Frequently asked questions

If you can’t find the answer you are looking for please reach out via our contact page.

Scuba diver pictured holding up Greenpeace banner next to a coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef.

How can I help Greenpeace?

There are lots of ways you can help, both financially and non-financially. 

Greenpeace is an independent, non-profit organisation where we depend on amazing people like you to help us make our home greener and healthier. Our regular donations are super flexible and can be as small as $5 a month/every four weeks. We completely understand that making a donation is not always possible – and that’s 100% okay! And there are PLENTY of other ways to get involved and support our campaign work, including signing a petition, sharing our campaign messages with your friends and family, or by becoming a valued member of the team as a volunteer or activist.

Working or Volunteering for Greenpeace

How can I get a job with Greenpeace?

It’s great to hear that you’d like to join the team at Greenpeace Australia Pacific! You can check out our current vacancies on our website at

You could also become part of our volunteer network by filling out the form here:

How can I help out on one of Greenpeace’s ships?

To apply for a position as a crew member on one of our ships, send a CV to:

Greenpeace Marine Services
Ottho Heldringstraat 5
1066 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

List any marine certificates you possess, and specify as many skills as you can. Do you speak several languages? Are you a certified diver? A professional cook? A wonderful musician? A photographer, videographer, carpenter, plumber, or engineer? Is your passport current and what’s your availability?

We are always looking for motivated, skilled and experienced crew but as you can imagine we also receive many applications each day. Give us as much information as you can, and good luck!

More about our ships


I want to contact someone about my donations to Greenpeace.

For any questions regarding your donations, please give our friendly Supporter Engagement Team a call on 1800 815 151 during office hours (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEDT/Sydney time), or send us an email at [email protected] with your request and any details to help us locate you in our system including your supporter ID number, phone number, donation amount, and postal address so we can look into this further for you. For more information, please refer to our contact us page.

Contact us
I do not want to make my donation to Greenpeace by credit card, are there other ways in which I can make my donation?

If you wish to make a regular donation, we can also accept direct debit via your bank account using your BSB and Account number or if you are looking to make a one-off donation, you can make a direct deposit into our bank account. Visit our contact us page to get in touch with our wonderful Supporter Engagement Team to discuss your preferred payment method further. Alternatively, you can send your donation by post in the form of cheques or money orders.

These can be posted to:
Greenpeace Australia Pacific, GPO Box 2622, Sydney, NSW, 2001

Where can I find information on how to make a bequest to Greenpeace?

Leaving a bequest to Greenpeace is a positive and effective way of leaving a legacy of a healthy, peaceful planet for future generations. If you would like to receive information on how you can leave a gift to Greenpeace Australia Pacific in your Will, please contact Alexis Escavy on 0448 948 113 or by emailing [email protected].

More about leaving a gift in your Will
How can I receive regular information about Greenpeace?

You can sign up to receive our email updates by filling out the form at the bottom of our Get Involved page. We will send you regular updates on what’s happening in the campaigning space, and how you can help to take action. You can follow us on social media – our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts get regularly updated and the more often you engage with those posts, the further the campaign message reach is.

Get involved
I want to donate via PayPal

We use a platform called Stripe, which is incredibly similar to PayPal and just as secure. You can view their website here and read about how they work and their security measures if you would like some reassurance. Although we definitely understand that PayPal would be a good option for our organisation, Stripe actually integrates better with the database that we use organisation-wide.

Is my donation to Greenpeace tax deductible?

Yes! All donations above $2 by Australian residents are tax deductible.

Read more

About Greenpeace

What is Greenpeace’s mission?

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and to force the solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace’s goal is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity.

Who founded Greenpeace?

There’s an old joke around the organisation that in any bar in Vancouver, Canada, you can find at least one person who claims to have founded Greenpeace.

In truth, many talented folks contributed to the creation of Greenpeace. Bill Darnell coined the name when someone flashed him a peace sign and he said “Let’s make that a green peace!” Bob Hunter created the concept of the “Media Mind Bomb” -reaching the public consciousness through dramatic, camera-ready opposition to environmental crimes. Jim Bohlen, Paul Cote, and Irving Stowe were the founders of the Don’t Make a Wave Committee, which organised the first Greenpeace action: a voyage to Amchitka Island in the Aleutians to try to stop a nuclear weapons test. David McTaggart convinced a half dozen loosely connected early groups to put aside their differences and join a single worldwide organisation, creating Greenpeace International in 1979. The Greenpeace International website contains lots more information about the founders of Greenpeace.

More about our history
How did Greenpeace get started?

In 1971, motivated by their vision of a green and peaceful world, a small team of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada, in an old fishing boat.

The founders of Greenpeace believed a few individuals could make a difference. Their mission was to “bear witness” to the USA’s underground nuclear testing at Amchitka in one of the world’s most earthquake-prone regions.

A tiny island off the West Coast of Alaska, Amchitka was the last refuge for 3000 endangered sea otters, and home to bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other wildlife.

Even though their old boat, the Phyllis Cormack, was intercepted before she got to Amchitka, the journey sparked a flurry of public interest. The US still detonated their bomb, but the voice of reason had been heard.

