Phil Radford

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Phil Radford
Phil Radford.jpg
Radford as Greenpeace's Executive Director (2012)
Born Philip David Radford
(1976-01-02) January 2, 1976 (age 38)
New Brunswick, NJ, U.S.
Alma mater Washington University in St. Louis[1]
Occupation Environmental, clean energy and democracy leader
Known for

Executive Director, Greenpeace

Co-Founder, Democracy Initiative[2]
Partner(s) Eileen Radford
Official website

Philip David "Phil" Radford (born January 2, 1976) is an American environmental, clean energy and democracy leader currently serving as the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. He was a co-founder of the Democracy Initiative, served as the Founder and Executive Director of Power Shift, and is a board member of Green Corps.[3] He has a background in grassroots organizing, campaign planning, and energy policy. Radford lives in Washington, DC with his wife Eileen.[4]

Radford’s theory of change shifted from viewing governments as arbitrators between public and private interests on environmental issues, to finding that most governments are captured by industry. Rather than fighting first for new laws, which could be blocked by industries, he has focused on pressuring large companies to change their practices and enlisted them as allies in pushing for strong environmental protections.[5] Examples include Greenpeace campaigns to transform electric utilities and to protect both the Indonesian rainforest and the Bering Sea Canyons.[6][7] Radford argues that the combination of creating industry champions and “outside pressure” focused on the government are the keys to passing new laws to protect the environment.[5] In addition, Radford has worked to give citizens an upper hand over companies in influencing government.[8]

Early life[edit]

Radford received his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1998.[1]

Early activism[edit]

Radford began his environmental activism as a high school student at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, volunteering for a campaign to stop the building of trash incinerators in the West Side of Chicago near his family's Oak Park home.[9]

His first job as a grassroots organizer came as a canvasser for Illinois PIRG. While studying political science and business at Washington University in St. Louis, he directed campaign and canvass offices during summers for the Fund for Public Interest Research for clients including the Human Rights Campaign, PIRGIM, and Ohio PIRG and worked part-time during school for the Sierra Club.[10]

After graduating college in 1998, Radford became a Lead Organizer at Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing.[11]

Field director of Ozone Action[edit]

From 1999 to 2001 Radford was Field Director for Ozone Action, an organization dedicated to working on the atmospheric threats of global warming and ozone depletion. As field director, Radford planned and executed a number of grassroots campaigns, including a campaign during the 2000 presidential primaries, which was the initial impetus for Senator John McCain sponsoring the Climate Stewardship Act.[12][13]

Radford also managed the grassroots mobilization for the Global Warming Divestiture Campaign, which resulted in Ford, General Motors, Texaco, and other companies to stop funding the Global Climate Coalition, which spread misinformation about global warming.[14] According to the New York Times, the result of the campaign was “the latest sign of divisions within heavy industry over how to respond to global warming.”[15]

He also brought 230 students to the Kyoto negotiations, where they convinced the U.S. delegation to stop pushing for nuclear energy in the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism.[10]

Founder of Power Shift[edit]

In 2001, Radford founded Power Shift,[10] a non-governmental organization dedicated to driving clean energy market breakthroughs and building the grassroots base to stop global warming.[16]

As Executive Director of Power Shift, Radford worked closely with the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and Berkeley, CA, as well as nine other municipalities, to secure investments for installation of solar energy systems and implementation of energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings.[10] Radford also helped to convince Citigroup to adopt innovative new means of financing clean energy infrastructure for wind and solar installations that made them affordable to average Americans.[17]

Leading Greenpeace USA[edit]

On his first day as Greenpeace CEO, Radford participated in a protest of government inaction on climate change at the State Department.
Radford arrested with Daryl Hannah, Bill McKibben in Keystone XL Pipeline protest. Photo Credit: Josh Lopez

In 2009, at the age of 33, Radford was selected as the youngest ever Executive Director of Greenpeace.[18][19] Radford’s tenure at Greenpeace USA is best known for convincing over 100 corporations to change their environmental practices;[20] the doubling of Greenpeace’s budget; launching the organization’s grassroots organizing and canvass programs;[21] and serving as a founder of the Democracy Initiative,[2] a national coalition of major unions, environmental groups, civil rights and government reform organizations working for universal voter registration, to get money out of politics, and to reform Senate rules.

