Greenpeace chief apologises for air commute of international programme director

John Sauven, pictured, had initially backed the travel arrangements of Pascal Husting, who was flying from his home in Luxembourg to Amsterdam HQ

John Sauven
John Sauven

The head of Greenpeace UK has apologised to its supporters for allowing a senior staff member to fly between the Amsterdam headquarters and his home in Luxembourg.

The Guardian reported on Monday that Pascal Husting, international programme director at Greenpeace International, made the journey by plane several times a month – despite the organisation’s stance on air travel, which it says is 10 times worse than taking the train.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, initially defended Husting’s commute in a blog on the charity’s website, suggesting that it was a compromise made in order to "make the world a better place".

He said that Husting’s family lived in Luxembourg and could not immediately relocate to Amsterdam.

But after criticism from the charity’s supporters, Sauven updated the blog last night asking them to accept his "personal apologies" for the situation and saying that Husting would no longer fly to Amsterdam and would instead take the train – a 12-hour round trip from Luxembourg – where necessary.

He also wrote in the blog: "I have heard a lot of anger and upset expressed. Greenpeace is absolutely nothing without the people who support our campaigns, sign petitions and chip in donations to help us keep going."

One supporter wrote on Sauven’s blog: "So disappointed. Hardly had 2 pennies to rub together but have supported GP for 35+ years. Cancelling direct debit for while." Another wrote: "I volunteer with Greenpeace but work in the commercial world and if I took a job in another country I'd expect to move to where the job is; and if I couldn't for family reasons, I wouldn't take the job – so I find Pascal's travel arrangements almost unbelievable."

Susannah Birkwood

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