Nuclear testing on Amchitka ended that same year, and the island was later declared a bird sanctuary.

Today, Greenpeace is a global organisation that gives priority to campaigns that can be addressed on a global scale. Based in Amsterdam, Greenpeace has 2.8 million supporters worldwide, and comprises 26 independent national and regional offices across the world covering operations in more than 55 countries.

If you want to read more, there are several good books about Greenpeace: “The Warriors of the Rainbow” by Robert Hunter, “Journey into the Bomb” by David Mc.Taggart, and “The Greenpeace Story” by John May and Michael Brown.

How many supporters does Greenpeace have?

Greenpeace has a growing supporter base of millions of people around the world – those who work for us, volunteer, donate, follow and take action both on and offline. In 2016, over 63 million people followed Greenpeace on social media, over 4 million people were financial donors, over 50,000 volunteers operated in 1138 cities, and 2582 staff members worked on permanent contracts for Greenpeace.

How is Greenpeace organised? Who runs Greenpeace?

The Greenpeace organisation consists of Greenpeace International (Stichting Greenpeace Council) in Amsterdam and Greenpeace offices around the world. Greenpeace currently has 26 national or regional offices with a presence in 55 countries. Greenpeace national or regional offices are licensed to use the name Greenpeace.

Each office is governed by a board that appoints a representative (called a trustee). Trustees meet once a year to agree on the long-term strategy of the organisation, to make necessary changes to governance structure, to set a ceiling on spending for Greenpeace International’s budget and to elect the International Board of four members and a chairperson.

Greenpeace International monitors the organisational development of Greenpeace offices, oversees the development and maintenance of our fleet of ships, coordinates the planning and implementation of our global campaigns, and monitors compliance with core policies. The International Board approves the annual budget of Greenpeace International and its audited accounts.

It also appoints and supervises the International Executive Director who, together with senior managers, and consulting widely with national office staff, leads the organisation. Greenpeace does not solicit or accept funding from governments, corporations or political parties. 

Greenpeace neither seeks nor accepts donations which could compromise its independence, aims, objectives or integrity. Greenpeace relies on the voluntary donations of individual supporters and on grant support from foundations. Greenpeace is committed to the principles of non-violence, political independence and internationalism. In exposing threats to the environment and working to find solutions, Greenpeace has no permanent allies or enemies.

To find out more about our Board and how Greenpeace makes decisions, visit our Governance page.

Our Governance
Where does the name Rainbow Warrior come from?

Bob Hunter, one of the founders of Greenpeace, tells a story in his book, Warriors of the Rainbow, about how this legend crossed his path.

On the first voyage of a Greenpeace ship, the Phyllis Cormack, Bob had taken on board a small book of Indian myths and legends that contained some striking prophecies. The book itself had been given to him by an old wandering native American who had told him the book would “change his life” — something which prompted a bit of cynicism in the Canadian journalist, who tossed the book into a box and forgot about it. But he stocked the Phyllis Cormack with reading material for the voyage, and one stormy evening he said the book literally jumped off the shelf into his hands, and he read it.

A chapter that particularly inspired Hunter related a story an old Cree Indian woman, ‘Eyes of Fire’ told to her great-grandson. Just as they were being overthrown, The Cree Indian people foresaw a time when the white man’s materialistic ways would strip the earth of its resources, but just before it was too late the Great Spirit of the Indians would return to resurrect the braves and teach the white man reverence for the earth. They would become known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.

The story circulated in Greenpeace for many years, and in 1978 our first ship, a rusting North Sea Trawler named the “Sir William Hardy” was rechristened “Rainbow Warrior.”

At the beginning of 2017, Greenpeace was supported financially by over 3 million people around the world. Our financial supporters are the people who keep our ships on the oceans and our campaigners in the field. Millions of people around the world also take action with us every day as online activists, local groups or volunteers.

More about the Rainbow Warrior
Why is there no Greenpeace office in my country?

It is just not possible for Greenpeace to have an office everywhere. We regularly receive requests to open offices all over the world. Like any other organisation, Greenpeace has to work within a budget and we have to make choices about what we do. Our campaign work is targeted against the greatest threats to the global environment.

You can help us in many ways even if there’s no office in your country. Visit the Get Involved page to learn more about what you can do every day to help Greenpeace win campaigns for the environment.

I want to open a Greenpeace office. I want to represent Greenpeace in my country. What should I do?

Opening a new office, or appointing a representative in a country in which we do not have an office, is an organisation-wide decision that has to be agreed upon by our International Board and approved by our international Annual General Meeting. Greenpeace does not adopt, incorporate or otherwise subsume existing organisations into its structure. Like every organisation, we have to work within our budget, and due to limited financial and human resources, we have to be selective in our decisions as to where to open new offices. Development or expansion is also subject to certain essential campaign criteria. We will only open a new office if this is in line with the strategic priorities of the organisation. Greenpeace has recently established an office in Africa. We are not planning to open any further new offices in the near future.

The name “Greenpeace” is an internationally registered trademark belonging to the Stichting Greenpeace Council (Greenpeace International) in the Netherlands, and therefore the use of the name requires permission. Once a decision has been taken to open a new office, Greenpeace International enters into a licensing agreement with the new office, allowing that office to use the name Greenpeace. Use of this name is conditional upon fulfilling a whole range of obligations towards the international organisation.

