Greta Thunberg has added her voice to criticism of Roger Federer’s partnership with Credit Suisse.
Federer has been targeted by climate activists in recent times because of his sponsorship arrangement with the Swiss banking giants.
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A dozen Swiss activists appeared in court on Tuesday after refusing to pay a fine for playing tennis inside branches of Credit Suisse last year in a stunt intended to highlight the bank’s fossil fuel investments and “stop people acting like nothing is happening”.
Lawyers for the students who are appealing the fine said they were acting as whistleblowers for the climate emergency.
“It is not enough to just go out on the street or to vote, we must disturb a little bit so people stop acting like nothing is happening,” Paul Castelain, one of the activists, told Reuters outside a courtroom in Renens, a suburb of Lausanne.
Video footage from 2018 shows students dressed in tennis whites playing matches inside Credit Suisse branches in Lausanne and Geneva to underscore Federer’s sponsorship deal with the bank, which they want him to drop.
The hashtag #RogerWakeUpNow began trending on Twitter, while several activists outside the courtroom held banners saying, "Crédit Suisse is destroying the planet. Roger, do you support them?"
Thunberg retweeted a post from 350.org Europe claiming Credit Suisse had given $US57 billion to companies looking for new fossil fuel deposits.
“Roger Federer do you endorse this?” the tweet read.
Since 2016 @CreditSuisse has provided $57 BILLION to companies looking for new fossil fuel deposits - something that is utterly incompatible with #ClimateAction @RogerFederer do you endorse this? #RogerWakeUpNow pic.twitter.com/ED1fIvb4Cr— 350.org Europe (@350Europe) January 8, 2020
Pressure mounting on Federer
Credit Suisse has previously stated its intention to continue working with Federer even after he retires.
“For Credit Suisse, Roger Federer is an ideal international ambassador,” the bank said.
“The values it shares with Credit Suisse, such as the quest for excellence and determination, make it a highly sought-after partner for the long term.
“It is therefore expected that this partnership with Credit Suisse will extend beyond his sports career.”
Pressure is rising on Switzerland’s financial sector to divest from fossil fuels and thousands of students have marched through Swiss cities in recent months demanding action on climate change.
A swing to the left in an October election has boosted their demands.
Credit Suisse in December said it will stop financing the development of new coal-fired power plants, although activists at the court said this was not enough.