It makes you wonder why they do it. Greenpeace is an organisation that is against nuclear energy. They share my views on the dangers of nuclear energy as do probably tens of millions of people. EDF is a business that owns and runs most of the nuclear powered power plants in Englandand France. Nuclear power is core to their business.
It is perfectly legal for EDF to run nuclear power plants and perfectly legal for Greenpeace to protest about nuclear power plants. There is legitimacy in both viewpoints although probably only one viewpoint will prove right at the end of the day.
Greenpeace monitor the activities of EDF and EDF monitor the activities of Greenpeace. They do this in an effort to persuade people that nuclear energy is a good thing or a bad thing. They both mount political campaigns to win the hearts and minds of people over to their view.
Sometimes both organisations step over the line. Greenpeace has arranged eye catching and headline catching demonstrations which involve sometimes trespass, which is a civil wrong. However EDF seems to have gone beyond the normal hurley-burley of argument and has now been convicted of criminal activity in relation to Greenpeace. Computers were hacked into and data stolen.
As a result the authorities in France instituted criminal proceedings against EDF and some of the people involved. EDF has been fined €1,500,000 and two of its employees are serving prison sentences. Two other people who work for the agency that EDF employed to carry out activities against Greenpeace are also in jail.
It is very hard to understand why companies such as EDF feel that they are above the law. There seems to be a similar scandal brewing in the United Kingdom about the activities of News International but that has not yet reached the courts here.
I hold that we all have to obey the law, unless the law is wrong or unjust. There is nothing unjust about laws against computer hacking or cell phone voicemail hacking and there is a kind of arrogance by large corporate entities that feel that these laws do not apply to them. This is not about corporate governance, but about the culture that exists in some multinational corporations.
EDF is one of the six major suppliers of energy in the United Kingdom. They run eight nuclear reactors here and plan to build four more. Their activities against Greenpeace must make us all extremely uncomfortable and pose the question “are they fit and proper to run nuclear reactors?”