We hope that you will not find this discouraging and that you and/or your organisation will continue in its aims to champion environmental issues further. You can help Greenpeace in many ways – by volunteering your time or services to an existing Greenpeace office, or by getting involved as an online activist. You’d be surprised how much help we can use, even when an office isn’t nearby.

Our Funding

Where does Greenpeace get its funding from?

To maintain absolute independence Greenpeace does not accept money from companies, governments or political parties. We’re serious about that, and we screen for and send cheques back when they’re drawn on a corporate account. 

We depend on the donations of our supporters to carry on our non-violent campaigns to protect the environment.

Our books are audited every year, in every office around the world, and we publish our Annual Report on the web every year so you can see exactly how much money we’re given and how it gets spent.

More than 95% of our funding comes from generous individual donors, which allows us to make independent decisions and take action on campaigns that matter the most to our supporters.
We also receive some grant money from Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, and from private foundations and philanthropic organisations for specific projects.

More about our funding
What does Greenpeace do with the money?

All income and assets are applied solely in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

Primarily, our funds are used to pay for all the campaigns that we run, from protecting the Great Barrier Reef and the Arctic to dealing with climate change and promoting environmentally sustainable solutions. A portion of any funds we raise is also re-invested to ensure long-term stability and steady growth of our organisation. And finally, we spend a portion of the money raised on governance and administration to help ensure our organisation is run efficiently and effectively, with optimum oversight.

Annual reports
Does Greenpeace accept money from governments or corporations?

No. We don’t seek or accept funding from corporations, governments, political parties, or multi-national governmental bodies, such as the United Nations or the European Union.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific prides itself on independence and integrity, so we never ask for or accept donations that could compromise these values.

Do you accept any money from non-Australian organisations?

Yes. Greenpeace receives grants from Greenpeace International to help us in our campaigns. We also receive a small amount of grant income from other off-shore philanthropic organisations.

How does Greenpeace Australia Pacific spend its money?

While it fluctuates a little year to year, we usually spend over half our income (55%) annually on campaigning and about a third (35%) re-investing in fundraising, including building our relationships with supporters and finding new ones. 

This is because we rely overwhelmingly on members of the public for support and don’t accept government and corporate funding. About 10 percent of our income is spent on governance and administration costs. You can find our annual reports and financial statements here.

Can I choose a specific campaign to be funded?

All gifts received are banked into the Greenpeace Trust Fund. Donors are encouraged to make unrestricted gifts but occasionally we will fundraise for a specific project. In these instances, we match the gifts raised against the project expenditure, but it does require additional administration to do this. For this reason, we generally seek out gifts that are “unrestricted” and can be applied to all the activities Greenpeace undertakes in the furtherance of its charitable purpose.

Besides general campaigns and operating expenses, this means Greenpeace can spend money where there is the most pressing need – for example, to respond to an urgent environmental crisis.

Does any of your income get sent to other Greenpeace organisations?

Yes. Greenpeace Australia Pacific makes contributions to Greenpeace International as part of our commitment to fund global campaigns (such as saving the Amazon and preventing oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic), to maintain our ships, and to help offices with limited fundraising programs and other opportunities.

Why does Greenpeace put so much emphasis on having regular donors?

We strongly value our regular donors because their regular gifts give us the financial security to make long-term commitments to our campaigns, and enable us to plan ahead while responding quickly and remaining independent. Regular donations also minimise our administration costs.

Our regular donors are often pleasantly surprised to realise the impact they have made, as their regular donation accumulates over time into an amount that truly has the power to solve the complex and difficult problems the planet faces.

More about regular giving
Why does Greenpeace use face-to-face street fundraising techniques?

Face-to-face fundraising provides Greenpeace with absolutely vital funding. Without the generous donations made by Australians this way, we couldn’t deliver our campaigns to protect this country’s nature and the entire planet.

Street and door fundraising has been used effectively in Australia since the late 1990s, and every year donors give hundreds of millions of dollars to Australian charities after being inspired by a face-to-face fundraiser.

If you’ve had either a pleasant or an unpleasant experience with a Greenpeace fundraising representative, please call our Supporter Engagement Team on 1800 815 151.

Contact us
Will I hear from you after I make a donation?

Since so much of our funding comes from individual donations, we prioritise keeping supporters up to date on our activities with phone calls and emails.

In doing this, we are guided by the principles outlined in the INGO Accountability Charter, where we respect the rights of donors:

• to be informed about causes for which we are fundraising;

• to be informed about how their donation is being used;

• for their personal information to be held confidentially; to be informed of the status and authority of fundraisers;

• and to anonymity except in cases where the size of their donation is such that it might be relevant to our independence.

Why do you keep calling me?

Keeping in touch with our supporters ensures that we hear your views and you are kept up to date with the impact you are having with your donations. But we know that our supporters are busy, so we promise that:

• we will always make an effort to contact you to update you on how your donations are helping to save the planet;

• we will always take action if others acting on our behalf fail to meet our high standards in terms of respectful communication;

• we will never phone you unless you have expressed an interest in our work;

• we will always check first that you’re happy to speak to us when we phone;

If you tell us you don’t want to hear from us again, or want to hear from us less, we will respect that and update our internal contact list.

