Get your local election candidates to support the call to divest
On Thursday 5 May, local council elections will be taking place across the UK.
Councillors are up for election in all local authorities in Wales and Scotland and more than a hundred authorities across England, including all London boroughs.
Despite more than three-quarters declaring a climate emergency, our local authorities continue to invest nearly £10bn in the very companies fuelling and profiting from the climate crisis. The upcoming elections offer an unmissable opportunity to get local politicians to publicly declare their support for fossil fuel divestment.
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.
Will you help us get candidates to sign the UK Divest 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.”
Find out who your local candidates are
Enter your postcode into the Who Can I Vote For? website to see if there are elections taking place near you and get the contact details of any candidates running in your area.
Click here to see the full list of elections taking place on 5 May.
Email your candidates
Ask your friends to do the same
Use the share links below to ask your friends and family to contact their candidates too.
Frequently asked questions
Candidate information will not be officially declared until 31 March in Scotland and 6 April in England and Wales. However, even after this date, candidate data for local council elections may be difficult to get hold of or incomplete.
Here are some tips for if you’re struggling to find the information needed to get in touch with candidates:
- Search for candidate listings published on your local council’s website.
- If you have the name of a candidate but not their email address, do some online searching to find another way of getting in touch with them. For example, by searching something like "John Smith Leicester Westcotes 2022 council election" you may come across the candidate's Facebook or Twitter account, or a website for their campaign which should allow you to reach out another way (i.e. through a direct message).
- A last-ditch attempt might be to get in contact with the officer responsible for elections at your council and see if they are able to share contact details they might have or pass on a message for you.
- Ultimately, for some candidates it may be impossible to find any way of contacting them, particularly if they have no personal online or social media presence and they aren't actively campaigning.
Click here for a 4-minute demo video that runs through how to use the website and offers suggestions for searching for candidate contact details.
Whether you're a member of a local climate group or not, there are lots of ways you can help to boost pledge signatories in your area:
- Host a pledge drive or online organising call — This could be any activity aimed at getting more people in the local area to contact their candidates and as a result drive up the number of pledges. You could do this online by publicising a time for people to all call, email or Tweet/Facebook message their candidates asking them to sign the pledge. Or, another option might be to set up stall in a busy part of town and speak to people about how they can ask their candidates to sign the pledge.
- Read our guide to organising your own local "barnstorm" event — this is a tactic used in political campaigning to bring lots of people together in one place, get inspired together, and take action then and there.
- Get in touch with constituency parties or local branches — An easy way to get lots of signatories to the pledge at once is to contact party branches in your area and ask them to disseminate the pledge to all their candidates standing for election. You can adapt the candidate template email. To find your local party branches, Google the name of where you live followed by the name of the party or parties you'd like to find - for example, "Glasgow SNP", "Glasgow Conservative Party", or "Glasgow Green Party".
- Run a local "hustings" — One of the ways you can push electoral candidates on their position on the climate crisis is to hold a hustings event. A hustings is a panel discussion in the run-up to an election where candidates debate policies and answer questions from the audience. It's also a great way to secure commitments from candidates, while building relationships with your potential elected representatives. You can hold a hustings that specifically relates to divestment, or to discuss how candidates will address the climate crisis more broadly.
- Create an eye-catching placard — If your group is feeling creative, making a placard can be a great group activity. You can then invite pledged candidates to take a photo with your banner and use this to promote the campaign to other candidates and to encourage your supporters to take action.
If you live in Northern Ireland, on 5 May you’ll be electing your local Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). MLAs are responsible for passing laws and policies on matters like health, education, the environment, social work, and housing.
Fossil Free NI are collecting pledges from electoral candidates, committing them to support Northern Ireland's local authority pension fund NILGOSC divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in the local community.
In South Yorkshire, voters will be electing a Metro Mayor — this person will hold powers over spatial planning, regional transport, the provision of skills training, business support services, and economic development for the region.
- Reach out to groups like South Yorkshire Fossil Free! and South Yorkshire Climate Alliance to find out how you can get involved in plans to make climate action top of the agenda for your incoming mayor.
Mayors are also being chosen in six other English local authorities (Croydon, Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Watford). You can invite candidates for these roles to sign the standard councillor pledge, however, you may want to amend the template email slightly to acknowledge their role.
