," Herrmann said Thursday.

"It also offers the opportunity to bring us closer to nature, each other and ourselves."

"This 3,500 nautical mile crossing of the North Atlantic will be difficult but I have no doubt that Greta, with her remarkable courage, will embrace this journey," he added.

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