This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard United Kingdom Country Managers Thomas Christensen and Gwenyth Wren
The Green Alliance is an independent think tank and charity operating in the United Kingdom since 1979. It works to accelerate political action and foster ambitious leadership for the environment in order to create transformative policy for a zero-waste economy. For the 2020 financial year, the Green Alliance received over £64.19k in donations. The majority of Green Alliance’s income is generated through trusts, donations from foundations, NGOs or businesses. The NGO receives donations from many organizations based in the UK including Client Earth, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace UK, WWF UK, National Trust, European Climate Foundation, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and more. The NGO has a membership scheme for individuals, with over 300 members, who contribute to the organisation through a regular fee. In total, the organization employs 26 workers and has 11 trustees.
Green Alliance’s mission is to work with partners and businesses to increase political engagement, grow their network of progressive business and city leaders, keep people informed of environmental issues and evidence, and support expert analysis of environmental policies. A central aim of Green Alliance is to build political support for environmental issues by growing opportunities for non-partisan collaboration for Members of Parliament (MPs) to tackle climate issues. One of the ways in which they do this is through their Climate Leadership Programme, where for the last ten years MPs and politicians have had the chance to build relationships and learn about climate impacts. Through this Programme, they have produced policy recommendations including Power to the People published in July 2019 and have influenced the design of the subsequent Climate Assembly UK, commissioned by six parliamentary committees and held in spring 2020.
Many of the MPs who took part in this Programme went on to become some of the strongest advocates for climate ambition in the following parliament. As part of the Green Alliance’s political engagement initiative for the UK general election in 2019, the organization engaged with all main parties and produced a manifesto of environmental priorities. To raise the importance of climate and the environment as election issues, the Green Alliance hosted a televised leadership debate touching upon these topics. Not only did this impact the electorate, but the parliamentarians had the chance to address their platforms stance on a number of environmental issues. The Green Alliance was also the official host of Greta Thunberg’s widely reported speech to parliament, including environment minister, Michael Gove. The impact of this work positions the UK within the global debate and momentum around climate change action.
Green Alliance works in partnership with NGOs to provide political parties with the ideas and strategies needed to put environmental priorities at the heart of their policies. It recently hosted a “Countdown to the COP26” conference that featured businesses, young people’s, and scientists’ expectations for the summit.
A scale-up of the Programme within the UK would take the form of a mandatory training, workshops, or conferences for all MPs to engage with one another across party lines and achieve real change. Fostering these discussions and teaching in a non-partisan space based on rigorous scientific evidence and community involvement could help inform and inspire leaders. The Green Alliance through fundraising efforts can grow the Climate Leadership Programme in order to build capacity in politicians to better understand the impacts of climate change on the economy, environment, and communities. This would ensure that they are developing the right policy to meet the needs of citizens and future generations.
The Climate Leadership Programme is a project that could be transferred to any country with a receptive government. It would involve working with different government officials to cultivate deeper understandings of climate change and, especially, what their role can accomplish at the constituent and national level.
Rt Honourable George Eustice Secretary, State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs