Greenpeace International: Developing resilience to Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation suits through joint action

22nd April 2020 by Eva Gondor

Greenpeace International developed a proactive and collaborative response to the threat and damage of SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation) in the US and beyond.

Read the summary and find the full case study at the bottom of the page.

Actions taken by the organisation

What was the trigger? Significant Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP) suit filed against Greenpeace International in the USA (2016).
What was the internal response? Greenpeace International developed a SLAPP Resilience Strategy, recognising legal solutions were not enough.
What measures were taken at the national level? The strategy, developed with Greenpeace USA, involved outreach and engagement work in US.

Response carried out in practice

What was the trigger? A 2nd SLAPP suit was filed against Greenpeace International seeking almost $1 billion in damages (2017).
What was the response? Thanks in part to Greenpeace International’s engagement work, there was a huge backlash from civil society, and the Protect the Protest coalition was formed.
What were the outcomes? Both cases were dismissed (either in part or entirely); US civil society is now attuned to this tactic and responding collectively.

Learnings collected by the organisation

Outcomes Greenpeace International is now better prepared for SLAPPs, and has developed expertise and learning that can be applied elsewhere.
Challenges Engaging other CSOs, and managing differences within a coalition.
Lessons When responding collectively to a specific restrictive tactic coordination is key for spotting opportunities and gaps; finding ways to enable easier participation e.g. by building efficient structures and processes, can help encourage joint action.

Get the case study

Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

This case study is one of six that reviews best practices, challenges, and lessons learned for both ICSO internal mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.

Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an in-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

Thanks go to our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were first written up in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.


Eva Gondor

Senior Project Manager

International Civil Society Centre

Eva leads on the Centre's civic space work - the Solidarity Action Network (SANE) aimed at strengthening resilience of and solidarity among civil society actors, and the International Civic Forum (ICF), our annual civic space platform to network and identify opportunities for collaboration. Prior to joining the Centre she worked at the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Foundation) in Stuttgart where she managed the foundation’s projects focusing on civil society and governance in Turkey, the Western Balkans, and North Africa.