40 Years of Greenpeace Victories
We share these victories with our dedicated supporters around the world.
In 1971, a group of activists set sail to Amchitka Island, Alaska to protest nuclear testing. As Bob Hunter, one of the crew members put it, "Whatever history decides about the big picture, the legacy of the voyage itself is not just a bunch of guys in a fishing boat, but the Greenpeace the entire world has come to love and hate." Since then, with a combination of daring action, solid science, and political pressure, Greenpeace has revealed the threats, confronted the villains and forced the solutions necessary for a green and peaceful world.
We’re 100 percent supporter funded which means our fights are your fights. Our 250,000 members in the United States and 2.8 million members worldwide provide virtually all of our funding through individual contributions. Your support provides the backbone of our organization and is invaluable to our efforts. Thank you for making all this possible.
- Asia Pulp & Paper, the world's third largest paper company, announced a deforestation policy protecting Indonesian rainforests.
- Parent company Yum! Brands announces sustainable packaging policy for its restaurants including KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. This is great news for the Indonesian rainforest and its endangered wildlife including the Sumatran tiger and the orangutan.
- A "Roadless Rule" in the U.S. finally makes it through federal courts protecting 58 million acres of roadless US forests.
Climate & Energy Victories!
- Google pressures Duke Energy, the nation's largest utility company, to offer renewable energy options in North Carolina, home of several data centers including Google's data centers. A week after Google's news, Facebook announces its newest data center will be in Iowa, one of the biggest producers of U.S. wind energy.
- Duke Energy closes two of its oldest and most dangerous coal plants in North Carolina.
- Global IT company SalesForces commits to goal of being fully powered by renewable energy.
- New York bans the trade and sale of shark fins. Every year, 73 million sharks are used to make shark fin soup.
- California Coastal Commission denies Navy permission to conduct dangerous bomb and sonar tests in the Pacific Ocean, protecting countless wildlife including several species of whales and dolphins.
- European Union votes to ban bee-killing pesticides produced by chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta.
- As a result of Greenpeace's global toxics victory, several international fashion brands, including Levi's, Victoria's Secret and G-Star, commit to cleaning up their production process. This commitment means protecting water sources in the world's developing countries, in which these brands' factories are located.
A Look Back at 2012
- (Early 2013) Announced an unprecedented breakthrough for the Indonesian rainforest. After more than a decade of campaigning against Asia Pulp & Paper, one of the largest paper companies in the world announced a forest conservation policy and a commitment to zero deforestation.
- Celebrated great news for the Amazon!The Brazilian pig iron industry, the primary ingredient used in steel,signed an agreement not to source wood charcoal that comes from forest destruction, slave labor or encroaches into indigenous lands.
- Kimberly-Clark, paper supplier behind Kleenex and Scott, announced that 50 percent of its fiber supply will be diverted from natural forests, and instead will rely on alternative fibers like bamboo by the year 2025.
- Kmart and IGA announced it would phase out APP and Paseo for their in store brands.
- Launched the KFC and Yum! campaign with grassroots and online involvement: 70,000 online actions taken, $42,000 raised, 1,000 phone calls to KFC headquarters and 50,000 petitions signed in the US alone. We're calling on Yum! to stop using packaging sourced from Indonesia's rainforests via the supplier Asia Pulp Paper.
- KFC Indonesia announced it was ending its 30 year supplier relationship with APP and would address issues in its supply chain.
- Bowling Green State University agreed to 100% recycled paper as mandatory on campus
- The Forest Service in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest reexamined 200 million board feet of planned logging to assess impacts on wolves and deer after Greenpeace’s successful “Islands Wolf” lawsuit.
- Zero Deforestation Pledge went viral in Brazil, reached over 220,000 signatures.
- Pressured retailers to make the switch to offering sustainable seafood in its stores including grocery giant Safeway, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter. Safeway is now offering FAD-free tuna cheaper than name brands, Whole Foods agreed to stop selling unsustainable seafood and to establish new sustainability standards for its canned tuna and Harris Teeter took the Ross Sea pledge and announced it will sell no more seafood taken from the Ross Sea.
