Greenpeace staffer loses $5.5 million currency trading

June 25th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The ABC reported:

has fired an employee who lost the environmental charity $5.47 million in a failed gamble on international currency markets.

Greenpeace communications director Mike Townsley said the unnamed employee “went above his authority” in agreeing the deal with a broker who was meant to mitigate currency losses for the charity.

So Greenpeace does play the currency markets – this staffer just went too far.

So $5.5 million of donations flushed down the drain.

Greenpeace, known for its militant anti-drilling campaigns at oil rigs in the Arctic, has a total annual budget of about $432 million.

They are a very large multi-national. That’s a bigger turnover than many of the companies they target

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21 Responses to “Greenpeace staffer loses $5.5 million currency trading”

  1. Rich Prick (1,750 comments) says:

    Oh dear. I thought the left regarded currency traders as pure evil. Nice though to see they also dabble in the art. Lets remember that when they next malign John Key for his pervious employment.

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  2. NK (1,259 comments) says:

    Will Labour plant an IRD official in the NZ office of Greenpeace to ensure they are paying their “fair” share of tax on *revenue*? (see story here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11280992).

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  3. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    They should get some advice on currency trading from an expert. There’s even one in Parliament they can ask – or maybe National will be kind enough to provide a suitable supplementary question?

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  4. Nigel Kearney (1,099 comments) says:

    This is a bit of a beatup. Not trading is also a gamble that can lead to big losses if wrong.

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  5. tvb (4,560 comments) says:

    Uncle Vladimir Putin will top them up as they oppose fracking and much else that would make the West independant of Russian energy.

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  6. peterwn (3,337 comments) says:

    Now, how many little old ladies (who probably cannot afford it) will Greenpeace’s ‘chuggers’ have to sign up to cover this trading loss.

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  7. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    I’ve long held the view that as environmental NGOs got larger, they end up as ‘marketing organisations’ rather than environmental. Their objectives become vaguer and harder to assess, and they seek ‘popular’ causes. Raising revenue becomes their raison d’ĂȘtre. Their turnover does not surprise me.

    Having been in China at the demise of the baiji river dolphin, it was noticeable that say, Budweiser in China was throwing money at its recovery, but outfits like Greenpeace were not. I guess they didn’t figure saving this dolphin suited their portfolio of projects. How far they have come from their roots.

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  8. Ross12 (1,487 comments) says:

    One for the conspiracy people or just a good laugh.

    I read the other day that maybe this loss was a cover for the fee they paid Putin to get their boat back off Russia!!

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  9. Rich Prick (1,750 comments) says:

    It would be kind of funny if they lost it betting against the Yen.

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  10. Maggy Wassilieff (490 comments) says:

    @Ross12…. I also read that Putin has planted spies aamongst them
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/russian-spies-accused-of-secret-plot-with-ecowarriors-against-fracking/story-fnb64oi6-1226960871305#mm-premium

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  11. Surely Knott (17 comments) says:

    Agree Chtnoniid. The majority of many environmental charities funds are being used for politicking, pamphleteering and proselytizing and backhanders to Green political mates.

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  12. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    I placed the following link to the “Recreational Fishers” thread because I think everybody concerned about environmental activism should be aware of this particular piece of history: the famous River on Fire, from the USA in 1969.

    It turns out to be myth, starting with the fact that the famous photograph of the river fire in Time magazine was actually a photo taken in 1952. I’ve been seeing that image since I was a little kid and I never knew that. Love the internet.

    But the key passages in the article are these:

    The 1969 fire was not the first time an industrial river in the United States had caught on fire, but the last. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, river fires were common. There were at least 13 on the Cuyahoga alone, but rivers in Baltimore, Detroit, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and elsewhere had fires as well.

    Fires were costly and dangerous, so action was taken long before the federal government got involved.

    Progress was slow, but for those pollutants of greatest concern at the time, progress was being made well before the 1972 CWA was enacted, let alone before it was implemented and enforced.

    Typical. In the midst of the screaming days of flower power and the first Earth Day none of this history of cleanup was mentioned, let alone any acknowledgement or respect for what the locals can do with common sense when they’re given the chance by central government.

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  13. Akaroa (613 comments) says:

    Greenpeace!

    A bye-word for shady, doubtfully principled, and borderline illegal activity since the original conscience-motivated senior membership/governance of the old Greenpeace were ousted and replaced by left-leaning, self-regarded political activists of a certain hue.

    Memo to self: Must stop telling the truth about Greenpeace in this medium – surely everybody by now knows what a crowd of ….(comment removed in the interests of positive, non-inflamatory debate)…..they are!

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  14. Tarquin North (402 comments) says:

    For that kind of money you could build a dolphin hotel off the Taranaki coast with say, fifty five rooms.

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  15. alloytoo (582 comments) says:

    More than passing resemblance to the Mega church with vague ideological offerings and hands in every pocket.

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  16. peterwn (3,337 comments) says:

    Nigel – the problem is – the Greenpeace employee overstepped the mark. Agreed that anyone with exposure to international currency fluctuations should consider appropriate action eg hedging. But you need to decide what risks you are covering for and what your objectives are. A former boss of mine wanted to hedge a foreign supply contract to avoid the possibility of a budget blowout. However he thought that the NZ dollar was going to fall and asked the CFO to hedge for a higher amount than the contract price. The CFO pointed out to him that he had crossed the line from hedging to speculating – which is no doubt what the Greenpeace employee did.

    With Greenpeace the issue is one of appropriate objectives and policies. In the absence of a foreign currency speculation policy, Greenpeace employees should not be indulging in this activity, even though they might make money for Greenpeace.

    In any case, playing foreign currency markets without defining objectives, policies and plans amount to gambling – which is why my blood boils when I see ads encouraging people to trade foreign currencies.

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  17. Harriet (5,201 comments) says:

    Just wait till they start trading with NZ inc carbon credits circa 2017 – care of National!

    Tony Abbott’s Conservative Coalition will warn of the dangers at the G20 in Brisbane no doubt! :cool:

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  18. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    $5.47 million aussie… that sucks! :-)

    I guess currency trading is just different when eco warriors do it?

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  19. Manolo (14,179 comments) says:

    The joys of the free market.
    It is a delight to see the multinational eco-terrorists losing millions of dollars.

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  20. wreck1080 (4,001 comments) says:

    How can they fire this guy?

    Surely they are obliged to send him on a training course so that he becomes a better trader ?

    And, a refresher course on company policy.

    If I were the employee I’d be taking them to court.

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  21. OneTrack (3,374 comments) says:

    “How can they fire this guy?” – They must be evil neolibs, in disguise.

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