M. John Sauven

John Sauven

Executive Director at Greenpeace UK

Climate Change, Global Warming, Safeguarding biodiversity, forest protection


Mr. 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. Mr. John Sauven started working in a temporary position for Greenpeace in 1991 while waiting for a place at teacher training college. As director, John 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. Mr. John Sauven was educated at St Benedict’s School, Ealing and trained as an economist at University of Cardiff graduating with a BSc (Econ). John 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. 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. Mr. John 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. Mr. John 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) 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. Currently he is helping to strategise action-led, non-violent initiatives to save the North Pole from Big Oil. Mr. John 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.” In specialising on solutions and working with business, John 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.