The chairman and chief executive of French multinational luxury group company LVMH Bernard Arnault has criticised teenage environmentalist Greta Thunberg, who recently delivered a passionate speech at the United Nations summit in New York for “surrendering to catastrophism” and being “demoralising” to young people, the Bloomberg reported.
Arnault, who is currently the second-richest man in the world and the richest in France, according to a recent Forbes ranking, delivered his remarks during a press conference devoted to LVMH’s effort to reduce its environmental impact.
“She’s a dynamic young girl, but she’s surrendering completely to catastrophism,” Arnault said. “I find that her views are demoralising for young people.”
The comments came following eco-activist Greta Thunberg’s address to UN delegates at the General Assembly meeting in New York this Monday, where the leader of international school strike movement accused the world leaders of “having stolen her dreams and her childhood”.
“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”, Thunberg exclaimed during the summit.
Arnault did not agree with young environmentalist’s alarmism, and argued that the recent decades of economic growth had actually done a lot to lift people out of poverty and improve global health, and insisted that “if we don’t want to go backwards, we still need growth”.
LVMH’s chairman also said that he agreed with actions taken by the latest generation of businessmen and entrepreneurs to address environmental concerns and incorporate sustainability efforts in their business plans, as his luxury goods company was set to reduce carbon emissions in its operations by 25% by 2020 in comparison to 2013.
French President Emmanuel Macron also previously commented on activist’s speech and her submitted complaint to the Committee on the Rights of the Child against five countries, including France, based on the alleged violation of children rights by not doing enough to address the climate crisis, while saying that Greta's actions may not be “the most effective way” of dealing with environmental problems. Macron particularly argued that the mobilisation of youth should instead be directed against those states that actually “try to block” efforts aimed at environmental protection.
“When I see that we are going to shut down all of our coal operations, stop the exploitation of hydrocarbons, that we are moving, I am not sure that this is the most efficient way ", Macron said in an interview to Europe1, arguing that "very radical positions (are) likely to antagonise our societies."
Greta Thunberg caught worldwide attention last summer when launching an international school strike movement aimed at addressing the problem of climate change, the activism that earned her a number of prizes and awards, including a Nobel Prize nomination.