Mike Cannon-Brookes plans to attend the Global Climate Strike and is encouraging Atlassian employees to join him in protesting the 'climate change emergency'

Belinda Pratten/ SuppliedAtlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes.
  • Atlassian is one of a number of Australian businesses joining the ‘Not Business as Usual’ campaign in support of the Global Climate Strikes taking place on 20 and 27 September either side of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.
  • Co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes plans to attend one of the strikes and said Atlassian employees also choosing the take part have the company’s “full support”.
  • Other organisations signed up to the campaign, which is being spearheaded by green super fund Future Super, include KeepCup, Energy Lab, Grok Ventures and Small Giants.

“Don’t @#$% the planet” — that’s the message Aussie unicorn Atlassian wants to send ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.

The software company is the most high-profile signatory to the ‘Not Business as Usual’ alliance being spearheaded by super fund Future Super and its CEO Simon Sheikh.

The climate summit will take place on September 23, with Global Climate Strikes happening around the world on September 20 and again on the September 27. The campaign will involve participating businesses publicly supporting the strikes and allowing employees to take part if they choose to.

As the former leader of influential left-wing group GetUp, Sheikh is no stranger to environmental activism and has recruited a strong celebrity endorsement from the business world in Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Cannon-Brookes issued a media statement paying homage to teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg — who will attend the New York City strike — and pledging support to Future Super’s campaign.

“Humanity faces a climate change emergency — it’s a crisis that demands leadership and action,” he said.

“Tens of thousands of schoolkids joined the cause and turned out in force at a series of school strikes. Now, we want Atlassians to have the opportunity to add their voices, if they choose.”

Cannon-Brookes himself plans to attend one of the strikes depending on his travel schedule, an Atlassian spokesperson told Business Insider Australia.

And with more than 150 events already being planned in locations around the world, it shouldn’t be too difficult for the environmentally-conscious billionaire — or his 3,000 employees across nine offices — to get to one of them.

The spokesperson clarified that Atlassian will not technically be closing down for the day, but instead is offering public and internal support for the event without hurting business.

“We will ensure our people can attend with no impact to our many customers,” Cannon-Brookes said in the statement.

“And those in critical functions will be encouraged to have their say in other ways. The bottom line is this: our staff who attend will have Atlassian’s full support.”

Those Atlassian employees who can’t strike because they are “on shift in any critical capacity” are being encouraged to volunteer for climate-organisations at another time, Atlassian HR executive Jess Hyman is telling employees, Business Insider Australia understands.

All Atlassian employees are entitled to one week’s leave to do volunteer charity work — a work perk that hasn’t stopped the company plummeting on the list of Australia’s 50 Best Places to Work this year.

Future Super is going a step further, officially shutting up shop on 20 September — although admittedly Australia’s self-described “first 100% fossil free super fund” is not a $1 billion revenue organisation just yet.

But even those who can’t go the whole hog can do something, Sheikh said.

“Businesses who support their employees will be sending out a powerful message that this is not business as usual,” he said.

“We need to put boots on the ground and help solve the climate crisis, and by coming together we all have the power to be part of the solution to solve the moral challenge of our generation.”

He’s lucky that at least two of those boots belong to one of Australia’s most high-profile businesspeople.

Here are the 16 organisations signed up the the ‘Not Business as Usual’ campaign

Dumbo Feather
Impact Investment Groups
Small Giants
Energy Lab
Grok Ventures
Brand Crush
Tech Sydney
Motherhood App
Future Super

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