Founder of foodwatch

Thilo Bode, Founder of foodwatch

foodwatch/Sabrina Weniger

After more than a decade at the helm of Greenpeace, Thilo Bode founded foodwatch in the autumn of 2002. Since 1 April 2017 he has been driving forward the development of an independent European consumer rights organisation as Executive Director of foodwatch International.

Since 2002 Thilo Bode has been fighting for consumers’ right to know what is in their shopping carts and on their plates. He served as Executive Director of foodwatch Germany for 15 years before taking over the management of foodwatch International in April 2017 until December 2021. foodwatch was founded in reaction to the shocking BSE scandal. Thilo asked himself: who is representing the interests of consumers? Today the answer is clear: foodwatch.

Thilo was born in 1947 and grew up in Ammersee (Bavaria). His father was a journalist, and his mother a bookseller. After his Abitur he studied sociology, then economics. From 1972 to 1975 he earned his doctorate at the Universität Regensburg on the subject of direct investment in developing countries. Subsequently, he supervised projects focused on the development of water and energy supply in the Third World, worked for the KfW development bank and advised companies on their involvement in developing countries. In 1986 he transitioned from development aid to business: as assistant to the board of a mid-sized company in the metal industry, he was responsible for strategy and management accounting, as well as the support of subsidiaries.

Thilo became well known in the 90s primarily through his work for Greenpeace and its campaigns. He took up the post of Director of Greenpeace Germany in 1989 and was later appointed Director of Greenpeace International, leading the organisation for a total of 12 years. The most spectacular campaign during this period was the fight against the sinking of the Brent Spar oil storage platform in the North Sea. In Beijing Thilo Bode was arrested and briefly imprisoned for protesting in Tiananmen Square against nuclear weapons testing. In 2001 he was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit for his contributions to environmental protection.

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