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« Inhumanity again | Main | Falling prices, falling windfarms »

Greenpeace: incompetence and hypocrisy

The Guardian has an astonishing splash on Greenpeace. Based on documents leaked from the activists' HQ, it appears that the finance department has been in chaos for years.

The handling of Greenpeace International’s £58m budget has been in disarray for years, with its finance team beset by personnel problems and a lack of rigorous processes, leading to errors, substandard work and a souring of relationships between its Amsterdam HQ and offices around the world, documents and emails leaked to the Guardian show.

A board minute is quoted that suggests that the internal financial controls are just a bit on the weak side:

[the board] is particularly troubled by...the lack of strong, coherent processes and controls that prevent the possibility that contracts can be entered into without due authorisation.

It's pretty surprising then that the organisation's auditors, Ernst and Young, have given it a clean bill of health in past years.

Even more remarkably, it is revealed that some of Greenpeace's most senior figures have adopted what normal mortals might consider ultra-high carbon lifestyles:

The Guardian has also learned that one of the group’s most senior executives, Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s international programme director, works in Amsterdam but flies between the city’s offices and his home in Luxembourg several times a month.

Naidoo defended the arrangement, saying: “Pascal has a young family in Luxembourg. When he was offered the new role he couldn’t move his family to Amsterdam straight away. He’d be the first to say he hates the commute, hates having to fly, but right now he hasn’t got much of an option until he can move. He wishes there was an express train between his home and his office, but it would currently be a 12-hour round trip by train.”

Greens go by air it seems. A lot.

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Reader Comments (38)

He 'needs' to do it. We don't.

He had to destroy the planet in order to save it.

Pretty standard fare from Greens.

Jun 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Booze up. Brewery. Organise.

Jun 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM | Registered CommenterGrantB

So his job is more important than his dogma but mine isn't, hypocrisy comes in a quaint shade of green, this gentleman will serve to silence many an eco-bore in polite conversation.

Jun 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

So Greenpeace are incompetent. Whoopee!

Just think of the damage they could do if they were weren't..

Jun 23, 2014 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

I've long been mystified by their claim that they "don't accept money from companies, governments or political parties", which sound risible to me. Or am I just a beastly sceptic..?

Jun 23, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

So, Husting "couldn’t move his family to Amsterdam straight away" when he took the job in 2012. It doesn't sound like he has any such intention.

Jun 23, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I think we can start to put the pieces together.

Someone or some people in Greenpeace is/are sick to the eyeballs with the way things are being run and - I'd assume - the lack of any interest in real environmental issues. The result is that the organisation is now leaking like a sieve because having failed to get reform from the inside - the "deepthroat" is trying to force change from outside.

This explains why the Guardian was one of the first to report the Russian Oil funding of "green groups" and why this is now this in the Guardian.

Jun 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

So, Husting flies to work. Does Husting pay or does Greenpeace?

Sounds like a hustle to me.

Jun 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterSceptical Sam

It sounds like Greenpeace's financial model is based on that used by the EU; except Greenpeace's finances have been "audited" and passed by E&Y.

Jun 23, 2014 at 11:57 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Husting could not realistically commute the 360 km from Luxembourg to Amsterdam by any other means than flying even if a direct express train operated - it's about the same as living in London and commuting to Newcastle.

As "International Programme Director" I would imagine that he spends most of his time jetting around the world - it's a shame that we can't FOI Greenpaece to find out just how many airmiles Husting and his fellow executives clock up !

Jun 23, 2014 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

I'm not surprised Greenpeace has problems with contracts: They certainly have difficulties with things like truth and obeying laws.

But we are all carbon-based life-forms so I'm willing to forgive them for ultra-high carbon lifestyles, if not the hypocrisy. It would be difficult to invade Russian oil-rigs in a sail boat.

Jun 23, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Shame about Greenpeace. They made people aware of the environment and got us concerned about the whale. At this point they should have said job done and quit. Now they are just a big joke.

Jun 23, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

I expect that the number of miles he flies is offset by the number of miles his organization persuades the gullible not to fly in order to save the planet. So he's really carbon neutral.

Jun 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

The comment on the trip is misleading. It takes about 6 hours from Amsterdam to Luxembourg by train. This is not a perfect connection, but feasible. Keep in mind that a flight takes more than just the pure flight time.

Jun 23, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBut...

5 minutes playing on the internet, shows I can get trains from Amsterdam to Luxembourg that take between 5hr 20m and 6hr 15m to do the trip.

Jun 23, 2014 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

And a short flight is around the 3 hrs mark.

Jun 23, 2014 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

But ... and Adam Gallon

So you agree with Naidoo, who is reported as talking about a 12-hour round trip, i.e. there and back. Please pay attention at the back.

"He wishes there was an express train between his home and his office, but it would currently be a 12-hour round trip by train."

Jun 23, 2014 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterCassio

So lets see if I have this correct:

Greenpeace is a multinational corporation that speculates with millions of Euros on the markets (and loses).
It's executives live a jet set lifestyle flying back and forth to the office.
It has been accused of hindering the growth of a 3rd World Country and thus keeping its citizens in poverty.