Referring to one of Greenpeace’s campaign victories during Radford's tenure, New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin referred to Greenpeace’s campaign as “Activism at Its Best.”[22]

Before becoming Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, Radford served as the director of the organization’s Grassroots Program.[18] In that capacity, he started and directed the organization's street and door-to-door canvasses, online-to-offline organizing team, social media team, the Greenpeace Student Network, and the Greenpeace Semester.[23] Under Radford, the street and door-to-door canvassing programs grew to include nearly 400 canvassers in almost 20 cities across the country and was responsible for bringing over 140,000 new monthly members into Greenpeace USA between 2006 and 2009, doubling the organization's budget.[23]

Changing corporate behavior[edit]

Global Climate Coalition[edit]

Radford managed a national divestment/disinvestment campaign,[24] which forced Ford, General Motors, Texaco, and other companies to stop funding the Global Climate Coalition, which spread misinformation about global warming.[14] Soon thereafter, the GCC ended operations.[25] Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ross Gelbspan called the industry defections a "Technical Knockout" of the Global Climate Coalition.[26]


In 2001, while running Power Shift, Radford launched a campaign to push Citibank to offer and promote Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs).[27] Citi was "missing the opportunity to help stop global warming by phasing out fossil fuel investments and promoting clean energy now," Radford said. "The irony is that if Citi financed solar for people’s homes, solar energy could be made immediately affordable for millions of Americans today."[28] In 2004, Citigroup agreed to offer and promote EEMs for residential wind, energy efficiency, and solar installations that would make clean energy affordable for millions of Americans.[17]


Radford oversaw the grassroots mobilization efforts on the Kleercut Campaign in the United States and, later, the entire U.S. campaign when he became Greenpeace’s Executive Director,[18] targeting Kimberly-Clark for sourcing 22% of its paper pulp from Canadian boreal forests containing 200-year-old trees. The campaign included intervening in Kleenex commercial shoots,[29] convincing twenty-two universities and colleges to take action such as cancelling contracts,[30][31] recruiting 500 companies to boycott Kimberly-Clark,[32] over 1,000 protests of the company, and more.[31][33] The result: On August 5, 2009, Kimberly-Clark announced that it would source 40% of its paper fiber from recycled content or other sustainable sources – a 71% increase from 2007 levels. The demand created by Kimberly-Clark for sustainably logged fiber was greater than the supply, enabling the company to convince logging companies to change their practices.[31][34]

Asia Pulp and Paper[edit]

From 2010 to 2013, Radford managed Greenpeace US team that persuaded Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) – the world's third largest paper company[35] – to stop destroying ancient forests. Greenpeace succeeded in convincing more than 100 corporate customers of APP to sever their ties with the company,[20] including Mattel,[36] Hasbro,[37] Lego, Kmart,[38] IGA, Kroger, Food Lion, National Geographic, and Xerox.[39] In total, the campaign against APP cut nearly 80% of APP’s U.S. market. On February 5, 2013, Asia Pulp and Paper announced a deforestation policy protecting Indonesian rainforests.[40] Referring to the victory, New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin heralded the campaign with a piece titled: "Activism at Its Best: Greenpeace’s Push to Stop the Pulping of Rainforests".[22]

Major U.S. supermarkets[edit]

Under Radford, Greenpeace ran an aggressive campaign targeting supermarket chains[41] – which sell 50% of all seafood in the U.S. – to convince them to stop selling threatened fish, adopt sustainable seafood policies, and lobby for policies such as marine reserves to protect the oceans. Some retailers simply moved from being scored in a report; [42] others like Costco[43] and Trader Joe's[44] required public campaigns to change them. The result: major seafood retailers such as Whole Foods, Safeway, Wegmans, Target, Harris Teeter, Meijer, and Kroger have implemented sustainable seafood purchasing policies; Trader Joe's, Aldi, Costco, Target, and A&P have dramatically cut the threatened fish that they sell, and Wegmans, Whole Foods, Safeway, Target, and Trader Joe's have lobbied for strong ocean policies, such as protecting the Ross Sea and Bering Sea Canyons as marine reserves.[45][46][47]