Why do I get so many emails asking me to donate when I already support Greenpeace?

Greenpeace exists because of the donations from generous people like yourself. In order to continue our campaigning work, we do try and raise more funds from time to time. Every little bit helps, from maintaining our ships, to training volunteers, painting banners, researching reports and making phone calls to politicians.

You can, of course, unsubscribe from receiving emails, or specific types of emails, at any point – just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of an email you received to unsubscribe from all emails – or call the Supporter Relationships team to be unsubscribed from specific types of emails. You can contact them on 1800 815 151.

Contact us

Our Campaigns

Climate and Energy

We are in a climate emergency. Fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas are heating up the planet, causing sea levels to rise and making bushfires, floods and cyclones more frequent and extreme. The science is clear: we must get off fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy.

What is the connection between Climate Change and Extreme Weather events?

Basic physics and sophisticated modelling predict that a warmer atmosphere and more importantly a warmer ocean are likely to create more extreme weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes, drought, heatwaves and floods. As the planet heats, weather patterns are destabilised. Warm air sucks more water from the ground and holds more water contributing to droughts in some areas and torrential rain in others. Climate change has shifted the odds and changed the natural limits, making extreme weather events more frequent and more intense.

But Australia couldn’t live without the coal mining industry, it has to be protected as well.

The coal mining industry regularly exaggerates its contribution to the Australian economy. Here are the facts:

• Coal mining employs only around 0.5% of the Australian workforce.

• Its contribution in the form of royalties is similarly modest. For example, coal mining royalties in NSW made up just 2% of government revenue. The NSW government earns around the same from coal royalties as it does from fines and licences.

• The coal industry pays a low rate of tax: around 12% compared to the average rate of 17% for other Australian industries.

The coal industry claims that it creates many more ‘indirect jobs’. But the ‘jobs multipliers’ used to justify this claim have been recognised as misleading by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which no longer uses them for precisely this reason. The coal industry also benefits from a range of direct and indirect subsidies and creates hidden costs through coal pollution’s impact on health and the environment.

The world is already moving away from coal and towards sustainable jobs in renewable energy. If we want a prosperous future, we need to move away from the polluting coal technology of the 19th century and make sure that we secure a just transition so that the workers in the coal industry are not left behind, and indigenous rights are protected.

What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement is the first truly global attempt to fight climate change. With it, the world has come together to say: climate change must be urgently tackled, its victims must be protected and we are going to do it together. The Paris Agreement aims to prevent giant ice sheets from melting, islands from drowning and forests and oceans from dying by cutting and eventually eliminating those man-made emissions that are causing our climate to warm. It puts in place a new temperature limit of well below 2°C, pursuing 1.5°C. Furthermore, it aims to provide protection and resilience for those who are already threatened by climate change or will be in the future.

More about Australia’s response to the Paris Agreement
So does that mean we are safe from Climate Change now?

No, not yet. But we can be, if we now take the Paris Agreement’s goals seriously and speed up the clean energy transition. The problem is that what countries have so far announced they’ll do individually, as their national contributions to the agreement, does not yet add up to what’s needed – not even close. So now countries must urgently consider ways to increase and speed up their emission cuts and set them on a clear path away from fossil fuel dependency to 100% renewable energy.

What’s also still missing is funding – from those who’ve polluted the most to those who will be and are suffering from it the most. That’s why we are calling on Minister Wong to make a strong submission on behalf of Australia to the International Court of Justice to establish the legal obligations of nations in addressing climate change.

What is this 1.5°C about?

1.5 degrees Celsius maximum warming (for global surface temperatures compared to pre-industrial levels) is now the ambition level that every climate action will be judged by. It is a very ambitious goal that practically tells us to quit fossil fuels as soon as humanly possible, and to protect and improve our natural carbon sinks like forests and peatlands. Previously, in Cancun in 2010, countries had agreed on a less ambitious warming limit of 2°C.
This new, stronger temperature goal was forced on the table by the Climate Vulnerable Forum and many other least-developed countries who fear that 2°C warming would already threaten their survival. Their concerns were confirmed by an expert review that compared the differences between a 1.5°C and 2°C goal. Eventually, to the surprise of many if not most, the goal was endorsed by so many developed countries in Paris that the goal made it into the Agreement.

Supporting the goal is one thing, delivering it is another. Currently, there’s a great mismatch between the two. The European Commission, for one, has had trouble admitting that the new global goal requires the EU to reassess its policies and plans accordingly, for faster emission cuts and a substantial acceleration of the transition to 100% renewable energy.

Isn’t it completely unrealistic to assume the world can phase out fossil fuels in just 35 years?

Not at all. We have the technology and money to get there in time. We just need to have the courage to change. That is the hardest part, as those who have their money and power invested in the continued burning of oil, coal and gas will not let go easily. But they will have to, much sooner than they ‘ve anticipated.

