Greenpeace cuts back in Denmark

Group to merge its Danish, Nordic, offices following fall in membership after Brent Spar

Greenpeace Denmark is to move most of its operations to Stockholm following a big fall in membership, the group has announced. Down from 48,000 members in the late 1980s to 14,000 now, the Danish group pins part of the blame on an adverse public reaction to its role in the Brent Spar controversy in 1996. Greenpeace then forced a humiliating climb-down on oil firm Shell, which abandoned its UK-government backed plan to dump a giant oil storage buoy in the deep Atlantic under intense pressure from the group. Though widely seen as having cemented Greenpeace's international reputation as a formidable political adversary of large companies and governments alike, the saga hurt it in Denmark after it had to revise downwards its first estimates of the level of toxic chemicals contained in the buoy. The group also admits that campaigns it has waged against seal hunting and industrial fishing had turned off the Danish public. More generally, it suggests that its experience reflects a wider fall-off in membership of Danish environmental NGOs "as politicians and companies take up the rhetoric, at least, of many issues". Greenpeace's announcement follows a similar move by its Norwegian and Finnish offices to Stockholm last year. "We hope for more systematic cooperation within the Nordic region, and will pressure the other governments to match the most progressive examples of legislation in any of our four countries," a spokesperson for Greenpeace Denmark told ENDS Daily.

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