The Humboldt Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin is doing some serious work on fighting corruption. The most recent output is a Handbook for Practitioners entitled: Motivating Business to Counter Corruption. In it, I have shared some thoughts on what those fighting corruption may learn from Greenpeace campaigning. May it be helpful to all who try to hold those in power to account.Corruption is one reason why the public good is being damaged and our future as humanity is at stake. Greenpeace’s vision of a sustainable society demands that power be exercised fairly and that those in power be held accountable for their actions. Corruption undermines this vision, by privileging those with power and money over others, allowing them to profit at the expense not only of the rest of us – but of the planet itself. Greenpeace is therefore honored to share some insights from our campaigning history with anti-corruption practitioners. We hope that doing so will help our collective work for a more accountable and just world.There is no question that sheer luck often makes the difference between a good - but unsuccessful – campaign plan and a winning one. The victories Greenpeace has achieved also vary a lot (you can get an overview here.There is no ‘off the shelf’ plan one can adopt, but here are five lessons from our experience that I would like to emphasize:1. A picture is worth more than a 1000 wordsIt´s a cliché, but it´s true: unless there is a picture, getting attention is very hard. Abu Ghraib, for example, only became a real scandal once pictures were available. A picture isn´t everything, but without good visual material achieving impact is difficult. What pictures travel can often depend on the news day, but images that explain the demand of the campaign simply are an essential tool. Pictures of pipes blowing out dirt or of heavy air pollution simply work better than only analyses showing that there is a problem. The combination of “killer facts” with visuals illustrating them is to be strived for.2. You need to identify the point „where it hurts”With the rise of the Internet there has been a lot of debate about the tools of campaigning, sometimes at the expense of considering the bread and butter issues of strategy. But a campaign which is not based on an accurate analysis of the strength and weaknesses of the company or government it aims to influence, will never be successful. Planning a campaign to Green Apple or a campaign to stop the commercialization of genetically engineered rice in China could not be more different in many ways. But they are the same in the sense, that you need to analyze your ´target` as accurately and effectively as you can. We sometimes spend years doing research before we find a „lever“ that we think can deliver real change. If you have not identified such a lever, it´s probably better not to start your campaign, as you will only look weak. What effective levers are depends on what you are trying to shift. In the case of Apple, for example, we realized that we needed to appeal to the Apple fan base to affect change at Apple. When we were running a campaign on toxic ship paints, on the other hand, our target audience was often a very small number of technical magazines covering ship matters. It was (negative) coverage in those magazines that toxic paint producers were worried about because they directly influenced market decisions.3. Always provide a solutionSome people believe Greenpeace to be against everything, but nothing could be further from the truth. We always do provide an alternative. We show in our Energy Revolution scenario, for example, that you can provide energy for all, cut emissions and do without coal and nuclear; we don´t JUST oppose coal and nuclear power plants. That´s why often our confrontations end in cooperation over time. A campaign on climate-killing refrigerants being used at the Sydney Olympics, for example, over time morphs into a common agenda with the likes of Coca-Cola to eliminate climate-damaging f-gases from refrigerants altogether. A (successful) campaign asking Nestlé to cut its ties with Golden Agri Resources because of their destructive palm oil practices results in us – three years later – welcoming GAR´s commitment to „no deforestation footprint“ for palm oil.4. Integrity makes you strongGreenpeace is fiercely independent and takes no money from corporations or governments. When I talk of „cooperation“ with business in the previous paragraph, this working together never entails Greenpeace getting any money. In our experience, it is this integrity that makes us strong. If we say something is good for people or the planet, the question of corruption simply does not arise. Nobody can even dream of claiming that we only say this in order to receive corporate donations. Doing without corporate funding - and by doing so increasing your integrity - is thus certainly an approach we can recommend to other players. This seems to be particularly pertinent in the anti-corruption field.Part of integrity is of course also accuracy. Greenpeace has its own Science Unit and issue experts across the organization, because we know we are only as strong as our claims are accurate.5. Being unpredictable makes you stronger: No permanent enemies, no permanent friendsStrategy is key; it is probably the most important of all criteria for success (see 2). However, many wrongly equate strategy with a need to define `one definitive way of doing something`. But not only does one size not fit all, predictability is simply not an asset in campaigning. If you do the same thing again and again, that predictability will become your weakness (even if your execution of the campaign is excellent). The ´other´ side will be prepared for your next move, or failing that, will be able – soon after you start your campaign – to decipher an effective counter strategy based on previous experiences. How to counter “standard” campaigns is already being taught in MBA classes after all.It is therefore essential that you stay unpredictable in your choice of both targets and tools. The reason why Greenpeace is often effective is that we do both: We take bold action forcing destructive companies to change course and do first hand research on the ground uncovering scandals and proposing solutions. But we are also present where important decisions are being taken by powerful institutions and governments, often unnoticed and far from media attention – but with profound impacts. We have „No permanent friends and no permanent enemies“. We praise those against whom we have previously campaigned if they do the right thing. But we also always reserve the right to confront a corporation on an issue even if we work in cooperation with it on another.Greenpeace does from time to time directly attack corruption and corrupt practices. In doing so, we learn a lot from the anti-corruption community. I hope that these lines may help the anti-corruption community in a small way to develop effective campaign strategies to further our common cause of holding those in power accountable.
