Greenpeace takes aim at French firms

NICHOLAS SCHOON

Environment Correspondent

Greenpeace has begun planning an international boycott of French state- owned companies and French firms involved in the nuclear tests on Mururoa Atoll.

Amsterdam-based Greenpeace International believes a well-supported boycott of products like Renault cars among France's key trading partners could sharply increase pressure on President Jacques Chirac to scrap or curtail the South Pacific tests, due to begin next month.

"It's under discussion," Ulrich Jurgens, Greenpeace International's campaigns director told the Independent in Amsterdam, before flying to Tahiti to join protests near Mururoa.

"President Chirac's constituency is the business community of France," he added. Greenpeace believes protests in France about lost exports might carry more weight than the chorus of international criticism.

The French government has a large privatisation programme but the state still owns all or most of several large corporations such as Renault, Air France and the bank Credit Lyonnais. Unfortunately for Greenpeace, some of them, such as the planemaker Aerospatiale and jet-engine maker SNECMA, do not make mass-consumer products.

If the boycott goes ahead, Greenpeace would involve its national groups in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States. These would campaign for consumers and companies not to buy products from a list of French state-owned and private electronics, construction and engineering firms selected because of their involvement in the tests.

Mr Jurgens, who led the successful campaign against Shell's plans to sink the redundant Brent Spar North Sea oil platform, says Greenpeace has no intention of advocating any boycott of French wine or other exports from the French private sector. French wine producers are bearing the brunt of international protest.

"We don't want to hit the small shopowner or the French people, most of whom oppose the tests. We want to hit the French government and Chirac," he said.

He said the German boycott of Shell petrol, which finally forced the world's largest oil multinational to abandon its plans to sink the Brent Spar, was not organised by Greenpeace or anyone else. "It wasn't us who stopped Shell, it was people making their own protest."

Mr Jurgens, one of Greenpeace International's seven executive directors, said the crews of the three Greenpeace vessels which will soon be on station in the South Pacific would try to disrupt the tests.

The French government was a far more formidable adversary than Shell. "I don't know if protest against the nuclear tests is picking up to the same extent as it did against the Spar.

"People may over-estimate our influence; we're a $25m a year, non-violent organisation up against an OECD government with a fully-equipped nuclear navy.

''So of course there's no way we can physically stop them. If we're to succeed, a mass of people will have to pay a key role in protesting. People can have power over unreasonable decision making ... what the French state is doing in the South Pacific is criminal.''

A protest voyage to Mururoa by 150 politicians from Australia and other countries was cancelled last week after the only boat available was found to be leaky. Greenpeace's efforts to charter a large vessel for journalists and politicians have also fallen through.

n The Hague - New Zealand yesterday formally filed a case against France at the International Court of Justice over its nuclear-testing policies, the country's ambassador to The Netherlands said.

News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone