Tennis star Roger Federer released a statement after teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg criticized his relationship with Credit Suisse, a bank that has close ties to the extraction of fossil fuels.
The hashtag #WakeUpRoger went viral this week following the trial of twelve Swiss activists who staged a demonstration last year by playing tennis in branches of Credit Suisse, highlighting Federer’s links with the company.
The debate was soon stoked on social media, while protesters at the trial carried placards which read, “Credit Suisse is destroying the planet. Roger, do you support them?”, referencing reports which suggest that Credit Suisse has invested large sums of money in the search for new fossil fuel deposits. The message was then retweeted by Thunberg, further amplifying it.
In response to Thunberg and to the growing online discontent with his association with the bank, Federer issued a response in which he says that he fully supports young climate activists like Thunberg in their fight to raise awareness of climate change – but stops short of distancing himself from Credit Suisse.
“I take the impacts and threat of climate change very seriously, particularly as my family and I arrive in Australia amidst devastation from the bush fire,” said Federer, who has arrived in Melbourne in advance of the Australian Open to play a fundraising exhibition tournament to help raise funds to combat the raging fires.
“As the father of four young children and a fervent supporter of universal education, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the youth climate movement, and I am grateful to young climate activists for pushing us all to examine our behaviours and act on innovative solutions.
“We owe it to them and ourselves to listen. I appreciate reminders of responsibility as a private individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur, and I’m committed to using this privileged position to dialogue on important issues with my sponsors.”