John Sauven

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John Sauven, (born in Ealing, west London, on 6 September 1954) is a trained economist, environmentalist and executive director of Greenpeace UK since 2008. Before that he was the director responsible for Greenpeace communications and specialised on solutions and working with business. Sauven started working in a temporary position for Greenpeace in 1991 while waiting for a place at teacher training college. As director, Sauven has helped to shape Greenpeace UK's commitment to defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse, and championing environmentally responsible solutions.[1]


John Sauven was educated at St Benedict's School, Ealing and trained as an economist at University of Cardiff graduating with a BSc (Econ).[2]


Sauven actively campaigns to ban underground nuclear testing in the Pacific and campaigns against the UK Trident programme, the United Kingdom's missile-based nuclear weapons programme.[citation needed]

He campaigns to protect the temperate rainforests on the west coast of Canada, helping to save the Great Bear Rainforest in northwest Canada from commercial logging. It was a highly organised campaign, mostly fought in the marketplace between logging companies, timber traders and their retail customers in Europe and North America. It also involved pushing the industry as a whole to accept Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified products that guaranteed legal and sustainable products, now widely recognised in both the timber and paper sectors as the mark of sustainability.[citation needed]

Sauven actively campaigns to halt the deforestation of the tropical rainforests of the Amazon, by companies planting soya beans, having coordinated the international campaign to secure a moratorium on further destruction of the Amazon. This was achieved through bringing together a huge alliance of US and European multinationals along with Brazilian counterparts involved in the soya producing, commodity trading and food retailing sectors. It was one of Greenpeace's most successful campaigns to protect large areas of the world's last intact rainforests providing both climate and biodiversity protection. Similar tactics were used to direct campaigns to halt the deforestation of the forests of Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia.[citation needed]

Sauven helped to develop Greenpeace's "Greenfreeze" campaign (greenfreeze technology is now a global refrigeration industry standard utilising isobutane and propane as refrigerants and cyclopentane for producing the insulating foam[3]) to protect the ozone layer from disappearing because of our use of CFCs and other ozone layer destroying chemicals. John also famously bought a plot of land in the path of the proposed Heathrow third runway.[4]

Currently he is helping to strategise action-led, non-violent initiatives to save the North Pole from Big Oil. Sauven advocates urgent action to protect the area of sea ice around the North Pole, which is currently not national territory, by designating the area a 'global commons', collectively owned by humanity under the auspices of the United Nations."[2]

In specialising on solutions and working with business, Sauven is conscious that Greenpeace's ongoing work may win fewer headlines, but the effort to evolve new, more sustainable business models is where the future will be won or lost. This is particularly the case with climate change where cleaner, more efficient products, processes and ways of producing energy need to be brought to market by government regulation and company innovation.[4]

As well as his work with Greenpeace, Sauven has edited Sanity, the magazine of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND.[5]

Sauven has collaborated on several award winning films with film director Julian Temple and film producer Eski Thomas, commissioning The Ancient Forests to which Sir David Attenborough, Ewan McGregor and Andy Serkis lent their talents.[6]

In 2012, John became a board member of Videre Est Credere (Latin for "to see is to believe") a UK Human Rights Charity.[7] Videre describes itself as "give[ing] local activists the equipment, training and support needed to safely capture compelling video evidence of human rights violations. This captured footage is verified, analysed and then distributed to those who can create change."[8] He participates alongside movie producers Uri Fruchtmann, Terry Gilliam and music producer Brian Eno.[9]


Sauven lives in Crouch End, north London, and is married to Janet Convery, a campaigner at the charity Action Aid. He has two sons.


  1. ^ "Greenpeace: What we do".
  2. ^ a b "John Sauven: 'I want to claim the arctic region for all of mankind'". The Independent. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  3. ^ "Are our fridges safe?". 21 August 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Discussion Point, John Sauven". Archived from the original on 18 April 2013.
  5. ^ "John Sauven: 'I want to claim the arctic region for all of mankind'". The Independent. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Greenpeace's The Ancient Forests". Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  7. ^ UK Charity Commission, UK Charity Commission Report on Videre, UK Charity Commission, 20 August 2013
  8. ^ "Videre Est Credere | Charity Organisation for Human Rights Issues and Human Rights Abuse". Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Our People | VIDERE". Retrieved 22 April 2020.