Last update: 09/10/2020

We need your leadership in the green transition - open letter to Danish Prime Minister by Merkur Cooperative Bank

Friday, 9 October, 2020

Our member Merkur Cooperative Bank has sent an open letter to the Danish Prime Minister, stressing the need for concrete and immediate actions towards a green transition.

We are glad to share the text here below. The original is available here.
Dear Mette Frederiksen, 
it is again the season for the traditional opening of our Parliament and the subsequent very long opening debate. True to tradition, many words will be said this week, and although much will be as usual, this year is special. Partly, of course, because we are in the midst of a pandemic that does not wait for words and speeches, but is resolved by concrete and resolute action, and thank you for that. But also because we are facing another and much bigger challenge that also requires much more than words and speeches from politicians. It requires great, long-term and visionary initiatives and actions. I'm talking about the climate, of course. The climate is not waiting, just like the corona, for just words and speech, and we therefore need you to act, take the lead and show that you mean it. 
I am in charge of Merkur Cooperative Bank - a bank that works for the green transition. We have been doing this for almost 40 years, working on several levels and domains. In all modesty, through the projects and companies we have financed, we have helped pave the way for organic food, renewable energy, sustainable construction and much more. Over the years, many others have gradually joined us, so we are thousands of companies working for sustainability in the Danish business community. And we are grateful for that. But we can not do it alone from here. We need you if we are to do it seriously, with joint forces, moving development in the right direction. 
Therefore, the joy with us was great - we even cheered in Merkur - when you and a large majority in the Parliament visionarily declared that we must reduce our CO2 footprint by 70% by 2030 - and even better: That Denmark must once again be a green frontrunner country. 
Yes, thank you, we want to be that, and we can. Here in Denmark, we can even become stronger from it. Both because it gives energy and strength to lead, but also because we can create growth and a healthy economy with the right green investments. We have numerous examples of this in Merkur. 
Sustainability and green transition can and should therefore be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to talk about Denmark. The international community will look at our solutions and buy them from us. What’s not to like? 
But it requires major changes. As a manager, I know that if I have to involve my employees in a major change process, I have to explain why change is a good idea, otherwise they are not involved. And I must show that I seriously believe in it myself. 
Here is what we as citizens and companies in Denmark really need from you, our Prime Minister. You need to talk about the green transition, explain why it is both necessary and at the same time a good idea. Why we get a better future with cleaner air, more biodiversity and even more green industries and thus more future-proof jobs. As citizens, we must embrace the green transition with enthusiasm, not with concern. You must show us this through your words and your actions. 
I know that you emphasize that the green transition should be carried out in a socially just way. I completely agree that is important, but fortunately it is not difficult either. There are already well-proven tools that can be used to direct part of the proceeds of the necessary taxes back to those who have the least. 
Of course, the transition is going to hurt a little and challenge our habits. We therefore need a push from you politicians, to adapt to more sustainable habits. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that what we need less of - e.g. fossil energy and fossil cars - is becoming more expensive, and what we need more of must be cheaper and more attractive. Research as well as experience tell us that. 
I know that you put emphasis on technological development, and it must clearly help us with the transition. But technological development is promoted by clear political and economic signals. 
We will have plenty to do in all the years leading up to 2030, and 10 years is a short time. So, we're in a hurry - ideally, we should have taken action a long time ago. Therefore, we must now take up the technology and the instruments we already have and add new ones along the way. 
Charlotte Skovgaard 
Merkur Cooperative Bank