Dame Vivienne Westwood has never been one to shy away from a sound byte, but the doyenne of British fashion is finally putting her money where her mouth is. After voicing frustration over the World Bank’s failure to distribute funds earmarked for climate change, Westwood announced she was giving £1 million ($1.55 million) of her own cash to prevent logging in the rainforests of Borneo, the Congo Basin, and Peru. Speaking on the eve of United Nations climate talks in South Africa on Monday, the designer criticized World Bank officials for sitting on the £4.2 billion ($6.5 billion) Climate Investment Funds, which was established in 2008 to help developing countries confront the effects of global warming by 2012.
LESS TALK, MORE ACTION
Westwood asked the public to “donate a fiver” to charities such as Cool Earth, which she’s partnered with, rather than wait for our governments to reach an accord. “Governments…are so slow that we can’t wait for them any more,” Westwood tells The Times. “We have to get this thing moving and hope that they’ll join in.”
Westwood asked the public to “donate a fiver” to charities such as Cool Earth rather than wait for our governments to reach an accord.
As the spending deadline approaches, the world’s richest countries have only deposited a quarter of the fund’s tally, according to Westwood. Of that, the World Bank has dispensed a paltry 5 percent. But time is not a luxury the planet has. “I’m just a very practical person,” she says. “So I took as much as I could afford from my company. I’d never done it before because I own my own company and we’ve always been putting money back into it all the time, so I just stopped and took some money out.”