Sample email to election candidates
The following template email can be used as a basis for starting a conversation with your local candidates and securing pledges.
Feel free to amend the template as much as you like – for instance, if you are sending your letter as an individual, you can delete any reference to being a part of a local group.
Subject: Will you commit to protecting local pensions and the planet?
Dear [insert name of candidate],
I am writing on behalf of [your divestment/climate group, if you are a member of one]. We are a group of residents of [insert your area] that have been campaigning for [insert name of your council’s pension fund (you can find this here)] to stop investing local workers’ money in planet-wrecking fossil fuels. [You can also include the estimated value of fossil investments for your fund, which you can find here]
Investing local pensions in fossil fuels is fuelling climate change and air pollution, contradicting local, national and international commitments to tackle climate change. It is also putting members’ pensions in jeopardy as fossil fuel investments now pose a dangerous long-term financial risk to investors.
Instead, to move toward a zero-carbon future we need to phase out the use of fossil fuels. This means we need to limit the extraction and production of fossil fuels as part of a managed and just transition. There are already far more known fossil fuel reserves than can possibly be burned to stay within globally agreed targets for limiting global heating yet the fossil fuel companies that our pension funds invest in continue to expand.
Institutions, such as local government pension funds, can take practical action by, over a sensible time frame, moving their direct and indirect investments out of the fossil fuel industry. Cardiff, Waltham Forest, Southwark, Islington, and Lambeth councils have already committed to divesting their pensions.
We think this election is the perfect time for our council to take their impressive climate leadership plans to the next level by committing to stop investing in the biggest polluters in the world, and plan how this money can be invested in the local economy instead.
[I am/We are] writing to you to ask that you agree to publicly back the following pledge:
“If elected, I will do all I can to ensure the council pension fund ends investment in fossil fuels and invests in a just transition to a zero-carbon economy.”
If you agree, please fill in this short form and you will be added to the public pledge list at divest.org.uk/elections-2022. You can also find social media assets and resources at this link to help promote your pledge and encourage other candidates to do the same.
If you have any further questions on this, please do not hesitate to contact me or the UK Divest team at email@example.com. I’ve also attached a short guide to divestment which provides some more information on the issue. UK Divest is also hosting a webinar for sitting councillors and prospective candidates on Tuesday 26 April which will explore the moral and financial benefits of divesting from gas, oil and coal. Please register here and share the event with other candidates who are keen to find out more.
Should you be elected, [I/we] would welcome continuing this dialogue about how we can work together to make our council a climate leader.
[Your name, role and name of your group]