Table of Contents
- Brief Background Information About Greenpeace
One of my favourite books is The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. In it, he very wittingly shows what corporate greed and excessive consumerism is doing to our environment, and how it leads to a never-ending cycle of profit that preys on our basic rights to clean air and water. It is without a doubt that climate change is one of the biggest threats we are facing today as Yuval Harari mentions in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. However, thanks to the advancement of technology and media, news travels instantly and people are becoming increasingly more aware of the environmental impact both corporations and we ourselves have on the environment.
I recently bought a reusable fork, spoon and knife combo. Not so surprisingly though, it is made of an allegedly safer type of plastic that can be recycled. I still was not 100 % satisfied, so I researched more on the topic and found that the company Light My Fire produces one that is made of titanium, thus avoiding plastic altogether, which I ordered on Amazon. If I, as an individual person, am concerned and continually developing on how I can contribute in the fight against pollution, why isn’t a big corporation, comprised of many individuals, not committed to the same fight? Because they are driven by profit and shareholder value, whereas I am driven by a genuine concern about our environment. Many people share my concern, and have taken in it a step further; they have launched non-profit organisations with the aim to save our planet from the greed of the corporate world. But how effective are they with the threat of climate change looming over us ever so closely? Should non-profits collaborate with for-profit organisations? In this paper, I plan on evaluating the partnership between Greenpeace and Foron that led to the creative of Greenfreeze technology being adopted.
Brief Background Information About Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-profit organisation that was established in 1971 for the purpose of stopping nuclear testing and thus preserve wildlife. While their initial mission was unsuccessful, it sparked debate and gradually enlightened people to think about what we are doing to the planet. This was the true birth of Greenpeace as a leader in advocacy and campaigning as it fleshed out the organisations strengths. To this day, the organisation employs peaceful, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and develop solutions for a green and peaceful future. The organisation aims to create a green and peaceful world where all life on Earth can flourish. Currently, Greenpeace works to:
- Stop the planet from warming beyond 1.5ºC to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of the climate breakdown.
- Protect biodiversity in all its forms.
- Slow the volume of hyper-consumption and learn to live within our planetary means.
- Promote renewable energy as a solution that can power the world.
- Nurture peace, global disarmament and non-violence.
Greenpeace has no permanent friends or foes, which means it is not aligned with an organisation, government or any other sort of governing body so as not to compromise its mission. Through their advocacy and campaign work, they are able to have a seat at the table and demand change by developing, researching ad facilitating concrete steps towards a green and peaceful future for everyone. Why Greenpeace leads the way in green alliances: If you go on Greenpeace’s website, it says it is registered as a non-profit organisation, not charity and takes money neither from governments nor from polluters so as not to compromise its work in protecting the environment. Greenpeace says it is crucial for it to be transparent for its donors and to sustain its reputation (Greenpeace International). With organisations like Greenpeace that do not accept money from polluters, you can trust that they do not have a compromised position on issues like climate change. Therefore, when they enter strategic partnerships with corporations they are able to persuade them to park their profit-maximising agenda at the door, and work with Greenpeace on accomplishing milestone progress in the fight to put our planet first and produce sustainably. Greenpeace’s robust reputation serves it to this day.
Opportunities arising from such collaborations: The opportunities arising from such collaborations are plentiful. Environmental groups can learn how to make big corporations want to be engaged in social work, and also allow for the sharing of research and expertise with corporations so that an accurate and current state of affairs can be drawn. They can also gain a better understanding of the activities performed by corporations so that they assess the environmental impact and put forth plans to counteract the damage that has been done. In addition, understanding the business or for-profit side of the issue is very important in knowing how to present solutions that, in the long-term, benefit both parties and be able to convince corporations that for example nature conservation in fact leads to business prosperity in the long-run.
Threats arising from such collaborations are bound to surface. A collaboration may in fact indirectly help push a corporate agenda that deems real solutions to climate change unworkable and politically unrealistic. In turn, this jeopardises the reputation of a non-profit as it could be seen that it would back any project in exchange for funds, leading to them losing their scientific and analytical credibility as it may be perceived as being governed by monetary incentives.
Another threat may be corporations urging a non-profit to lower its standards when it comes to considering nature conservation victories in accordance with current government regulations. For example, the Ford government recently repealed the climate bill, much to the joy of corporations. Internal and external communication failures are highly likely to occur. Leaders are supposed to be visionaries, and when the vision is leaning more towards a “let us lessen the environmental impact” rather than “let us continuously work on innovative and ground-breaking methods to save our environment and reduce the environmental impact of human activity” then the metrics for success shift and drop sharply.
Moreover, it is difficult to communicate with corporations if emotions are let into the picture. Environmentalists should always be passionate about protecting the environment, however, blaming or calling out corporations on their polluting past will not do anything to further the conversation. Nonetheless, if concerns and issues are not clearly communicated then both entities will assign different metrics for assessing success. In these collaborations, the bottom line must always be sustainable development. It must seem to corporations as catering towards their profit-based needs, and at the same time stay true to saving the environment. In other words, a non-profit must maintain its sovereignty as a protector of the planet. Greenpeace and Foron: This is a partnership that lasted one year.
Though it was only one year, it was able to dramatically transform the refrigerator industry. In the year of 1973, American scientists discovered the destructive potential of CFCs to deplete the ozone layer. At the time, CFCs had been used in refrigerators since the 1930s, yet despite the scientific evidence that was available there was denial in accepting the research and as a result 15 years passed by before a political agreement was put in place to phase-out ozone depleting substances internationally (GIZ). The Montreal Protocol (1989) urged the industry to research alternatives, and a substitute was found. Although this substitute did not deplete the ozone layer, it had a massive global warming potential.