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7 Greenpeace victories you made possible in 2014

by Guest Blogger

December 10, 2014

The new Dutch office is formally opened. Speeches by Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director and Greenpeace Netherlands director Sylvia Borren. The children who are attending, unfurl a banner with the text "welkom bij Greenpeace" which means "welcome at Greenpeace". The guests are guided through the building by volunteers and there are several activities arranged for the children. Vandaag wordt het nieuwe Nederlandse Greenpeace kantoor in Amsterdam formeel Noord geopend. Er zijn toespraken van internationaal directeur Kumi Naidoo en de Nederlandse directeur Sylvia Borren. De aanwezige kinderen rollen een spandoek uit met de tekst: "welkom bij Greenpeace". De genodigden krijgen een rondleiding door het gebouw en er zijn diverse activiteiten voor kinderen.

© Greenpeace / Cris Toala Olivares

2014 has seen a lot of victories for Greenpeace campaigns. Getting toxic chemicals out of our clothes. Putting sustainable seafood in our grocery stores. Giant internet companies breaking away from climate-denyinglobbyists. We could go on (and we will). Heres just a small sample of the victories you helped make happen this year.

Detoxing our clothing

In June, Adidas laid out its plans to be toxic-free by 2020. The company agreed to phase out 99% of all polyflourinated chemicals (PFCs) from its clothing by the end of 2017, building up to a 100% phaseout by 2020. In November, Puma announced its commitment to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its products and supply chain. Puma will ensure 100% of all its products are PFC-free by no later than the end of 2017. The commitments came after international actions at stores, letters to the CEO and Greenpeace investigative reporting.

PFCs are used in the manufacturing of clothing and shoes to keep them dirt- and water-resistant. However, these chemicals are known to accumulate in the environment and impact human health. Some of them damage the immune and reproductive systems, and are linked to thyroid disease.

Saving our seas

Four retailers (Whole Foods, Safeway, Wegmans, and Trader Joes) scored green and another 18 major supermarkets received passing grades in Greenpeaces 8th edition of the Carting Away the Oceans report this year. The report evaluates the sustainable seafood policies and practices of 26 major U.S. retailers.

This work sends a strong message to consumers, supermarkets, and the fishing industry that we must protect our oceans, says Senior Oceans Campaigner David Pinsky. I cannot thank Greenpeace supporters and volunteers enough for joining us over the years as we take a stand for our oceans. Without you, this wouldn’t be possible.

Philippine Purse Seine Fishing Operation

Internet companies dump ALEC

In August and September, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Yelp announced they were ending their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALECprovides state legislators with model bills to repealrenewable energylaws, attackEPA standardsfor carbon pollution, andmandateclimate denialinstructionsin schools, among other initiatives. Greenpeace and other organizations have been working to expose ALEC‘s hypocritical dealings.

ALEC-coal-members-620x465

Saving the Paradise Forest

All 8 US companies included on Greenpeaces 2014 Tiger Challenge made No Deforestation Palm Oil commitments, promising to move their palm oil supplies away from supply chains that result in cutting down tiger habitats. The 8 companies include Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Kelloggs, Mars, Mondelez (maker of Oreo cookies), PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble (P&G), the largest single corporate user of palm kernel oil in the world. Of all 8 company commitments, Pepsis still needs a stronger policy behind it.

P&Gs announcement came a few weeks after nearly 400,000 supporters emailed the company, and Greenpeace staged protests around the world and at the P&Gs headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Following P&Gs announcement, Cargill–one of the largest importers of palm oil into the US–also announced a no deforestation policy. Clearing forests for palm oil plantations is the leading cause of deforestation in Indonesias Paradise Forest, a critical hotspot for endangered animals like the orangutan and Sumatran tiger.

Lesser bird of paradise. Irian Jaya. Indonesia

LEGO dumps Shell

LEGO building toys announced in October that it would not renew its partnership with Shell. The announcement came after Greenpeace supporters sent over a million petition signatures to LEGO–93,000 from U.S. supporters–calling on LEGO to remove Shells logo from its toys and end its half century old partnership with the oil giant. Once again, everything is awesome in the LEGO world.

“The work we all did to pull Lego out of its partnership with Shell was a testament to what we can accomplish together, says Arctic Campaigner John Deans. That millions of people worldwide are standing side by side demanding that the Arctic be off limits to oil drilling.”

Block Shell Protest at LEGO Store in New York

Oregon denies coal export terminal

In August the Oregon Department of State Lands denied a key permit for Ambre Energys proposed Morrow Pacific coal export terminal. The decision was the result of years of grassroots organizing from a range of organizations, including, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Columbia Riverkeeper, Climate Solutions, and many more.

The permit rejection poses an existential threat for the financially troubled Ambre Energy, and a major defeat for the coal industry at large. The coal industry is desperate to export coal as coal usage declines in the US. The decision leaves only three export terminal proposals left in Washington state and Canada. The other four proposals have seemingly been defeated.

Coal Train in Powder River Basin in USA

Coal trains three and at times four wide wind their way through Campbell County, Wyoming, in the Powder River Basin.

Saving the Alaska Tongass and Island Wolf

In March the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed with Greenpeace that Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection may be warranted for Alaskas endemic Alexander Archipelago wolf. Its an important milestone for the wolf following years of action by Greenpeace and allied organizations, including our ESA petition filed in 2011 and legal actions against U.S. Forest Service logging of coastal old-growth forests there.

Preservation of this species is important in its own right, and is also critical to the ecological system, says Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Larry Edwards. The final ESA decision is scheduled for December 2015.

Forests Background Documentation Alaska (USA : 2003)

Tenakee Inlet, mist over trees in the Tongass National Forest.

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