Decision-makers (like politicians or industry leaders) have both the resources and the responsibility to make positive change happen.
In our lobbying work, we target and engage those in positions of power and pressure them to take the bold steps needed to protect the planet. We make sure that our campaign demands are clearly heard by decision-makers, and we ask them to translate these demands into real action that protects the environment.
At Greenpeace our political unit in the UK works with people across the political and policy arena in Westminster and across Britain. We build political support for our campaigns, produce and disseminate reports, organise events for MPs in Westminster and at Party Conferences, make submissions to consultations and take legal action if appropriate – in short, we intervene wherever we think we can best engage people in the process of change. Our lobbying work is helped enormously by our supporters who help us to put pressure on those in positions of power to bring about large-scale change.
Because of the international nature of our campaigns, we also work in Europe alongside our EU office when there is an opportunity to influence or demand specific European legislation in support of our objectives.
And we work globally – we regularly participate in international treaties and conventions on environmental protection at both technical and policy levels. We were working hard behind teh scenes at Kyoto, Copenhagen, the OSPAR Convention, the Barcelona Convention and the Convention of Biological Diversity (CDB), to name just a few.
While this work rarely hits the public eye, it can be enormously influential – especially when it’s combined with Greenpeace’s other strands of work like direct actions or investigations. In the 1980s, for example, the commercial exploitation of Antarctica for oil and minerals seemed all but inevitable. We launched a campaign to make Antarctica a ‘World Park’, setting up a World Park Base on the continent, and lobbying and negotiating with Antarctica Treaty Nations. In 1991, seven years into the campaign, these nations agreed to a 50-year minimum prohibition on all mineral exploitation, and World Park Antarctica was declared.
We also work with businesses, believing that it’s vital to keep open a clear channel of communication between environmentalists and industry. We publish a quarterly business newsletter and work to create a space for open debate and dialogue. Where appropriate, we work with businesses to develop or showcase positive sustainable solutions.
Sometimes, when a business or government is engaged in an environmental crime, we may decide to publicly lay responsibility for that crime directly at their door. ‘Direct communications’ like this include hanging a banner outside the Houses of Parliament, or blocking Downing Street with tonnes of coal.
Throughout all of our lobbying work, locally and internationally, we always adhere to our core value of independence. For this reason, we have no permanent allies or enemies in our work to expose and confront environmental crimes, and we don’t solicit or accept funding from governments, corporations or political parties.