Mittwoch, 11. Dezember 2013
Delivering change – lessons for anti-corruption practitioners from Greenpeace’s environmental campaigning
Freitag, 29. November 2013
Donnerstag, 28. November 2013
First published on www.greenpeace.org
Freitag, 18. Oktober 2013
The public image of Greenpeace is one of "corporate bashers". But the full story is much more complicated. Greenpeace indeed challenges power and the status quo because business as usual will deliver nothing but run away climate change, more poverty and a poisoned planet. Challenging the powers that be is therefore essential to achieve real benefits for people and the planet. In a world in which already 44 of the 100 largest economic entities are multinational corporations, the powers that need to be challenge are and will – increasingly often – be corporations. My personal aspiration has always been a world in which governments ensure the rights of all to a decent environment by effectively regulating corporate behavior. I want governments to outlaw destructive practices, from dangerous chemicals to nuclear power. As a step in the right direction, governments should make corporations fully liable for their social and environmental impacts, including the impacts of their supply chains. But while I am proud to occasionally help disrupt destructive business, I am also proud to work for an organization that actively supports the solutions the world needs. Greenpeace never says no without offering an alternative. That´s why Greenpeace has teamed up with the renewables industry, for example, to show that we can deliver clean energy for all and cut climate damaging gases – our energy revolution scenario. That´s why we support communities from Papua New Guinea to Canada managing their forests sustainably, not for short term profits. We are so committed to getting solutions the world needs adopted fast, that we are, at times, even willing to praise corporations that - as a whole - are still part of the problem. We say “well done” to Coca Cola for eliminating climate damaging refrigerants from their cooling equipment, because the benefits for our climate and future generations are significant and real. Though what we aim for remains clean production, globally, enshrined by law. I was happy to shed some light on the complexity of the relationship between corporations and Greenpeace at the FSC In Good Company conference in Copenhagen last week. You can watch the full session here:
Dienstag, 15. Oktober 2013
Montag, 12. August 2013
The things Greenpeacer´s do on holiday. Earlier this year my team member Sofia took a break from her main job - protecting the oceans - and helped produce this powerful The Ecologist film on how the economic crisis is being (ab)used to force a destructive mining project onto a Greek community.
Watch and be angry:
Donnerstag, 8. August 2013
There is nothing I am more angry about than the fact that all too often those exploiting people or destroying the future of my daughters are not being held to account.
So when I recently spoke at the Global Reporting Initiative´s global conference on "Sustainability Reporting Regulation: Today and Tomorrow" I called for a lot more than corporate reporting. It´s progressive regulation we need. While at the conference, I was appalled to see companies like Shell or Enel pretending to be good corporate citizens because they report under the GRI guidelines. Them claiming any form of sustainability is risible as long as they drill in the Arctic (Shell) or burn coal (Enel).
If you are interested in watching the session, here it is.
Sustainability Reporting Regulation Today and Tomorrow from Global Reporting Initiative on Vimeo.
Sonntag, 7. Juli 2013