Articles (partial list)[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Washington University in St. Louis Magazine, Classmates Issue". Washington University in St. Louis Magazine. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  2. ^ a b "Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  3. ^ "Green Corps Board of Directors". Green Corps. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  4. ^ "Weddings, Celebrations". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  5. ^ a b "What Greenpeace’s New Strategy Means for Investors". CleanTechIQ. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  6. ^ "Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joe’s Top Sustainable Seafood List". Environmental Leader. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  7. ^ "A Breakthrough in How We Work to Protect Our Oceans". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Progressive Agenda". C-SPAN. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  9. ^ "Oak Park and River Forest High School Tradition of Excellence Past Award Recipients". Oak Park and River Forest High School. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Phillip D. Radford, Greenpeace, Executive Director". Fund for the Public Interest. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  11. ^ "Career Placement: Growing the Movement". Green Corps. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  12. ^ "Canvassing Works". Canvassing Works. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  13. ^ "McCain on Climate Change". Living on Earth. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  14. ^ a b "Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  15. ^ "Ford Announces Its Withdrawal From Global Climate Coalition". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  16. ^ "Power Shift". Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  17. ^ a b "Citigroup Sets New Environmental Standards". Environmental News Service. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  18. ^ a b c "Greenpeace out: Parting shots from a battle hardened climate leader". Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
  19. ^ "Greenpeace USA's Phil Radford". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  20. ^ a b "Paper Giant Pledges to Leave the Poor Rainforest Alone. Finally. Asia Pulp & Paper—the notorious destroyer of pristine tiger and orangutan habitat—says it's changing its ways.". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  21. ^ "Phil Radford". Source Watch. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  22. ^ a b "Activism at Its Best: Greenpeace’s Push to Stop the Pulping of Rain Forests". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  23. ^ a b "Phil Radford". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  24. ^ "Meet Philip Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  25. ^ "RIP: Global Climate Coalition; Global Climate Coalition Ends Its Work; Voice for Industry Opposed Global Treaty". The Heat is Online. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  26. ^ "GCC Suffers Technical Knockout; Industry Defectiosn Decimate Global Climate Coalition". Ross Gelbspan. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  27. ^ "Last Call: In Person with Ben Winters, Save the Ales". In These Times. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  28. ^ "Citigroup: Bankrupting Democracy; The Cost of Living Richly Citigroup’s Global Finance and Threats to the Environment". Multinational Monitor. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  29. ^ "Kleenex Gets Punk’d". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  30. ^ "2005-2009 - Kleercut-Free Campuses and Victory!". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  31. ^ a b c "Exclusive: How Kimberly-Clark Ditched its Forest-Destroying Reputation and Embraced Greenpeace". Fast Company. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  32. ^ "Forest Friendly 500". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  33. ^ "More Than Tissues in a Box of Kleenex". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  34. ^ "Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark Settle Feud". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  35. ^ "Paper Producer to Stop Clearing of Indonesian Forests". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  36. ^ "A Roaring Thank You on Behalf of the Sumatran Tigers". Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  37. ^ "Hasbro Turns Over a New Leaf, Steps Up For Rainforests". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  38. ^ "Attention K-Mart Shoppers! Get With the Program". Legal Planet: The Environmental Law and Policy Blog. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  39. ^ "Pressure on Asia Pulp & Paper yielding corporate responsibility, new strategies on rainforest policy [UPDATED]". Environmental Leader. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  40. ^ "Paper Giant Pledges to Leave the Poor Rainforest Alone. Finally". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  41. ^ "Protecting our oceans, one supermarket at a time". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  42. ^ "Carting Away the Oceans 7". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  43. ^ "Costco Pulls Threatened Fish from Stores". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  44. ^ "Trader Joe’s to Adopt Sustainable Seafood Policy After Greenpeace Campaign". Triple Pundit. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  45. ^ "Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joe’s Top Sustainable Seafood List". Environmental Leader. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  46. ^ "Where to Buy the Best Fish". Rodale News. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  47. ^ "Carting Away the Oceans 7". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 

External links[edit]