The global coal industry – the biggest single source of emissions – is already facing the cold truth. Their prospects have changed dramatically in just a few years – thanks to an incredible turnaround in China ‘s coal consumption boom, coupled with a rapid coal consumption decline in the US, and a global boom of clean, renewable energy. With the Paris Agreement, it will only get worse for coal. The future is renewable.

What is the Carmichael Coal Mine? What is at stake?

At least two things make the Carmichael mine a red line for the climate:

• The mine is to be the largest black coal mine in Australia, and burning its coal would result in annual greenhouse emissions of 120 Mtpa CO2 equivalent to almost ⅓ of Australia ‘s total annual CO2 emissions (28%).
• The Galilee Basin is the largest untapped coal deposit on earth currently being proposed for development. It has remained untapped due to its isolation and lack of enabling infrastructure. If a first mine is built – bringing rail, power, water and other infrastructure – it potentially unlocks numerous other mines across the basin. There remain proposals for several mega mines in the Galilee Basin with a potential total annual production capacity of over 300 Mtpa.

Safeguarding our oceans

Oceans sustain life on our blue planet – but they’re under threat from climate change, industrial fishing, plastic pollution, and the looming threat of deep sea mining. Ocean protection can’t wait any longer.

What is Greenpeace doing to save the Great Barrier Reef?

We ‘ve been documenting the recent impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef corals – and it ‘s devastating. We released footage showing the extent and severity of the ongoing bleaching event. With this, we want to raise awareness of what is happening to this vital and fragile living organism. It should be a wake-up call for everyone, especially our governments, to finally put the brakes on fossil fuel industry development.

In Australia, we are campaigning for a ban on new coal projects as a first step towards a fossil fuel phase-out. The science is clear: we cannot limit global warming below 1.5°c if we continue to open new fossil fuel projects. Globally, Greenpeace is campaigning to stop all new fossil fuel projects and phase out the existing projects while transitioning to a renewable energy future

This is the only option to save coral reefs globally, like the Great Barrier Reef.

More about protecting the Great Barrier Reef
What’s been happening to the Great Barrier Reef? What is coral bleaching?

The Great Barrier Reef is in a state of emergency. In 2016, the Great Barrier Reef experienced the worst mass coral bleaching event on record in the Northern third of the reef with more than 60% of corals experiencing some level of bleaching and an overall coral mortality across the whole reef of 22%. The central third of the reef experienced a subsequent bleaching event in 2017. Only a few years later, the second most severe mass coral bleaching event occurred across a widespread area in 2020. Concerningly, another mass coral bleaching event took place in 2022 during a La Niña summer. 

Yet despite insufficient protection from climate change and increasingly frequent mass bleaching events, UNESCO ‘s recent draft decision did not declare this World Heritage site as “in danger”.  

Coral bleaching occurs when ocean temperature rises and causes stress to the corals. They then expel the zooxanthellae algae that live within their skeleton, giving them their vibrant colour and with whom they share a symbiotic relationship. Without the zooxanthellae, the corals not only lose their colour and show their bleach-white skeleton, but they also lose their source of food. If warmer temperatures persist, the corals starve and die.

More about protecting the Great Barrier Reef
Is a bleached coral a dead coral?

No, bleached corals are not dead – yet. Corals can survive bleaching events if temperatures do not remain high for extended periods of time allowing the corals to recover. However, this stress is likely to cause decreased coral growth and reproduction, and increased susceptibility to disease. Coral reefs can take decades to recover from a bleaching event.

Protecting our Forests

Our world is in crisis. Our forests are disappearing and natural habitats are being destroyed. Deforestation for farming and native forest logging leaves wildlife homeless, impacts ecosystems and emits carbon alongside the most polluting industries.

Everything you need to know about the burning issue of deforestation in Australia.

What is Greenpeace asking corporations to do on deforestation?

Greenpeace is asking corporations operating in Australia to commit to no deforestation or destruction of other natural ecosystems in the key products they produce or sell by the end of 2025 at the latest.
In particular we are asking corporations to prioritise ensuring the beef they produce or buy does not come from cattle operations where forests and natural ecosystems have been recently destroyed (since 2020). This is because beef is the number one driver of deforestation in Australia so tackling this issue quickly will have a big positive impact for our forests.

Well-known corporations such as McDonalds, Woolworths and Coles have a big role to play here so we are asking them to step up and help protect our forests and wildlife by refusing beef produced from deforestation.

How does Greenpeace define deforestation in Australia?

Deforestation is the destruction of natural forest, including both never-before bulldozed forest and healthy regenerating or fully regenerated forest.

Greenpeace uses the definition of deforestation set out by a globally-recognised ethical supply chain organisation called the Accountability Framework Initiative. Major global sustainability and climate initiatives such as the Science-Based Targets Initiative also use this same framework.

Importantly, our asks of the Australian government and corporations is to halt both deforestation and the destruction of other non-forest natural ecosystems. The technical term used by the Accountability Framework Initiative to cover destruction of all ecosystem types is “conversion”. So really what we are asking for is for no more conversion of natural ecosystems, including no more deforestation of forests. It’s just that deforestation is far more understood by the public so we use this term to communicate the problem!

