Whatever you think of the people at Greenpeace, you’ve got to admit they are environmentalists with a sense of humor. Recently, Greenpeace published a scorecard that ranks supermarket chains on the sustainability of their seafood. It’s a serious analysis, intended to guide shoppers to those stores that recognize their responsibility to protect the oceans, and to pressure those stores that don’t. In the argot of activists, this is known as a “name ‘em and shame ‘em” strategy.
Then Greenpeace went a step further. It ridiculed Trader Joe’s, the national supermarket chain with the lowest ranking, by creating a website called Traitor Joe’s (“Your one-stop shop for ocean destruction”), producing an amusing video (below and at www.traitorjoe.com) and sending protesters dressed as Orange Roughy to a Trader Joe’s outlet in San Francisco, calling on the company to clean up its act.
While these tactics might not be well suited for, say, the World Resources Institute, the diversity of the environmental movement is a wonderful thing. Activists at groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network or Friends of the Earth function, in essence, as the business development arms of the more collaborative, mainstream groups like the Environmental Defense Fund or Conservation International. Companies under attack from Greenpeace or RAN often ask EDF or CI to help them dig out of trouble.