Why aren't "Occupy" occupying Greenpeace's offices worldwide?

Jun 23, 2014 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

[Snip - venting]
"Two and a half years since first appointed & has a young family?" ... What the ... ?? Is he waiting until all the kids have started primary school? (or high school, or uni??)
What an absolute Greenland-size Glacier-load of hypocricy these Greens continually (over-) indulge in!!
As I asked Prof's. Flannery and Steffen a few years ago at a public meeting in Ipswich ...
"Name me three activists that attended any of the IPCC. conferences in the last few years that either rode cycles there each day, or camped in a tent each night?"
Needless to say, they couldn't name one!!
How much longer is the west's "lame-stream" media going to put up with this lot of "Magic Pudding" economists with "God complexes" trying to tell the rest of us what to do??? Regards, reformed warmist of logan (aust)

Jun 23, 2014 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterreformed warmist of logan (aust)

A '12-hour round trip by train' - that's 6 hours each way, not too much of a burden 'several times a month' if you're a true believer. He could consider it a pilgrimage.

Jun 23, 2014 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

Greenp*ss = money down the toilet...

Jun 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

If they (Greenpeace) cannot even balance their own budget how can they save a (balanced) planet, which, if I believe them, is predominantly about counting in and outgoing radiation numbers.

Jun 23, 2014 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered Commenteroebele bruinsma

Its only 196 miles

Not the sort of distance ordinary mortals cannot drive.

Jun 23, 2014 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

I thought greens were against population growth, why does he have kids? .....maybe they are just against poor people reproducing and having modern lives. I imagine this guys got all the nice things in life like cars, iphones, home air conditioning and all the other modern things while he runs around the world telling poor people in India they must suffer to save his job and life style...

Jun 23, 2014 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterjjs

Perhaps if they asked Uncle Putin he might help them out!

After all they are saving the planet, doing Gaia's work, nothing they do can be wrong!

Jun 23, 2014 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Neil Craig : Not the sort of distance ordinary mortals cannot drive.

Bearing in mind the lives Greenpeace want us all to lead, he should set an example and do it by ox cart.

Jun 23, 2014 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

I commuted Lux - Geneva, 600km, used to take me anywhere from 4.5 - 6 hours at least twice a month, sometimes more.

Driving through Belgium the roads are I believe unlimited, Belgians certainly drive that way.

Jun 23, 2014 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

I wonder if he flies economy class? Or does he fly business class.?

What's money or a large carbon footprint when you are saving the planet!

Jun 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

As has been pointed out, they are griping about it being a 12hr round-trip by train.
Commutes daily does he?

Jun 23, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Hasn't he heard of electric cars?

Jun 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

2007 info, but can't have changed much
"There is an hourly intercity train (Not Thalys which is more expensive) that leaves Amsterdam Central to Brussel-Noord. It leaves at 23 minutes past each hour, journey time is 2.51, cost is €34.40 second class single.

Likewise from Brussels there is an hourly intercity train that leaves at 36 minutes past each hour (to Luxembourg) Journey time is three hours and it cosrs 29.60 second class single."
You can be working all the time you are on a train. I wonder if you could take slow train to make it a sleep overnight journey ?
.. it’s almost as if they don’t really care about the CO2
..well for green-loonies it’s always been about using dirty PR to push Dogma/polictical_agenda ..rather than being about science.

Jun 23, 2014 at 4:35 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

[snip O/T]

Jun 23, 2014 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterOliver K. Manuel

When inter-railing 20+ odd years ago sleeper trains were a popular way of getting between major cities.

I know that many professionals regularly commuting from here in Edinburgh to London prefer the sleeper to flying.

It would seem a much greener option?


Jun 23, 2014 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

As in Orwell's "Animal Farm", the pigs do all the same bad acts that got the farmer in trouble.

Jun 23, 2014 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMiner49er

The amount of spin in this piece would bring tears to Tony Blair's eyes. I mean there isn't any air link between "his home and his office" either exactly.

BTW, Your Grace, I saw you in my dream last night. We were on a train and you were busy with the blog on a tablet gadget. We didn't talk much. And you weren't as funny in person as you come across in print. You came into my dream maybe because this was the last post I read before falling asleep.

Jun 24, 2014 at 4:17 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

A comment on the GP web page:

"Paul Roberts • 27 minutes ago
I note that the monkey image (avatar) appears (only) alongside many comments most of which are very negative or simply mean and nasty." [My brackets]

Jun 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

This reminds me of Franny Armstrong and that absurd film she made. I recall she tied herself in moral knots over whether or not to use a fossil-fueled helicopter for a shot. If I remember correctly, she ended with the humble opinion that since she was saving the world, she was allowed to do a bit of damage to it.

Jun 26, 2014 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBill

And they have in their Dutch year report of 2012 [1], when Husting already was working in Amsterdam, that "... in principle we do not fly on distances within 1000 kilometers".

Jul 29, 2014 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeenstijl

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