Open business: Online Activism interview with Greenpeace Social Media Team

The Rainbow Warrior © Oliver Tjaden / Greenpeace

The Rainbow Warrior
© Oliver Tjaden / Greenpeace

Online Activism interview with Greenpeace Social Media Team

The organisations that will succeed will use their available resources to discover people who care about the same things they do and bring them together to achieve shared goals. Charities demonstrate the model. The cause-related enterprise, the belief-driven business – an organisational model which places the customer at the heart rather than at the end of the line. Belief delivers life-long and inter-generational affinity, passionate activism harnessed for common goals. Open Business Council interviews Laura Kenyon from Greenpeace and goes through these topics.

Interviewed with Greenpeace’s Laura Kenyon

Laura Kenyonis the Digital Communications Specialist at Greenpeace, whose use of social media has caused some of the largest companies to reverse their policies whilst knocking size-able figures off their share-value. If you haven’t seen any of their work check it out. I’ve listed some in the ppt above. What you think the consequences of social media are to corporations today?
Greenpeace’s Laura Kenyon: Just as corporates are establishing large social media presences, activists are also establishing online spaces to hold them to account. Social media empowers people and amplifies their voices – this can take the form of demanding change from corporations whose business practices or policies are environmentally destructive. Corporations need to be accountable to society and their customers, and therefore they need to listen, respond and engage with people’s desire for a green and peaceful future – both online and offline. How do you see your role and that of Greenpeace in this context? 
Greenpeace’s Laura Kenyon: Greenpeace aims to be an agent of change, we want to enable people to demand a better world and social media helps us do that. Millions of people have been able to participate in our campaigns online, and the personal actions of a motivated online supporter base were vital to successes such as Nestle’s commitment to changing its palm oil sourcing policies, or Apple’s agreement to remove toxic substances from its products. What conclusions do you make for the future?
Greenpeace’s Laura Kenyon: Greenpeace will maintain a strong presence in social media – using the latest tools and communication channels where it is effective to challenge those who are involved in environmental destruction. We hope to empower more people to have civil courage and to amplify their voices when they speak out against injustice or for a better world. We are facing huge challenges in the environmental movement and will need every person and every tool available to us to keep moving forwards. Social media will no doubt continue to have an important role to play.

Many companies will and should be worried by this language. It may cause them to shift more spend into social media to combat it. But there is no company with enough money to beat the voice of the Internet just like there is no Government powerful enough.

So this is the new reality large companies are facing. But its clear the opportunities far outweigh the challenges. This is no longer about spending your way to a better reputation. It’s about building a better company – with your customers.