What are the major drivers of deforestation in Australia?

Cattle grazing for beef production is the leading cause of deforestation in Australia as forests and bushland are bulldozed to make way for vast cow paddocks. Around 70% of deforestation in Queensland – the hotspot in Australia – is for beef.

Sheep grazing is another driver, followed by logging to make paper and wood products. Mining, infrastructure and housing development are other drivers. While the local impacts of these developments can be severe, deforestation for beef dwarves all others in terms of the area of forest destroyed annually.

Why is protecting regenerated forest so important?

Much of the deforestation occurring in Australia is of regenerating or fully regenerated forest. While a never-before bulldozed forest will always be the best of the best, these recovering forests also have important values. They are slowly bringing back wildlife, stablising soils, and drawing down carbon out of the atmosphere. Allowing the bulldozers to destroy this regeneration kills the animals that have returned and sets back the clock for a long recovery once again.

It must be stressed that many types of forests are unable to recover at all following destruction by bulldozers and replacement with agricultural or other land uses. Where forests are sometimes able to regenerate, such as some Acacia species forests in Queensland, this is no excuse to start or continue bulldozing as the cumulative impacts on wildlife and the land are immense. Restoring any forest to a pre-bulldozed state is also very difficult and can take many decades, sometimes hundreds of years.

Is it actually possible right now for corporations to transition to deforestation-free beef?

Yes, it is possible! We know cattle can be raised in Australia without bulldozing forests and in fact, the majority of beef produced in Australia is already deforestation-free.

But a minority of landholders, mostly in Queensland and New South Wales, are conducting large-scale deforestation for beef production — the majority without any oversight due to legal blindspots in our nature laws which allow areas considered threatened species habitat to be bulldozed. 

At the moment, corporations like McDonald’s, Woolworths and Coles do not have adequate systems in place to rule out deforestation from their supply chains, meaning they are effectively hiding the deforestation in their products from consumers. This is not good enough and consumers deserve better. 

Over the past decade there has been a wave of global commitments, both from corporations and governments, to eliminate deforestation. Given the growing demand for deforestation-free beef globally, and the deforestation risk associated with sourcing beef in Australia (and especially Queensland), major purchasers must lead the way with strong deforestation-free commitments and robust implementation plans, to ensure that customers in Australia and overseas can be confident they’re not supporting the destruction of our precious wildlife and forests.

What role do farmers play in this issue?

Our Aussie farmers need to be fully supported to look after the land and protect and restore forests. This includes through government funds such as Queensland’s $500 million Land Restoration Fund and by the big corporations like McDonald’s, Woolworths and Coles who can use their vast profits to work with and support farmers to the right thing and pay a fair price for sustainable products.

Really it’s the large corporations like McDonald’s, Coles and Woolworths that need to act. They purchase the majority of beef domestically and make millions of dollars in profits and they need to take action to guarantee their products are not contributing to the destruction of Australian forests and wildlife.

Currently this is hidden from consumers, who are unaware that the beef on supermarket shelves or in their Big Mac could be contributing to the deaths of millions of native animals every year. It is imperative that solutions to this crisis are supported by companies linked to, or within, the Australian beef industry who can drive change.

Will consuming less meat or becoming vegan help stop deforestation?

Australia is one of the biggest consumers of meat per capita in the world and we know that consuming less meat is vital for the planet. But this is not just about people’s individual choices — given that beef production is a major driver of deforestation in Australia, it is imperative that solutions to this crisis are supported by corporations linked to, or within, the Australian beef industry. While meat alternatives and meat-free diets can help, we can’t rely on this alone to solve the deforestation problem. We need to force big corporations to take action.

Major purchasers of Australian beef like McDonald’s, Woolworths and Coles have a critical role to play in ensuring that their supply chains are not driving the destruction of our forests and threatening our wildlife. Right now, corporations like McDonald’s are hiding this from their customers, most of whom would be shocked to know that their Big Mac is fuelling the deforestation crisis and pushing threatened species like the koala to the brink of extinction. That’s why we’re calling on McDonald’s, as well as major beef purchasers like Coles and Woolies, to lead the way and commit to eliminating deforestation from their products.

What is Greenpeace asking the Federal Government to do on deforestation?

This year the Australian government will face a huge test — a once-in-a-generation reform of our national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Without strong laws that genuinely protect and restore nature, the destruction of wildlife and forests will continue and countless more native animals will face extinction.

Stronger legislation to safeguard our environment is a win for everyone — so Greenpeace is urging the government to introduce the ambitious reforms needed to protect nature and to ensure a safe, liveable climate for all Australians.

The reforms must address Australia’s rampant deforestation, particularly from the beef and logging industries. This will be a key test and Greenpeace and our supporters will be pushing hard to make sure this happens.

What are the risks of causing further deforestation when building renewable energy projects?

The renewable energy transition presents enormous opportunities for Australia to reduce our emissions, create the clean jobs of the future and replace fossil fuels in our economy. We must avoid the destructive practices seen with the fossil fuel industry and ensure that these projects are designed in a way that benefits local communities, are developed in partnership with Traditional Owners, and undergo the strictest environmental assessments, including ensuring no destruction of important forests. When done correctly, these project can actually provide a net positive benefit to nature — and that’s what we should be striving for.

