The unit will have a core team of five people and an additional 10 staff from Greenpeace International and national offices. There will be also a network of external relationships with scientists, research institutes, universities and innovative companies, it was announced at the organisation’s annual report press conference on 10 August in Amsterdam.

“The objective of the unit is to influence the development of technology towards sustainable solutions and to promote their entry into the market,” Greenpeace International Executive director Thilo Bode said. He announced that the unit would focus on developing resource efficient technologies, and will be headed by Harry Lehmann, a former director of the renowned environmental research organisation, the Wuppertal Institute.

Bode commented on Greenpeace’s most high-profile solutions work, helping to develop Sydney’s Environmental Guidelines for the Olympic Games. “We have encouraged, but also directly challenged and protested, to make sure Olympic organisers and sponsors have met the ‘green’ standards that were so essential to Sydney’s winning the rights to host the 2000 Olympics”, he said.

One specific example cited was persuading one of the leading Olympic sponsors, Coca-Cola, to replace its global warming HFC gases worldwide for all of its new equipment by 2004 with Greenfreeze technology, such as hydrocarbons.

Countering recent newspaper reports that the organisation was losing both money and staff, Bode said that Greenpeace was in a healthy financial position, with net income rising for the fifth year in succession to 96.4 million Euros (£56.5 million) in 1999, an 8% increase from the previous year. He also stated that the number of supporters also increased by 100,000, from 2.4 million in 1998 to 2.5 million in 1999.

“Our strong, direct action, campaigning around the world has helped us in 1999 to once again increase our global net income, with 18 of 25 national offices increasing their gross income in local currency, led by China and Argentina, and 18 offices increasing their membership,” Bode said, adding that direct action would remain the core part of Greenpeace’s campaign work.

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