Greenpeace in the 1990s

Winning a permanent, world-wide ban on dumping radioactive and industrial wastes at sea; the protection of Antarctica World Park for 50 years; more victories on CFCs and toxics; the start of our climate change campaigns; the launches of Greenfreeze fridges and fuel-efficient Renault Twingos; the establishment of an Antarctic whale sanctuary; the adoption of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and the adoption of the Kyoto protocol.


Police remove an activist from a railway blockade, in which Greenpeace successfully stopped a trainload of chemicals as part of a campaign against CFC’s. 1992. © Greenpeace / Jaap Rumping.

1990: The London Dumping Convention agreed to a ban on the sub-seabed disposal of radioactive waste from ships and on industrial waste dumping.

1990: Increasing concern over global warming provided Greenpeace with a powerful new focus for its activities. In the UK, a major campaign was launched against ICI, the country’s biggest producer of CFCs.

1990: Greenpeace established a presence throughout Latin America.

1990: The transport of spent nuclear fuel to Sellafield in the UK and Cap de la Hague in France for reprocessing became an important focus for Greenpeace actions.

1990: The Moscow City Council recognised Greenpeace as a legal entity within the USSR. And Greenpeace Children of Chernobyl was set up in the Ukraine, to document radiation and toxic contamination in the area.

1990: Four volunteers delayed a British underground nuclear test in the Nevada desert. Video cameras revealed their presence only minutes before a nuclear device, 12 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb, was detonated.

1991: A 50-year ban on minerals exploitation in the Antarctica World Park was agreed – to preserve one of the earth’s last, near-pristine wildernesses.

1991: The German chemical company Hoechst announced the end of ozone-destroying CFC production.

1991: Greenpeace published a chlorine-free paper spoof edition of Der Spiegel, as part of a campaign against chlorine bleaching, causing German publishers to follow suit.

1992: A ban on ozone-destroying CFCs was agreed at the Montreal Protocol.

1992: The NE Atlantic states agreed to ban radioactive waste dumping at sea and to eliminate discharges of toxic chemicals.

1992: Greenpeace commissioned the first Greenfreeze domestic fridge, free of ozone depleting and significant global warming chemicals.

1992: France cancelled nuclear tests for the year and vowed to halt altogether if other countries also stopped, as a result of Greenpeace actions.

1993: The London Dumping Convention implemented a permanent world-wide ban on dumping radioactive and industrial wastes and on incineration at sea, also dropping ‘dumping’ from its name.

1993: The production of ozone-friendly Greenfreeze fridges began.

1993: In Europe, action and legal work focused on preventing the expansion of Sellafield’s nuclear waste production.

1994: Toxic waste trade from OECD countries was banned globally.

1994: The International Whaling Commission approved the establishment of an Antarctic whale sanctuary, following years of Greenpeace actions against whaling.

1994: UK volunteers created a unique protest bus with a sliding roof and extension ladder, disguised it as a London Transport double-decker and used it to hang red letters across the face of Big Ben, declaring “Time To Stop Nuclear Testing”.

1995: Shell UK was forced to abandon plans to dump the Brent Spar (a disused oil installation) in the Atlantic Ocean, following its occupation by Greenpeace.

1995: The NE Atlantic states banned the dumping of oil installations.

1995: The North Sea states agreed to end toxic waste discharges within 25 years.

1995: High profile actions led to changes in destructive logging practices in British Columbia.

1995: UNESCO agreed with a Greenpeace submission to protect the Russian Komi forest and designated it a World Heritage Site.

1995: 150 nations agreed upon legally binding targets for reducing climate change gas emissions.

1995: The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was agreed by France, UK, Russia, US and China, following actions against French nuclear testing.

1996: China at last began to produce Greenfreeze fridges – marking our first real success in the country.

1996: China endorsed the permanent Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty adopted at the United Nations, following a Greenpeace mission to China.

1996: Greenpeace developed a fuel-efficient modified Renault Twingo that reduces climate gas pollution by 50%.

1997: The PVC roof of the UK’s Millennium Dome was scrapped, as a result of actions against toxic pollution from PVC manufacture and disposal.

1997: Greenpeace launched a biodegradable PVC-free credit card.

1997: Greenpeace won the UNEP Ozone Award, for the development o fGreenfreeze – a domestic refrigerator, free of ozone depleting and significant global warming chemicals.

1997: Industrial nations agreed to adopt the Kyoto protocol and to set legally binding reduction targets on greenhouse gases, following ten years of Greenpeace campaigning.

1997: Plans for a UK nuclear waste dump were shelved, after Greenpeace gave expert evidence at public inquiry.

1998: Shell UK finally agreed to recycle the Brent Spar and the NE Atlantic states confirmed a historic ban on dumping decommissioned offshore oil installations in the Atlantic.

1998: Iceland Supermarkets (UK) banned genetically engineered food from their own brand products and also launched the ‘Kyoto’ brand of climate-friendly fridges.

1998: Logging giant MacMillan Bloedel agreed to end clearcut logging activities in British Columbia, Canada.

1998: The Oslo Paris (OSPAR) conference agreed to phase out radioactive and toxic discharges, as proposed by Greenpeace.

1998: The EU banned the use of driftnets by European fishing fleets.

1999: Nine countries banned the use of harmful phthalates in soft PVC toys for children under the age of three. The EU introduced an emergency ban on soft PVC teething toys. And the global medical supplier, Baxter International, also announced plans to replace PVC in its products.

1999: IKEA announced that it would stop using wood from ancient forests, unless it was certified as sustainably managed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

1999: The Environmental Crimes Law began to be applied, following lobbying by Greenpeace. Fines against companies using illegal timber from the Amazon increased dramatically as a result.

Greenpeace in the 2000s »