Roger Federer responds as Greta Thunberg joins mounting criticism of relationship with Credit Suisse

Lawrence Ostlere
Roger Federer is under pressure from campaigners including Greta Thunberg: Getty

Roger Federer has responded to criticism of his relationship with the bank Credit Suisse levelled at him by environmentalists and climate activists including Greta Thunberg.

Twelve protesters faced court in Switzerland this week after refusing to pay their fine for playing tennis in a branch of Credit Suisse in 2018, in a stunt which sought to draw attention to Federer’s sponsorship by a bank which has close ties to the fossil fuels industry.

The Swedish teenager Thunberg retweeted 350.org Europe, who wrote: “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.”

Federer, who is taking part in a fundraising event in Melbourne this weekend in aid of Australia’s bushfire crisis, released a carefully worded statement which did not address Credit Suisse directly. “I take the impacts and threat of climate change very seriously, particularly as my family and I arrive in Australia amidst devastation from the bushfires,” Federer said.

“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 my 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.”

Credit Suisse has come under significant pressure itself over its support for the industry. The bank recently claimed to be aligning itself with the terms of the Paris Agreement, and has pulled out of investment in coal energy plants.