- The Senegal government cancels all fishing permits for foreign “pelagic trawlers,” large fishing vessels that drag nets below the surface of the ocean.
- Western Central Pacific Fishery Management commission met in Guam and banned the practice of setting nets on dolphins and whales.
- Senegal's new president Macky Sall followed Greenpeace's advice, fulfilled his election promises and kicked 29 foreign fish trawlers out of Senegal's waters. As a result, the catches by local fishermen's have been on the increase.
- Conducted a successful follow up outreach and research expedition to the Bering Sea this summer with visits to the Pribilof Islands and 14 new submarine dives into the canyons. This latest science will be included in NOAA's review of the canyons for the North Pacific Fishing Management Council.
- The U.S. District Court ruled in Greenpeace’s favor, upholding NOAA’s decision to protect endangered Steller sea lions by closing large areas around the Aleutian Islands to bottom trawling.
- The U.S. Senate passed the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 that would prohibit the sale of all species of billfish in the vast majority of the U.S.
- The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved an amendment that, starting in 2013, will reduce Atlantic Menhaden total catch by 25% compared to 2011 levels.
- This December South Korea abandons plans for scientific whaling after announcing its plan at the International Whaling Commission meeting in July. Worked with coalition partners in the Herring Alliance to reform industrial fishing off the East Coast, a big win for the critical menhaden species and a healthy Atlantic Ocean.
- Created a movement to save the Arctic! Overall 2.2 million people around the world signed our Arctic petition to ask for the Arctic to become a sanctuary. Shell ceased drilling in Alaska for the year. It's a huge victory for people power.
- Russian oil company Gazprom postponed the start of oil production at Prirazlomnaya field, Russia’s first Arctic offshore oil deposit. Six Greenpeace activists, including one American, boarded the oil giant's platform in the Arctic. It's a huge victory for people power.
- Partnering with the Yes Men and the launch of #ShellFail, a spoof video of activists poses as Shell executives throwing a party to celebrate drilling in the Arctic was viewed by more then 800,000 people within thirty-six hours. More then 100 media stories covered the spoof.
- Protected global waterways by pressuring several of the world's largest fashion retailers including Levis, Nike, H&M and Zara to detox their production process. Levis, Nike, H&M and Zara, commit to detox their production process protecting global waterways.
- Joined representatives from a coalition of more than 100 organizations to deliver 60,833 signatures to the White House calling on President Obama to use his authority to prevent chemical disasters.
- After a series of New York Times editorials echoing Greenpeace's requests for Lisa Jackson and the Environmental Protection Agency to use their authority to protect against chemical security attacks under the Clean Air Act, Jackson agreed to consider solutions to our request with other EPA staff.
Climate & Energy Victories!
- Japan plans to end nuclear by 2030. The Japanese government plans a new ‘energy and environment strategy’ of zero nuclear reactors in the 2030s. The government’s strategy involves a nuclear phase-out nearly two decades later than needed.
- Succeeded in convincing the NRC staff to do the right thing and place radiation filters on all GE nuclear plants like Fukushima.
- Greenpeace helped exposed government lies and cover-ups that could lead to a triple melt down of Duke's Oconee nuclear reactors in South Carolina.
- With the help of coalition partners, the California Coastal Commision ends PG&E nuclear seismic testing and saved the lives of Pacific Ocean whales, sea otters, dolphins and dozen of other marine life.
- Apple claimed to make three of its data centers ‘coal free.’ Apple has made a bold claim to make all three of its data centers “coal free” and has doubled the amount of solar energy powering its data center in North Carolina. Apple needs to show those customers how it will turn that rhetoric into reality, with further action and changes to its plans.
- By late October this year, twenty eight Northwest cities and counties passed resolutions opposing coal exports.
- UNC approved a fee to fund energy efficiency, renewable energy projects and sustainability on campus.
- Duke Energy campaign had a big victory in Cincinnati; citizens voted to dump Duke as their main energy provider.