Is native forest logging sustainable?

The primary driver for Australia’s globally-significant deforestation rates, focussed heavily in Queensland, is bulldozing to make way for pasture for beef cattle. Native forest logging is another key driver, particularly in New South Wales and Tasmania. Half of Australia’s forests have been lost and the continued logging of our native forests endangers species like the Koala, Greater Glider and other threatened species. 

Professor David Lindenmayer, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University said: “All scientific economic and social data show that native forest logging is environmentally, economically and socially bankrupt. We have to make a rapid transition to a plantation-only industry.”

Why am I seeing different dates in Greenpeace’s call for an end to deforestation?

Greenpeace, along with other Australian eNGOs are calling on companies involved in the Australian beef industry to: Eliminate the conversion of all natural ecosystems, including no deforestation, by 31 December 2025, for all beef value chains the company sources from directly or indirectly, with a cut-off date of 31 December 2020.

The cutoff date (2020) is the last point at which there can be any natural destruction in an area for it to be considered deforestation-free into the future.
This commitment is based on guidance from the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi). In line with their guidance, 2020 is the cutoff date meaning the destruction of natural forest or natural ecosystems after the cutoff date renders the affected area, and the commodity produced there, non-compliant with no-deforestation or no-conversion commitments.

The target date (2025) is when companies must have achieved the deforestation-free commitments set out in their policies.
This is the date by which a company (or policy setting entity) intends to have fully achieved or adhered to its commitment of fully removing deforestation from its supply chain.

Plastic Free Future

Single-use plastic is harmful to human health, perpetuates social injustice, destroys our biodiversity and fuels the climate crisis. We demand that governments commit to a strong Global Plastics Treaty that will stop runaway plastic production and use and ultimately end the age of plastic.

What’s the problem with plastic bags?

Scientists estimate that around 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year. 30% of the world’s turtles and 90% of seabirds have ingested plastic debris. By 2050, 99% of the world’s seabird species will be accidentally eating plastic (CSIRO). Australians use around 4 billion plastic bags every year – that’s a whopping 10 million or so each day. Clean Up Australia estimates that around 50 million of these end up as litter and make their way into our waterways and oceans.

What will I put my rubbish in if the government bans plastic bags?

The plastic bag bans in other states and territories did not ban bin liners. The main cause of the plastic bag problem is the supermarkets showering us with free single-use plastic bags and together we can end this destructive practice. We would absolutely suggest that people use compostable alternatives to plastic bin liners, like potato or corn starch bags, or more creative alternatives like old newspapers to line their bins – or just don ‘t use liners and take your bin out more frequently! Or, even better still, reduce your landfill waste by composting food scraps and recyclables.

Aren’t green bags more resource-intensive and damaging than plastic bags?

Research has consistently shown that on almost every measure, green bags have a much lower environmental impact than single-use plastic bags. This is because the increase in green bags is far outweighed by the reduction in plastic bag use. Green bags can also be recycled after two years.

How can I help reduce plastic pollution?

Check out this blog post to find out how every person can help contribute to the end of single-use plastics and don’t forget to sign the petition to demand a strong Global Plastics Treaty to solve the plastics crisis.

Pacific Climate Justice

The Pacific Islands are experiencing the intensifying impacts of climate change like cyclones, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and extreme temperatures – despite contributing less than 0.03% to global emissions. This is climate injustice.

Save the Bight

What is the Great Australian Bight? Why do you care what happens there?

Around 85% of wildlife in the Great Australian Bight [off the southern coast of Australia] exists nowhere else in the world. You could say it’s one of Australia’s best-kept secrets – it’s like our own version of the Galapagos islands. The Bight is one of the world’s most important whale nurseries, especially for the Southern Right whale – the same whales seen from the cliffs around the Australian coast. And it’s home to Australia’s very own unique species of sea lion.

The local indigenous people, the Mirning, know this better than anyone. They ‘ve lived alongside the diverse life of the Bight for tens of thousands of years. There are many other people in the Bight who rely on the sea too, for example, thousands of people who work in the fishing, oyster and tourism industries. That’s all under threat from the Oil industry – the threat of an oil spill, and the impact of Climate Change. 

If we are to meet the internationally accepted targets set by the Paris Agreement, we cannot even afford to burn all of the fossil fuel deposits – oil, gas and coal – that we ‘ve already discovered. We have to keep it in the ground and move on to renewable energy as soon as possible.

What is the connection of the campaign to Save the Bight to your Arctic campaign and court case in Norway?

Corporations have been extracting and burning easy-to-find oil for decades. But now their greed is taking them to previously unexplored areas, from the Arctic to the Southern Ocean. And even as companies like Shell pull back from the Arctic, others like BP, Statoil, Chevron, Karoon Gas and more, are trying to open new oilfields elsewhere – such as off the Australian coast. 

Though opposition to oil exploration is strengthening, it just goes to show that big business is as greedy as ever.

Farming and Agriculture

Why aren’t you working on the issue of animal agriculture and its contribution to Climate Change?

