“Our vision is of a peaceful and sustainable world based on societies living in harmony with nature.”
Size and organisational structure
Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with 74 national member groups, some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent and over two million members and supporters.
FoEI is a federation of autonomous member groups with a democratic and participatory structure. The ultimate decision-making body is the biennial general meeting (BGM) where all member groups have an equal say.
The BGM elects an executive committee, which meets several times per year. It is made up of a chairperson and a balanced representation from all regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe/North America and Latin America. The executive committee employs and oversees the work of a small international secretariat in Amsterdam.
Sources of funding
FoEI is funded through grants from governments and foundations as well as contributions from its member groups.
Leadership and key personnel
Jagoda Munić (Friends of the Earth Croatia), current chair
Dave Hirsch, international coordinator
Brief history of the organisation
FoEI was founded in 1971 by a small group of environmental activists from France, Sweden, the UK and the US who came together to share strategies for tackling environmental problems. FoEI now has regional co-ordinating bodies across the world and is firmly dedicated to supporting the struggles of communities adversely affected by unsustainable exploitation of human and natural resources.
Campaign priorities for 2013 include transforming societies away from fossil fuels and toward decentralised, community-owned and controlled sustainable energy; and exposing and stopping landgrabs, which occur when land used by local communities is leased or sold to foreign investors, including corporations and governments.
Social and environmental justice, climate justice and energy, forests and biodiversity, economic justice, food sovereignty, and human rights.
January 2013: A Dutch court ruled that Shell Nigeria is responsible for polluting farmlands in a landmark case brought by four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands and supported by Friends of the Earth Nigeria.
2012: FoEI succeeded in securing essential human rights wording in the guidelines text of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation committee on world food security.
By 2011: More than 200 regions and 4,500 local authorities in Europe had declared their territories free of genetically modified organisms.
2010: A new law in Argentina banned mining near glaciers.
2010: An unprecedented country-wide ban on metal mining was introduced in Costa Rica following 18 years of intense campaigning.
2009: A court case was won in Bangladesh, forcing the government to ensure that all ship-breaking yards operate with environmental clearance.
2009: Illegal logging was exposed in Cameroon, leading to the cessation of purchasing of illegal timber by European companies.
2008: The UK parliament passed a climate change bill into law, a world first. The world-beating legislation was passed after a three-and-a-half-year campaign.
This profile is part of Ethical Corporation's special management briefing on activist NGOsEC Newsdesk Friends of the Earth International ngo news NGO Profile