Engage your decision-makers

You can’t win unless the decision makers are convinced. How can you keep on getting in front of them? There are arguments and resources that can help you here.


Overview The basics of divestment campaigns Step 1 Pick a Target & Build a Team Step 2 Start a Petition & Plan your Campaign Step 3 Get Active & Build Power Step 4 Engage your Decision Makers
Step 5 Turn up the Heat Step 6 Stay Connected Step 7 Win! Resources Tips, Guides, Factsheets and more Divestment Arguments Reasons to Divest

If you don’t ask you won’t get, so you need to be asking regularly.

The planning process will have helped you to identify who the key decision makers are and understand more about the decision making process as well as how you can influence it.

There are strong moral and financial arguments for divestment, and you can find more information about each of them in ‘Divestment Arguments‘.

So what are we asking for?

The Fossil Free campaign calls on organisations to commit to:

  1. Immediately freeze any new investment in the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies
  2. Divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years

These top 200 companies (identified by Fossil Free Indexes Carbon Underground 200 project) represent the vast majority of fossil fuel companies and have been useful for setting asset exclusion criteria. Because many of these products are quite complicated or have fixed contract periods, 5 years has been identified as a practical and financially prudent deadline to work to.

Top Tips

  • There will be people on your side identifying them early on and working with them is crucial.
  • In many cases the institutions you’re working with will have commitments to act on climate change, and it’s worth flagging these up in your correspondence. The more relevant you can make the pitch to your institutions the better.
  • You may need to tailor your arguments depending on who you’re talking to. Some people may respond better to the moral case, others to the financial.
  • You don’t need to be a financial expert (there are people and resources that can help!), and you’re not there to give financial advice. This glossary explains the key financial terms.
  • Backroom negotiations work best when you’ve got a loud and public divestment campaign and public support to point at, so don’t get too bogged down in negotiations
  • These FAQs should help answer tricky questions from decision makers.

Getting divestment on the agenda:

  • Meeting up with decision makers individually to get them onside – finding and working with allies is crucial (especially as they’ll have to put things on the agenda).
  • Asking ‘influencers’ to approach decision makers on your behalf.
  • Attending public meetings with decision makers and asking questions.
  • Providing divestment briefings (there are some great examples from other campaigns here) and speaking at any public meetings.

More information about the decision making processes in local government can be found in the Local Government Divestment Guide, and there’s a wealth of knowledge about other sectors through partner organisations and campaigns.

They may not say yes straight away… but keep going! There are lots of people in the same position that you can talk things through with.


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