- After 62 years of being the #1 pollution source for the DC Metro area, GenOn’s coal-fired plant in Alexandria, VA has shut down.
- The Midwest makes considerable progress towards coal free. Generation retires its Fisk and Crawford coal plants. The subsidiary of Edison International announced to retire two of the oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the USA. This agreement marks a historic victory for a decade-long grassroots campaign to protect Chicago residents from the harmful impacts of coal pollution. The two boilers ceased operating in August 2012.
- Duke dropped from the global Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and, as a result of our linking their fuel sourcing to mountaintop removal (MTR) coal, a public statement in their sustainability report about moving away from MTR coal.
- GenOn announced it will shut down seven coal plants in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio by May 2015.
- Provided Hurricane Sandy relief after the devastating storm in the New York and New Jersey region with our solar truck, the Rolling Sunlight. We were able to power a small community store in the Rockaway Beach community.
Research & Corporate Accountability Victories!
- Worked with anti-fracking groups in New York to target Gov. Cuomo's lead fracking regulator.
- Conducted on the ground investigation of the impacts of Hurricane Isaac on the gulf coast. Found significant oiling of beaches and marshes, as well as damage to coal export facilities.
- The Research team exposed Duke’s relationship with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as well as moving Duke Energy along with 38 other companies to leave ALEC including Wal-Mart, General Motors, Best Buy and Amazon.
- Two years after submitting more than 50 FOIA requests about the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster to State and Federal agencies, Greenpeace received more then 20,000 images.
- Campaigned against the corporate funders of the Heartland Institute, a key climate science denial group, eventually stripping away over $1 million in funding.
- The research team compiled a history of coal funded advertising dating back 4 decades. The research proved that the coal industry has been using the same threats and manipulative messaging to delay or stop regulation since the 1970s.
- Costco improves seafood policies in a stunning win for the oceans. Read more
- Sinar Mas palm oil branch Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) unveiled a plan to no longer destroy forests and carbon-rich peatlands. Read more
- We teamed up with Center for Commercial-Free Childhood, Rethinking Schools, and Friends of the Earth in asking Scholastic to reconsider a contract with the American Coal Foundation (ACF). Read more
- Tongass wildlands get big win in court. Read more
- The state senate voted overwhelmingly (26-4) to close Vermont Yankee as scheduled in March 2012. Read more
- Adidas joins Nike and Puma in going toxic-free. This is great news for our environment, our rivers and the millions of people in China and elsewhere who depend on rivers for drinking water and agriculture. Read more
- At the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) meeting they changed their rules of procedure to address the rampant corruption of their process caused by Japan’s vote buying by no longer allowing a country to pay their dues using cash, credit cards or other non transparent means. However the good news for whales didn’t stop there as the US government formally put Iceland on notice that their hunting of endangered Fin whales has to end. Read more
- Lego takes action to tackle deforestation. Read more
- Potomac River Coal Plant is shutting down in 2012. Read more
- Duke announces closure of polluting coal boiler at Miami Fort Station. Read more
- Duke announces 2015 closing of Beckjord coal plant. Read more
- President Obama took a step in the right direction to meet his campaign promise to work to end commercial whaling. Read more
- Mattel and Barbie drop deforestation! Read more
- The new Hasbro policy means it will avoid buying paper for things like toy packaging and board games that comes from endangered forest destruction. That includes notorious forest-destroyer Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). Read more
- ASMFC votes to save menhaden. Read more
- Greener Refirgerants are Finally Legal in the U.S. Read more
- Facebook steps up to become a champion for clean and renewable energy. Read more
A Legacy of Transformational Change
"You're trying to get your children into the 21st century. To hell with the rules". David McTaggart, Founder, Greenpeace International (1932-2001)
For all that Greenpeace has achieved since it's founding in 1971, there remains much work to be done. The challenges – and the consequences of failure – are ever greater, which is why Greenpeace is unafraid to reach beyond what is expected and seeks to accomplish what is most needed.
As we move forward toward these critically needed goals, Greenpeace celebrates the milestones we achieve along the way.
