Any frisson of schadenfreude, i.e. taking any pleasure from its misfortunes, which any charity trustee or senior manager may feel on reading the headlines about Greenpeace International’s 3.8 million euro foreign exchange losses should, on mature consideration, be replaced by a more sympathetic reaction and prompt them to consider how robust their own charity’s policies and procedures are.
The headlines could have been taken as suggesting that Greenpeace International had been speculating unwisely in volatile investments, but Greenpeace’s own statement and subsequent comments make it clear that this was not the case. It appears that Greenpeace receives donations mostly in euros, but has expenditure in many other currencies into which it therefore has to convert euros.
Greenpeace’s own statement says that a single staff member, acting in what they thought was the best interest of the organisation, entered into contracts to buy currency at fixed exchange rates.
Read the full article in Charities Managment online, Autumn 2014