Mission statement

“We defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse, and championing environmentally responsible solutions.”

Size and organisational structure

Greenpeace International, the body that co-ordinates global Greenpeace policy and strategy, is an organisation of about 175 staff who are largely based in Amsterdam.

Its board of directors consists of seven members and its role is to approve the annual budget and audited accounts, and to appoint and supervise the Greenpeace International executive director. It is also responsible for monitoring the operations and activities of the wider organisation, including deciding organisational policy. International board members are elected for a three-year period by representatives from the national/regional offices at the AGM.  

Sources of funding

Greenpeace does not accept money from companies, governments or political parties, instead relying on the voluntary donations of individual supporters, and grant support from foundations. It has 2.9 million supporters worldwide. In 2011 it received €237m in donations. Income in the UK was £10.4m.

Leadership and key personnel

Kumi Naidoo, executive director (Greenpeace International)

Sue Mayer, chair of board (UK)

John Sauven, executive director (UK)

Brief history

In 1971, a small team of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada, in an old fishing boat. Their mission was to “bear witness” to the US’s underground nuclear testing at Amchitka, a tiny island off the west coast of Alaska, which was the last refuge for 3,000 endangered sea otters, and home to bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other wildlife. Even though the team was intercepted on route, the journey sparked a flurry of public interest. Nuclear testing on Amchitka ended the same year, and the island was later declared a bird sanctuary.

Campaign sectors

Stopping climate change;defending oceans; protecting forests; eliminating toxic chemicals from industry; and, eliminating nuclear weapons.

Campaigning highlights

February 2013: Asia Pulp & Paper, the world’s third largest paper and packaging company, agreed to cease deforestation in Indonesia.

December 2012: Brazilian oil giant Petrobras abandoned its plans for deep sea oil drilling off the coast of New Zealand.

November 2012: The world’s largest fashion retailer Zara committed to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire supply chain and products by 2020.

2010: Nestlé agrees to stop purchasing palm-oil from sources that destroy Indonesian rainforests.

2009: Kimberly-Clark commits to new sustainability policy after long-running Kleercut campaign.

2006: McDonald’s agrees to stop selling chicken fed on soya grown in newly deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest.

2004: Esso loses its court case against Greenpeace in France for alleged abuse of its logo in the Stop E$$O campaign

1995:  Shell UK reverses its decision to dump the Brent Spar oil platform in the Atlantic Ocean. 

1982: Whaling moratorium is adopted by the International Whaling Commission.

1975: France ends atmospheric tests in the South Pacific.

This profile is part of Ethical Corporation's special management briefing on activist NGOs

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