Opinion: Greenpeace – Too Big, Too Successful, Too Corporate?



When you look at a corporation, just like when you look at a slave owner, you want to distinguish between the institution and the individual. So slavery, for example, or other forms of tyranny, are inherently monstrous. The individuals participating in them may be the nicest guys you can imagine.

Noam Chomsky

Greenpeace has had a tough few weeks, that’s for sure. For starters the environmental group confessed that one of its employees had unfortunatelylost £3m of member donations as a result of rogue currency trading. Then, Pascal Husting, the director of Greenpeace International‘s “international programme” was found to be commuting 250 miles via plane, despite Greenpeace’s activism to reduce air travel due to the carbon footprint and their suggestion that:

the growth in aviation is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change.


One Greenpeace volunteer on Monday described Mr Husting’s travel arrangements as “almost unbelievable”.

I believe these PR disasters will only increase the growing perception that environmental groups such as Greenpeace are simply becoming far too corporate. While Greenpeace was once tiny it now has a staff of 2,400 [pdf] and 15,000 volunteers globally; so its clearly now a multinational concern. It brings in over 200 million Euros a year, have investment portfolios and it could be argued:

are focusing more effort on raising funds than doing campaigns.

Believe it or not, it has:

a bigger navy than three-quarters of the worlds governments.

However, saying all of this its encouraging that it still does not accept money from governments, intergovernmental organizations, political parties or corporations to avoid their influence plus it is attempting to decentralise. But the bottom line is that like so many other campaign groups, Greenpeace has simply become a victim of its own success.


Photo credit: Foter / Public domain

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