Greenpeace has been campaigning for years to highlight the role that cattle farming and soy production (used mainly for animal feed) play in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. This has often been at great personal risk to our activists. Animal agriculture has an enormous ecological footprint. The greenhouse gas emissions of the meat industry are greater than every plane, train, car, lorry and boat – put together.

Overall, livestock agriculture (including all cows, pigs, sheep etc.) is responsible for about 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions – well below the burning of fossil fuels at 65%, but still of vital importance. Cattle ranching has been the biggest cause of deforestation in the Amazon, such that a few years ago nearly 80% of deforested areas in Brazil were used for pasture – although action by groups like Greenpeace has been bringing it down. 

But given that the burning of fossil fuels is the single largest contributor to runaway climate change, the majority of our resources and our focus needs to be on campaigning to bring about the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Why don’t you call for everyone to be vegan?

The short answer is that we do promote veganism and vegetarianism as a way to help. But we’ve never solely advocated boycotts or veganism. Voting with your money (not buying meat/fish) is great, but it gives the most power to those with the most money. 

The ability to create change needs to be accessible to all and work in a global context that incorporates cultural, class and accessibility issues. Advocating a one-size-fits-all solution of  ‘go vegan to save the planet’ simply isn’t an appropriate, meaningful or impactful solution to someone who relies on subsistence farming or fishing for survival. The world needs to make big changes across a variety of sectors to solve climate change.

By abstaining from animal products, individuals reduce their carbon footprint, water usage and land degradation associated with animal agriculture. In fact, for many individuals veganism is the single biggest way they can reduce their over all environmental footprint. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that veganism is not accessible for everyone due to various factors such as geographical location, cultural traditions, and socioeconomic status. We encourage people to take the biggest steps they can while taking on the corporations and governments that drive the biggest causes of climate change.

Consumer Guides

Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigns on many consumer issues locally and around the world. We have created a series of guides to help people decide on purchases that align with their individual values.

Which canned tuna should I buy?

For 2 years we campaigned to have Australia’s biggest tuna supplier, John West, commit to 100% FAD-free and pole and line tuna. Since then, every other brand and retailer in our ranking made a similar commitment. Now there are more tuna caught using responsible, lower-impact fishing methods on our supermarket shelves than tuna caught using destructive FADs. 

Check out the Canned Tuna Guide as there are still some brands that are a better choice than others.

More about sustainable fishing
Which electrical company do you recommend?

Our Green Electricity guide has been specially developed to help you work out which electricity companies are the most planet-friendly. The electricity sector is the largest source of domestic greenhouse emissions in Australia. 85% of our power still comes from coal and gas. The rest comes from renewables, mostly hydro and wind but also from an increasing amount of rooftop solar.

By choosing a retailer that invests its money in renewables rather than fossil fuels, you can help clean up our energy sector by reducing your carbon pollution.

View the Green Electricity Guide


Where can I find tips on how to lead a greener life/how to make a difference?

While Greenpeace is committed to holding big, dirty polluters and corporations accountable because the blame cannot be solely placed on individuals, it’s fantastic to hear that you want to make ethical choices for the planet and minimise your own impact. We as individuals have so much power with the everyday choices we make as consumers. 

You can check out our blog posts on suggestions about how to live a greener life and also check out our consumer guides to see how you can make small changes as a consumer to promote corporations leading in environmental friendliness in their industries.

I’m a student writing a report about an environmental problem. Can you send me information?

We get many requests at Greenpeace for help with general school reports about pollution and other environmental issues. We wish we could help each of you individually, but we try to keep focused on the tasks that people donate to Greenpeace for: to win campaigns for the environment

Don ‘t forget that you can search through all the information on the Greenpeace website.

There’s an environmental polluter in my town: What can I do about it?

In all but a few exceptional cases, Greenpeace works on a global scale and does not address individual pollution sites one by one. Greenpeace has limited resources and so chooses to focus on major threats to ecosystems and species — we simply don ‘t have the ability to address destruction at all levels. For local issues, we have to count on people like you who care and are willing to fight for what you believe.

You can visit this webpage for advice on creating your own campaign.
You can also start your own online petition.

Good luck: there’s no time to waste.

I’ve just seen a stranded whale. What can I do?

Whale strandings often end sadly because of well-intentioned but uninformed help. A whale on dry land’s biggest danger is overheating: keep them cool and wet but don ‘t obstruct their breathing through their blowhole.

The Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) is a volunteer-run organisation that is the most experienced and successful whale rescue organisation in Australia, and is also involved with the protection and welfare of seals, sea lions, dolphins and dugongs. ORRCA is the only wildlife carers group in NSW licensed to be involved with marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation and release. Please get in touch with ORRCA to find out more. 

Greenpeace does not run a stranded whale rescue program – we apply our limited resources to stopping the greatest threat to all whales: Climate Change.

Read more about protecting whales
I’ve just witnessed a horrible mistreatment of an animal. What can I do?

Greenpeace doesn ‘t address animal rights issues at a local level. We campaign for habitat protection and to stop the greatest threats to the natural world. You can contact one of the largest animal rights organisations in the world, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Alternatively, you can report animal cruelty to the RSPCA who will investigate on a case by case basis.