World Park Antarctica Declared
In the early 80's the threat of commercial exploitation of Antarctica loomed large for a number of reasons. Greenpeace believed to protect the pristine wilderness it warranted "World Park" designation. It soon became apparent that the organization would have to set up a permanent base on the ice if it was to have a voice at the Antarctica Treaty table. Greenpeace remained on the ice for a total of five years from 1987 to 1991, at which point the 39 Antarctic Treaty signatories agreed to a 50-year minimum prohibition of all mineral exploitation, in effect preserving the continent for peaceful, scientific purposes.
Kyoto Ratified: Global Warming on Notice
In 2004, more than a decade of lobbying, scientific research, and direct non-violent action by Greenpeace and environmental groups around the world came to fruition as Russia ratified the Kyoto Protocol, bringing to force the world's sole global effort to address the dangers of global warming.
Commercial Whaling, Banned
Our work to save the whales is perhaps the most well-known Greenpeace campaign. Our tradition of physically placing activist bodies between the harpoons and the whales has helped save the lives of whales on site and influenced worldwide laws for their protection. But our work in the water is just a fraction of our efforts to protect these amazing animals and that work continues today - 28 years after a moratorium banned commercial whaling. On June 25th, 2010, thanks to the efforts of Greenpeace, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) rejected a proposal to repeal this ban. The repeal was initially supported by the Obama administration, until they heard from some 1.5 million supporters who wrote letters, signed petitions and participated in “Save the Whales” rallies designed to pressure the president to honor his campaign promise and stand with Greenpeace and the whales. The change in position by the president was instrumental in preventing the ban from being lifted.
Brent Spar Comes Ashore
In 1995, Greenpeace activists occupied the Brent Spar oil storage facility in the North Sea. Shell, the world's then-largest oil company, planned to simply dump the 14,500 ton installation into the ocean. In what is remembered as one of the most significant Greenpeace successes of the 1990s, the company reversed its decision and agreed to dismantle and recycle the Spar on land.
A Worldwide Ban on Large-scale Driftnets on the High Seas
In the 1980's, Greenpeace ran a high-profile campaign to expose the atrocities associated with the use of large-scale driftnets. As a result of these efforts, the United Nations invoked a moratorium on high seas large-scale driftnets in 1989, in response to public outrage at their indiscriminate destruction to sea life. Greenpeace exposed driftnets as "walls of death" due to their ability to entangle and kill most species that swim into them, including dolphins, sharks, seals, squids and many species of birds. In 1992, a worldwide ban was put into force.
A Ban on Dumping Radioactive Waste at Sea
After five years of intensive campaigning by Greenpeace that involved repeated actions combined with aggressive diplomatic efforts, the Parties to the London Dumping Convention invoked a moratorium on radioactive waste dumping at sea in 1983. This officially became the first year since the end of the second world war in which no radioactive wastes were dumped in the ocean. In 1993, the Convention permanently banned the dumping of radioactive and industrial waste at sea world-wide.
Protection for Paradise Forests in Indonesia
In just eight weeks, a global Greenpeace campaign transformed Nestlé from a company driving rainforest destruction, to one pioneering an ambitious new policy to ensure its products have a zero deforestation footprint. Under its new policy, announced in May 2010, Nestlé committed to identify and exclude companies from its supply chain that own or manage "high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation." This exclusion applied to companies such as Sinar Mas, Indonesia's most notorious palm oil and pulp and paper supplier. It also had implications for palm oil traders, such as Cargill. Greenpeace achieved similar victories with Burger King, when the company dropped Sinar Mas from their supply chain as a result of our efforts; and HSBC – the world's largest banking and financial services company – when it dropped Sinar Mas from its investment management funds.
Slaughtering the Amazon No More
Following a Greenpeace report and a targeted campaign against companies such as Nike, Adidas and Timberland who source leather for their shoes from Brazil, four of the biggest players in the global cattle industry joined forces to stop deforestation in the Amazon. The companies agreed to stop purchasing cattle from newly deforested areas after the shoe companies and major beef buyers like McDonald’s threatened to cancel contracts unless their beef and leather products were guaranteed to be free from links to Amazon destruction. The meat companies Marfrig, Bertin, JBS-Friboi and Minerva signed a formal moratorium, which included a pledge for better protection of the rainforest.
Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement
In May 2010, Greenpeace helped bring about passage of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, which brought eight environmental groups and 21 forest companies together to establish protection for 178 million acres of Canadian Boreal Forest. The agreement included a logging moratorium on nearly 71 million acres that covers virtually all of the habitat of the threatened woodland caribou. This significant victory resulted from almost a decade of hard hard-fought campaigning, intense market pressure and peaceful direct action. It paves the way to permanently protect vast areas of wilderness and biodiversity in the Canadian Boreal Forest and secure billions of tons of stored carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change if the forest was logged.
Great Bear Rainforest
After ten years of difficult, dangerous and - at times - heartbreaking work, and thousands of activists from around the world taking action, one of the world's treasures, the Great Bear Rainforest, was saved from destruction in February 2006. The final agreement, announced by the British Columbian Government, provided full protection of one-third of the Great Bear Rainforest from any logging, and ensured that the logging industry implemented a strict ecosystem-based management system in the other two thirds of the forest that is outside strict protection.
Natural Refrigerants are the Coolest
Refrigeration and cooling have an often-overlooked but nonetheless major impact on global warming.
Our first big success on natural refrigerants came in 1992, when Greenpeace developed an alternative refrigerator that did not use the extremely potent greenhouse gases HFCs and HCFCs. Over 400 million refrigerators utilizing this technology have been sold in Europe, Asia, and South America by leading brands including Whirlpool, Bosch, Haier, Panasonic, LG, Miele, Electrolux, and Siemens.
In 2004, Coca-Cola, Unilever and McDonalds, founded Refrigerants Naturally with Greenpeace and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Pepsico joined in 2008.
In 2009, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) was founded. It is a consortium of 400 companies with a total revenue of about $2.8 trillion and represents the world's leading consumer brands and retailers. In November 2010, the Consumer Goods Forum Board passed a resolution to phase out HFCs in new refrigeration units starting in 2015.
The CGF victory caps a 20 year campaign and transforms an entire sector of industry by eliminating HFCs.
An End to Kleercut Logging
When an individual makes an environmentally-conscious choice, it is an important step for conservation. But when a corporation implements an environmentally-conscious policy, that impact is amplified thousands of times over. In a tremendous victory for ancient forests, Kimberly-Clark, the company known for its popular brands like Kleenex, Scott, and Cottonelle, announced a new policy that placed it among the industry leaders in sustainability. The largest global tissue producer had up to that point been primarily using virgin fibers from the Canadian Boreal Forest to produce its products. The announcement brought the five-year Greenpeace "Kleercut" campaign to a successful completion, created a model of sustainability for forest-products companies worldwide, and ensured that K-C will no longer be purchasing pulp from critical Boreal habitat unless strict ecological criteria are met.
Electronics Go Greener
The amount of electronic products discarded globally has skyrocketed recently, with 20-50 million tons generated every year. To encourage electronic companies to reduce "e-waste," we released a "Guide to Greener Electronics." In response, companies like Apple, Phillips and Motorola have changed their ways.
Stockholm Convention Eliminates Dangerous Pollutants
In 2004, the Stockholm Convention came into force following years of lobbying by Greenpeace and other environmental organizations. A key feature of the Convention called for the elimination of all Persistent Organic Pollutants. They include intentionally produced chemicals, such as pesticides and PCBs, as well as byproducts such as cancer-causing dioxins that are released from industries that use chlorine and from waste incinerators.
Precautionary Principle Adopted for GE Food
Genetic engineering enables scientists to create plants, animals and micro-organisms by manipulating genes in a way that does not occur naturally. To protect the environment and human health from the risks of GE food, Greenpeace has campaigned to stop its release into our environment since 1995. We scored a big win in 2000 when the Biosafety Protocol was adopted in Montreal, Canada. This agreement mandates that countries take precautionary measures to prevent GMOs from causing harm to biodiversity and human health.