What do you think?

Posted by John Sauven — 23 June 2014 at 11:49am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace
Challenging Procter & Gamble's sourcing of palm oil has been one of our recent successes, but there's always room for improvement

Thank you

UPDATE 8pm,Tuesday 24 June

Thank you to everyone who has commented not only below but in the various places where this story has appeared, including the Guardian and Telegraph. As I wrote last night, I’ve heard a lot of anger and upset.

And Greenpeace has acted - Pascal Husting will no longer be flying to Amsterdam and instead will travel by train when the need arises.

To read Pascal’s own apology you can click here: "I ignored the voice of my own conscience".

To read more about the financial issues and how they relate to Greenpeace UK click here: Greenpeace International finance and recent news reports

And if you’d like to speak to someone about the finance issue (or any questions you have about Greenpeace), you can call our supporter services team and speak to Justin on 0800 269 065.

And if you haven’t had the chance to have your say, please leave your thoughts below, for myself and the team to read.

Thanks again,

John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK


UPDATE 8pm Monday 23 June: Thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to leave comments here.

Pascal Husting’s flight from Luxembourg to Amsterdam was an exceptional, temporary arrangement to take into consideration the needs of his young family following his appointment to the role. Greenpeace International has a no-flight policy for short trips, but a conscious exception was made in this case due to childcare circumstances.

Below, I asked the question: “Was it the right decision to allow Pascal to use air travel to try to balance his job with the needs of his family for a while?... What kind of compromises do you make in your efforts to try to make the world a better place?”

From the responses to my question today, it is very clear a lot of Greenpeace supporters feel this was the wrong decision. I have heard a lot of anger and upset expressed.

Greenpeace is absolutely nothing without the people who support our campaigns, sign petitions, and chip in donations to help us keep going.

From today, Pascal will no longer be flying to Amsterdam, and will instead travel by train when the need arises.

Please accept my personal apologies that we allowed this circumstance to arise in the first place.

- John


There's a story on the Guardian website today which talks about how Greenpeace is run as an organisation.

It’s true there have been lots of big changes at Greenpeace International, as Kumi (Greenpeace International’s executive director) and his team try to change the shape of the organisation so our staff and resources are more concentrated in rapidly developing countries like Indonesia, Brazil and China.

That’s a pretty hard thing to do and get perfectly right, especially when people’s jobs are involved. Perhaps there are things that could have been done better or differently to communicate better about the planned change and help it happen more smoothly.

It’s also true that management in the finance unit at Greenpeace International made a serious mistake. It should never have been possible for someone without authorisation to sign the contracts that ended up losing money. There’s now a new head of finance, and we’ve put checks in place so that it can never happen again.

We are so sorry and disappointed that we let this happen, and I can understand if you feel disappointed in us too.

And as for Pascal’s air travel. Well it’s a really tough one. Was it the right decision to allow him to use air travel to try to balance his job with the needs of his family for a while?

For me, it feels like it gets to the heart of a really big question. What kind of compromises do you make in your efforts to try to make the world a better place?

I think there is a line there. Honesty and integrity to the values that are at the heart of the good you’re trying to do in the world cannot be allowed to slip away. For what it’s worth, I don’t think we’ve crossed that line here at Greenpeace.

And the good we’re doing in the world - I’m convinced of that too. In the last few months, we got a big tuna brand, Oriental and Pacific to stop using drag nets that kill turtles, sharks and rays.

We got Jewson to freeze sales of Amazon timber, thanks to people power from Greenpeace supporters and an investigation showing the timber comes from criminal companies.

And after a six-month campaign, companies including industrial giant P&G committed to ending the use of unsustainable palm oil that is destroying rainforest in Indonesia.  

None of these things make it okay that we made mistakes. We have to wrestle every day with the challenges and contradictions of running an organisation across 40 countries that’s big enough to deliver these kind of real changes in the world.

We’re doing that this week, more than ever. It’d be great to hear what you think about some of these big questions, and what you think Greenpeace needs to think about or change into the future?

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