Let's unite as friends of the earth this general election and win political commitments on climate and nature action.

18 Jun 2024

Note: for groups campaigning in Wales, you can find Welsh language versions of all our elections guidance and templates on our Cymru website.

On 4 July 2024, people across the country will head to the polls to vote for their future MPs. This is a key moment for our movement, as whoever wins the next election will set the course for whether the UK meets crucial climate targets, safeguards our health and wellbeing now, and protects our planet for future generations.

We need to use this opportunity to mobilise our communities, build and strengthen relationships with our current and future decision makers, and demand that action on climate and nature is embedded into the political agenda for years to come.

If your group's part of the United for Warm Homes campaign, check out our Warm Homes election campaign guide as well.

Let’s unite as friends of the earth this election.

What we’re calling for

The general election is a key opportunity to put environmental justice at the top of candidates’ priority list. We have 4 demands for the next government:

  1. An ambitious new climate plan that delivers on our global pledge to help prevent catastrophic climate change. The UK’s new climate plan must be credible and urgent enough to ensure the UK meets and exceeds its crucial 2030 global climate goal and legally binding national targets through deep cuts to harmful carbon emissions. A new climate plan must deliver long-term green jobs, secure Britain’s industries, and protect and support workers.
  2. Investment in a £6 billion-per-year, council-led, street-by-street home insulation programme to cut bills and emissions. More than 2 years on from the start of the energy crisis, millions of people are still struggling to afford to heat their homes, and the health impacts of cold, damp homes are costing the NHS tens of billions of pounds. Investing in insulation and energy efficiency would create green jobs, bring down our energy bills and cut emissions.
  3. An end to the sewage scandal and action to clean up the water and air pollution that’s harming our health and threatening our waterways, wildlife and nature. Enshrining the right to a healthy environment in UK law would give communities the power to hold companies and government legally accountable for polluting activities locally, and would improve our health and wellbeing through fresher air, clean water, and access to green spaces and trees.  
  4. Action to ensure the UK plays its part in global efforts to tackle the climate and nature crises. This should include a new law to prevent corporations committing environmental and human rights abuses in their supply chains. We must reduce deforestation in biodiverse, carbon sinks like the Amazon and the Cerrado to protect nature and frontline communities.

Your group may also have other local, national or international issues that you want to focus on in your general election campaigning, whether that’s opposing a fossil fuel extraction site, stopping airport expansion where you live, or joining the call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank. No matter your focus, you can use this opportunity to fight for a greener, fairer world.

How to win election commitments

Here are the 4 activities we recommend you focus on to win commitments from electoral candidates and make environmental justice the focus this election:

  1. Organise a hustings
  2. Meet with your election candidates
  3. Get the word out in local media
  4. Amplify your campaign on social media.

We’ve got lots of resources to help you with your campaigning like t-shirts, flyers and placards. Order your general election resources online for free. And make a splash in your local community by printing our poster (also available in Welsh) so everyone knows we’re united as friends of the earth this election. You can also get creative using our stencils and handy DIY guide to create your own banners, t-shirts, bags and much more!

Counter-climate and justice messaging is gaining a stronger foothold in public discourse and is becoming an increasing threat to our campaign for climate justice, with environment and climate myths being used to stoke culture wars. That’s why it’s important that we come together within our communities and across the country to demand fair solutions that put people and planet first. This includes working with local partners like faith groups, food banks and trade unions. You might find these resources useful:

Joint working rules

Working with allies

Under the Electoral Commission's rules, groups that are "joint working" on campaigns within the regulated period (in the run-up to the election) are required to count not just their own regulated activity, but that of those they’re working with as well. In some cases, this could mean that even if you’re not spending large sums yourself, you must also consider any regulated spend incurred by allies. This could push some groups past the spending threshold for registering themselves with the Electoral Commission. This doesn't mean that we should shy away from working with others on campaign activities around elections, it's great to work with allies and partners. We just need to be a bit more careful in some circumstances.

For it to count as joint working, you need to be jointly planning the campaign or campaign tactic together. For example, having joint strategy calls, a shared budget, or jointly signing off campaign messaging. You can still support work that others are doing without joint working, such as adding your logo to a webpage of support, signing a joint letter, or publicising someone else's event to your members. What really counts is the joint decision-making over the activity itself. Even if it is joint working, that doesn't necessarily mean you can't do it. For example, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace will jointly score political parties' manifestos because we think it will have more impact this way. We know that the regulated spend on this work will be limited and counting both sides won't push us over our limits. 

So, when don't you need to worry about joint working rules?

  • When you’re just supporting or promoting each other's work, rather than planning it together.
  • When what you’re collaborating on is not considered regulated activity, like a non-selective hustings or a press release.
  • When you and any partners are incurring no or very little cost (in money or paid staff time), below the threshold for registering with the Electoral Commission.

Greenpeace's Project Climate Vote

Greenpeace's Project Climate Vote is a great campaign that's getting lots of people fired up across the country. However, this is a large national campaign with a big budget, so if Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace were clearly joint working on this, it would incur a huge amount of regulated spend. This doesn't mean we can't support it in some ways. Here's how you can engage:

Do:

  • Promote Project Climate Vote events or opportunities locally.
  • Sign open letters or similar in support of Project Climate Vote.
  • Attend Project Climate Vote events as an individual.

Don't:

  • Engage in the planning of Project Climate Vote as a local action group member.
  • Attend Project Climate Vote events as a local action group member.

Political impartiality and compliance

Friends of the Earth’s aim during the election is to ensure that all parties and candidates have the strongest possible commitments to protect our climate and the environment. We’re politically impartial, as it’s the best way to campaign for climate, justice and the environment, and because we’re required to be under charity law. Local action groups are often seen as ambassadors for Friends of the Earth, so it’s important that you help to maintain that impartiality within your communities. Read our guidance on political impartiality.

Tell us your plans

Whatever you’re planning, please fill out this short survey to let us know your plans. This is so we can keep track of the collective impact we’re having,  make sure we’ve got the right support in place for your campaigning, and help promote your campaign activities to supporters in your area.

We've been friends of the earth for over 50 years and we're not going to stop now. Let’s win ambitious action on climate and nature this election.
 

Elections