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Analysis of Greenpeace Business Model

December 14, 2018

Although Greenpeace relies heavily on marketing, advertising, and free market principles, they promote socialist and anti-capitalist ideals in their messaging.

Greenpeace have successfully created a public perception that they are fighting to protect humanity, nature and the environment from the evils of corrupt industries and vested interests. This perception is so popular and wide-spread that whenever Greenpeace speaks out on an issue it is automatically assumed to be true, and anybody who questions Greenpeace’s claims is assumed to be corrupt. However, as we will discuss in this report, the reality is almost exactly the opposite...

Greenpeace is a very successful business. Their business model can be summarized as follows:

  1. Invent an “environmental problem” which sounds somewhat plausible. Provide anecdotal evidence to support your claims, with emotionally powerful imagery.
  2. Invent a “simple solution” for the problem which sounds somewhat plausible and emotionally appealing, but is physically unlikely to ever be implemented.
  3. Pick an “enemy” and blame them for obstructing the implementation of the “solution”. Imply that anybody who disagrees with you is probably working for this enemy.
  4. Dismiss any alternative “solutions” to your problem as “completely inadequate”.

At each of the four stages, they campaign to raise awareness of the efforts that they are allegedly making to “fight” this problem. Concerned citizens then either sign up as “members” (with annual fees) or make individual donations (e.g., $25 or more) to help them in “the fight”. This model has been very successful for them, with an annual turnover of about $400 million ($0.4 billion). Although technically a “not for profit” organization, this has not stopped them from increasing their asset value over the years, and they currently have an asset value of $270 million ($0.27 billion) – with 65% of that in cash, making them a cash-rich business. Several other groups have also adopted this approach, e.g., Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, WWF and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Although their business relies heavily on marketing, advertising, and free market principles, they promote socialist and anti-capitalist ideals in their messaging. As a result, their campaigning efforts appear to resonate strongly with left-leaning parties and liberal media. By draping themselves in “moral clothing” (see Appendix 4), Greenpeace have been very effective at convincing these progressive organizations that anything Greenpeace says is “good” and “true”, and whatever they criticise is “bad” and “corrupt”. However, as we discuss in this report, Greenpeace are not actually helping to protect the environment, or exposing real problems. Instead, they are:

  1. Creating unnecessary feelings of guilt, panic and frustration among the general public. Greenpeace then make money off this moral outrage, guilt and helplessness (Section 1).
  2. Vilifying the innocent as “enemies”. Once you have been tarred by Greenpeace’s brush, any attempts to defend yourself are usually treated with suspicion or even derision (Section 2).
  3. Deliberately fighting honest attempts by other groups to tackle the “environmental problems” that Greenpeace claim need to be tackled (Sections 3 and 5).
  4. Distorting the science to generate simplistic “environmental crises” that have almost nothing to do with the genuine environmental issues which should be addressed. (Sections 4-5)
  5. Actively shutting down any attempts to have any informed discussions about what to actually do about the “problems” they have highlighted (Appendices 2-4).
Willie Soon is an astrophysicist and a geoscientist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Dr. Patrick Moore has been a leader in the international environmental field for over 40 years. He is a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. @EcoSenseNow