Greenpeace is a well-known environmental organization that engages in all kinds of issues related to the environment. It has its roots in the environmental movement of the 1970s, wherein people all over the world fought for more protection of our environment as well as better living conditions. Now it has grown into a global organization with 26 national/regional offices. Rex Wyler, a co-founder of Greenpeace International, writes that his colleagues started Greenpeace wanting to start a global ecology movement rather than a global organization. As cliché as it sounds, the founders knew that ideas never die, while organizations do. Looking at it from this perspective, Greenpeace can be seen to have a much larger influence than a stand-alone organization would, because it represents more than just itself. This coupled with Greenpeace’s efforts to reconcile its actions with other movements such as the peace movement make it an organization that represents and practices sustainability in all areas. I highly recommend anyone looking for an organization to donate to to donate to Greenpeace, or even better, to participate in their events.
While the use of Greenpeace’s label by organizations around the world makes Greenpeace seem like a very centralized organization, it is actually a loose network of independent national and regional organizations (NROs). The NROs are free to pursue their individual campaigns as long as they comply with Greenpeace’s overall mission. This makes it easier for individual NROs to tackle issues that are most prominent in their respective regions, while still contributing to Greenpeace’s main goal. Greenpeace does have a coordinating body called Greenpeace International, which is in charge of setting long-term goals for Greenpeace, operating the Greenpeace fleet, expanding Greenpeace to newer regions, among other things. But, by having a bottom up structure where NROs can determine for themselves how to best improve their region, Greenpeace retains a very flexible structure. This structure makes Greenpeace very sustainable in my opinion, because it ensures that the interests of the few are not prioritized over the interests of the many, which often happens in a corporate setting where shareholder’s profits are valued over the health or safety of communities. Contrary to this, Greenpeace allows the individuals in the NRO to take free rein over their projects, showing that it considers the interests of various stakeholders, helping to make Greenpeace’s actions more sustainable.
Greenpeace’s values encompass everything from equity, diversity, and inclusion to promoting peace, global disarmament, and non-violence. While organizations of various kinds may say they stand for these values, Greenpeace stands out in that the reason for its existence is for the promotion of these values, and nothing else. This lends credibility to the fact that Greenpeace is actually trying to carry through on its values. If Greenpeace was a company or had been established to fulfill another purpose, one could doubt whether it is actually trying to stick to its values. However, since the organization was created to promote the values that it stands for, there is less doubt that its values are genuine.
Greenpeace’s various campaigns include stopping plastic pollution, making more green areas in cities, and protecting biodiversity in oceans. These campaigns are deliberated on by Greenpeace International, who decides which campaigns Greenpeace should pursue, and then allows NROs to decide how best to actuate these campaigns.
Greenpeace’s fundraising principles, which details that it does not accept money from governments, corporations, or political parties, also increases the organization’s credibility. By refusing to accept money from these entities, Greenpeace protects itself from potential conflicts of interest and the influence of those whose values are not aligned with that of Greenpeace’s.
Greenpeace’s actions as well as its values show that the organization is trying to represent the voices of the people rather than those of a specific few. This can be inferred from its campaign activities, which include getting people to sign petitions and using these petitions to demand change from corporations or governments.
In harmony with its name, Greenpeace also identifies strongly with the peace movement, which coincidentally means that in all its events, it does not commit acts of violence. Although the peace movement has its roots in opposition to war, its ideas can be extrapolated to various other aspects, such as gender and racial equality. Therefore, not only does Greenpeace stand for equity, diversity, and inclusion within the organization, it also opposes racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
Greenpeace, as stated above, is made up of a network of NROs. This decentralized structure means that the people who work for Greenpeace function mostly autonomously, with limited oversight from Greenpeace International. Therefore, it is hard to judge how sustainable the people that make up Greenpeace are. But, considering Greenpeace’s solid stance on its values and its bottom up structure, it can be assumed that the people who work for Greenpeace have a shared understanding regarding the importance of protecting the environment and disadvantaged people’s rights.
According to Greenpeace’s website, employees at Greenpeace are offered a competitive salary and benefits package, which are sourced from the individual donations that Greenpeace receives. Greenpeace also works with volunteers, who can contribute by doing anything from retweeting content to joining demonstrations.