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Sign an open letter to political parties calling for urgent climate action

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Person holding a sign that reads "climate justice now!" at a protest. The image is part of promotional banner celebrating how co-operatives offer an altogether different way to take climate action.

For Co-op Fortnight, we're inviting co-operatives to sign an open letter calling for leaders of political parties to prioritise climate action.

This Co-op Fortnight, we are co-operatives to come together to demand that political parties prioritise urgent climate action in the run up to the next general election – and beyond.

Sign the letter

If you represent a co-operative business that would like to add its name to signatories of a letter being sent to political parties ahead of the next general election, please: 

  • Read the letter
  • Fill in your details below

If you have a question about this letter, please contact [email protected]

We are co-operatives. We are democratic businesses with purpose beyond profit, owned by millions of people across the UK. Because we are co-operatives, we do business for the long-term, with concern for our communities and our planet. And we are very concerned. 

Global temperatures are now surpassing the agreed 1.5 degrees safety limit,[1] global CO2 emissions continue to rise[2] even as the impact of climate change has now been evidenced in every country around the world,[3] and in the UK we are on course to miss our 2030 emissions reduction targets.[4] We are also under-prepared for imminent climate disruption to our food security,[5] supply chains[6] and business continuity.[7] This is just not about distant icesheets, colourful reefs, or people who live far away. In the UK, record-breaking rainfall this winter has strained flood defences and wrecked harvests. Increased extreme weather is just one of the symptoms of climate change that mean this is not an academic or distant issue, but about our ability to do business, earn a living, put food on the table and keep our families safe, here in the UK, now.

Yet the work we must collectively do – in every sphere of life, in every nation around the world – presents an enormous opportunity. To reverse the damage we’re causing to nature and the landscapes we love. To improve air and water quality. To improve our quality of life. And undoubtedly, to seize the ‘economic opportunity of the twenty first century’ and ensure the benefits that flow from this future reach every family and community.

As co-operative businesses, we call on all parties ahead of the general election, to put fast, effective and socially just action on climate and the environment at the heart of a strategy for inclusive growth.

Because we are co-operatives, we are already taking responsibility and reducing our emissions. And because we are co-operatives, we can do it while ensuring the benefits and costs of net zero are fairly shared. We are more likely to be decarbonising our businesses, and more likely to be creating good jobs and recirculating profits in our communities.[8]

And because we are co-operatives, we know collective action is going to be critical. We are using the unique relationships we have with our customers, workers, suppliers and communities to enable behavioural change, innovation and green investment. We are involving more people, in more areas of life, in our national effort to reach net zero, often driving action in ways other businesses and governments cannot.

A thriving co-operative sector has the potential the create at least 70,000 decent green jobs in the next five years, and not just in high-value green industries, but right across the everyday economy.[9]

More than 50 co-operative businesses, on behalf of millions of co-operatives members, have now signed the Call for Co-operative Growth. In this ambitious policy platform, we make six offers on inclusive and responsible growth, including a national effort to reach net zero, powered by mutuality and community.

We also set out five policy priorities that, if delivered on, would unleash our potential:

  1. Unlock options for co-operatives to raise more capital from investors and communities: Including legislative reform, tax reform and action by the British Business Bank
  2. Remove unnecessary barriers to co-operation: Including improving co-operative law and regulation and making competition enforcement more supportive of desirable economic co-operation
  3. Accelerate the proliferation of replicable co-operative solutions in broken systems like energy, housing, social care, data and culture: Including by supporting secondary co-operative networks and other specialist intermediaries, and by removing barriers in sector-specific policy
  4. Ensure communities, workers, entrepreneurs and businesses are supported to explore and adopt co-operative options for realising their aspirations: By resourcing local co-operative development and creating new legal rights for workers and communities to bid for businesses and business assets at critical junctures
  5. Harness co-operative action on climate and the environment - by fully utilising co-operative and community-led solutions in the net zero transition, and ensuring all businesses, including co-operatives, can access the advice and finance they need to decarbonise

If you unleash our potential, we will deliver.

Signed by …

Footnotes

  1. https://climate.copernicus.eu/surface-air-temperature-march-2024
  2. https://www.iea.org/reports/co2-emissions-in-2023
  3. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/
  4. https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/2023-progress-report-to-parliament/#key-messages
  5. https://www.ft.com/content/74aa573a-0e3b-4d30-b676-47400abbc62e
  6. https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/resilient-supply-chains/
  7. https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/independent-assessment-of-the-third-national-adaptation-programme/#introduction
  8. Small co-operatives are five times more likely than small firms generally to be decarbonising their business. Large consumer co-operatives lead the way in retail with science-based net zero targets and inclusive employment practices. Worker co-operatives are 75% more likely than comparators to have a decarbonisation plan, while also being more than twice as likely to have fair pay accreditation.
  9. https://www.uk.coop/resources/green-jobs-case-co-operative-growth
Contact details
Please confirm you are a representative of the co-operative and have agreement to sign the letter on its behalf.

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