If there are no elections taking place near you, we'd still really appreciate your support! Please share this webpage with friends, family, and colleagues who live in different parts of the UK and ask them to take part.
If you'd like to do more, please register your interest as an Election Organiser. There may be an election taking place near to you that needs support, or you can be ‘buddied’ with an Election Organiser in another part of the UK to support to their work.
Find out if there's a local divestment group near you and see what else is going on in your area.
See the final FAQ in this section for details of how to help Democracy Club with collecting candidate contact information in the lead-up to the elections.
If you’re standing as a candidate, simply fill in this short form to register your pledge and then use our candidate resources to promote your pledge. Divestment is a cross-party issue that is popular with the public, morally right, and financially sound.
If there are a number of candidates running for election from your party, please encourage as many as possible to join you in pledging to support fossil fuel divestment.
Regardless of what committees you sit on or which party you are a member of, every councillor has the power to raise the profile of divestment — from putting forward motions, to simply speaking to other councillors about the issue. Click here to read some examples of ways you can take action once elected.
If you're looking for even more opportunities to take climate action, watch Friends of the Earth's webinar on how local councillors can help to meet UK climate targets.
Democracy Club (the people behind the WhoCanIVoteFor.co.uk website) rely on the support of people like you to ensure voters have everything they need to make their decision on polling day.
Whether you've already mapped out your local candidates or have some time to do some research in the coming days or weeks, your contribution will ensure other people in your area can contact election candidates about the UK Divest pledge or other important issues in advance of the election.
How to contribute
Information about candidates, including contact details, can be added by creating an account at Democracy Club's crowdsourcing site. If you’re looking to add information on a specific area or ward, you can find a list of all 5 May elections on the elections tab. If you have a large amount of information (e.g. a list of candidate email addresses), you can also email them directly to the team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best time to jump in will be after nominations close. Head to the crowdsourcing site at or after 4pm on 6 April to see what tasks need doing.
Want to provide information about a political party? Council-wide political party manifestos are collected separately - please submit them to us via this form.
Any questions? Drop the team a line at email@example.com.
Five local authority pension funds have committed to fully divest from fossil fuels:
- Waltham Forest (September 2016)
- Southwark (December 2016)
- Islington (September 2018)
- Lambeth (December 2018)
- Cardiff (July 2019)
Click here to see other commitments from other UK institutions, read case studies of the Waltham Forest and Islington Pension Funds, and for a list of non-binding council motions.
Training and events
PAST: Divestment and the 2022 Elections: Briefing for Activists
Monday 4 April, 18:30-20:00
In this campaign launch event for activists, you’ll find out about the pledge, how you can use it and what support, resources and training we’ll be providing to help you run your local pledge campaigns. You’ll also get the chance to workshop creative ideas for securing local pledges with other activists from across the UK.
PAST: Elections 2022: Barnstorming Training for Activists
Thursday 7 April, 18:30-20:00
Barnstorming: a people-powered tactic of getting people together in one place to build local leadership and drive activity in your campaign.
Join this workshop to learn more about the “barnstorm” tactic, sign up to host your own local barnstorm, and workshop ideas for winning fossil fuel divestment commitments in your area this election season.
PAST: Elections 2022 Candidates: All You Need to Know About Divestment
Tuesday 26 April, 18:30-20:00
FOR CANDIDATES: Invite any candidates/councillors sitting on the fence about whether or not to sign the pledge along to this event to find out more about the moral and ethical arguments for divestment and how they can sign the pledge.
Featuring presentations from Mark Campanale (Carbon Tracker) and a councillor representing a fund leading the way on divestment.
Winning on Divestment: UK Election Push 2022!
Thursday 28 April, 18:30-20:00
Join the biggest EVER fossil fuel divestment push at the 2022 local elections. Whether you’re a seasoned campaigner or a newbie, come along!
We’ll hear from some amazing speakers on their fight to make their pensions fossil free, before splitting up into regional groups to;
- Find out who our council candidates are.
- Lobby them to sign the pledge to divest their pension fund if elected.
- Meet others working where we are to call for our local authority to stop investing in fossil fuels today!
Disclaimer: we do our best to verify the information provided to us, however, sometimes errors may slip through. If your name is listed in the above list but you have not signed the pledge, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.