Environmental & Sustainability Damnation 17: Greenpeace

Yes, you read that right — procurement damnation #17 is Greenpeace. While it’s important that someone provide the voice of sustainability when your average organization can’t see beyond the Wall Street proclamation that the almighty dollar must come first, and must come as soon as possible unless you want your rating downgraded and your corporate brand value wiped out, this is a case where that someone has inadvertently done as much harm as good.

While Greenpeace is not an eco-terrorist organization, there’s a reason that the (US) FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) coined the term eco-terrorism and a reason that the FBI once called radical environmental activists the number one domestic terror threat, and, at SI we’re very sad to say that the reason is Greenpeace. Unfortunately, a large number of radical environmentalists take Greenpeace’s message too far and use, or threaten the use of, violence and sabotage of a criminal nature in an effort to get their responsibility and sustainability messages across. (This, of course, weakens their cause, but they still do it.)

Moreover, its fight to end the use of nuclear power, coal, and oil can be so crippling to a developing economy that still depends on those technologies (and that needs time to convert over to more environmentally friendly alternatives such as solar, wind, and water power) that Greenpeace actually poses a threat to economic security and India even barred international funding for the local branch of Greenpeace (while freezing its seven bank accounts) in April of this year (and, to date, Greenpeace India has only regained access to its two main domestic bank accounts and 25% of the funds in its foreign contribution accounts).

And when it gets a company in its sight, that company loses money. For example, Greenpeace demonstrators regularly put up blockades that prevent companies from clearing land, drilling for oil or mining for minerals, or ships from leaving ports (with a recent example being the blockage of a Shell drilling vessel from leaving port). Renting, maintaining, and staffing heavy construction equipment and ships costs a lot of money and everyday the equipment sits idle can cost a company tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. This drives up the cost of the raw materials mined or harvested, and hits all our pocket books to the point that the tax credits we get in countries where Greenpeace is seen as a charitable organization is often less than what they cost us.

And if your organization ever gets in Greenpeace’s sights, the reason why it is one of only two organizations to be included on our Procurement Damnation list will become crystal clear.