Greenpeace International statement on foreign currency exchange losses

Feature story - 16 June, 2014
Greenpeace International understands that supporters and donors will rightly be surprised and disappointed by the loss of 3.8 million euros as a consequence of foreign currency exchange management contracts currently being reported by the media.

We offer a full apology to our supporters for the series of errors that led to the loss.

We further wish to reassure people that every possible action is being taken to avoid the possibility of such a loss ever occurring again in future.

As a global organisation active in more than 55 countries, Greenpeace International is funded with many different currencies, valuations of which can change rapidly.

The losses are a result of a serious error of judgment by an employee in our International Finance Unit acting beyond the limits of their authority and without following proper procedures. Greenpeace International entered into contracts to buy foreign currency at a fixed exchange rate while the euro was gaining in strength. This resulted in a loss of 3.8 million euros against a range of other currencies.

While the staff member thought he was acting in the best interest of the organisation and there is no evidence of personal gain he has since been relieved of his position.

We are continuing to explore all options in relation to the error and process failures. We are confident that steps already taken to improve financial controls mean this could not happen again.

The Greenpeace International Board has ordered a complete independent audit to determine how the incident took place and to improve internal procedures.

Greenpeace International’s 2013 Annual Report, to be published soon, will show a budget deficit of 6.8 million euros for the year. This deficit includes the loss of 3.8 million euros from an ill judged contract aimed at managing foreign currency exchange costs.

Greenpeace International had income of 72.9 million euros in 2013 out of a global budget of around 300 million euros.

Greenpeace can only exist thanks to the trust supporters place in us. To maintain our independence, we do not accept donations from governments or corporations and rely instead on millions of individual supporters around the world. We are extremely grateful for their contributions and are determined to ensure their trust is not misplaced.

We will make adjustments for these losses in the coming two or three years by amending planned infrastructure investments. No money will be taken from our frontline campaigning to protect the climate, our oceans, rainforests and precious natural environment.

For further information please contact:
Greenpeace International press desk (media only please)  +31 (0) 20 718 24 70

Supporters may best reach us via , and we welcome your comments or questions.