The following is a draft of the Friends of the Earth Local Action Group Charter and is subject to change.
Friends of the Earth Local Action Group Charter
This charter forms an agreement between Friends of the Earth Limited and a Local Action Group that wishes to be part of the Friends of the Earth network. It must be signed by all groups.
Local Action Groups
Local Action Groups are people who have come together to campaign on environmental issues and environmental justice in their community. They work collaboratively with each other, and alongside partners, with a focus that can range from the very local to the global bigger picture. Local Action Groups are part of a larger network of similar groups across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and follow the guidelines, values and expectations set out in this document.
Local Action Groups work in partnership with the national Friends of the Earth organisation to promote our shared vision, while enjoying some autonomy in their campaigning activities. The parties work in harmony with one another under a common set of values and behaviours outlined in this charter.
For the purposes of this document “Friends of the Earth” refers to Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the national Friends of the Earth organisation. “Local Action Groups”, “The group” or “groups” refers to you – the group signing this charter.
Our shared values
Local Action Groups and Friends of the Earth follow and act according to the following values.
Justice-centred: we understand the climate and ecological crises disproportionately affect those least responsible for them and are linked to other social justice and rights issues. We understand many of us have benefitted from the mechanisms that have caused the crises. To help right these wrongs, we must continue to learn and question those that affect us all.
Inclusive: to build a fairer greener future for everyone, we need to make sure everyone can be involved. We work in a way that’s accessible, welcoming and respectful of all. We reach out to people from communities that are under-represented and we actively speak out against any form of discrimination.
Brave: we won’t solve the climate crisis by sticking to the status quo. We need to step out of our comfort zone to stand up for what we believe to be right. We’ll be open to new ideas, challenging ourselves to think and act innovatively. We won’t be afraid to fail and will learn from our mistakes.
Collaborative: we need to work together to tackle the climate crisis. In our community action groups, we enable members to take on leadership roles, we share responsibilities, and we create opportunities for people to get involved. We’re generous towards other movements and recognise the experience and value of others. We’re open to building bridges, uniting communities and people, supporting each other and sharing our knowledge and skills.
Action-focused: we’re committed to securing action, and not settling for empty promises. Once a commitment is made, we’ll be there to make sure it’s seen through. And in our own campaigning, we’re committed to being active and creative to help maintain a vibrant and lively movement.
Fun: it’s a big crisis we’re facing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun solving it. We’ll seek out the things we enjoy doing throughout our campaigning and work together to make our community action groups safe and exciting places for people. And we’ll build our resilience by looking after ourselves and each other.
A Local Action Group must:
- Actively campaign on environmental and/or justice and sustainability issues. Local Action Groups are free to determine their own campaigning activities and may choose to work on a Friends of the Earth national campaign, cooperate with other groups on a shared campaign, participate in a time limited mobilisation or project (such as a green event or campaign week of action), or a self-organised local campaign or relevant issue – or a combination of these.
- Be visible, maintain a public profile and provide regular meaningful opportunities for new people to get involved. Local Action Groups should hold regular meetings that new members can attend.
- Engage in the wider Friends of the Earth movement, and provide Friends of the Earth with an update on the profile and activities of the group twice a year at least.
- Have at least one named coordinator, who is the main point of contact between Friends of the Earth and the Local Action Group, and is responsible for ensuring they stay aligned with this charter and the terms set out in the Trademark Licence Agreement if applicable. Beyond these duties, the Local Action Group is free to distribute work as it wishes, and we encourage a working culture where everyone is contributing.
- Maintain a culture of openness and inclusiveness, and actively work to ensure everybody feels included and involved in decision-making, regardless of identity or background.
- Keep records of its finances and make them available for review by members of the group and Friends of the Earth if necessary. This is to ensure transparency and quick resolution in the case of any financial disputes.
- Aim to promote and protect our shared reputation as Friends of the Earth.
Friends of the Earth will:
- Provide information, support, training and networking opportunities to help Local Action Groups organise, campaign and participate in national activities.
- Enable Local Action Groups to participate in Friends of the Earth’s strategy and national campaigns planning.
- Communicate regularly with Local Action Groups about campaigns and important information, and keep them informed about relevant Friends of the Earth planned activities (for example, in their vicinity).
- Provide an initial response to enquiries as soon as possible, and within 5 working days at the latest.
- Provide public liability insurance to cover normal Local Action Group activities.
- Provide grants that Local Action Groups can apply for to support their campaigning activities.
- Provide free resources to Local Action Groups to support their campaigning actions.
- Promote Local Action Groups on Friends of the Earth websites and through communication channels such as social media.
- Welcome input from Local Action Groups and seek feedback on resources and projects that directly affect them, and facilitate communication between groups to support collaboration and information sharing.
- Champion and maintain the strength of Local Action Groups.
Duration of agreement
This agreement begins as soon as it’s signed and will continue for as long as the Local Action Group and Friends of the Earth want it to continue, or until it’s terminated (see below).
Use of Friends of the Earth’s trademark
The Local Action Group can describe itself as part of the Friends of the Earth network of groups when representing itself locally. Unless specifically authorised to do so by Friends of the Earth, the Local Action Group can’t claim to be acting on behalf of Friends of the Earth.
The Local Action Group must only make use of the trademarked term “Friends of the Earth” in its name after signing a Trademark Licence Agreement (separate to this document).
All Local Action Groups are expected to adhere to terms, values and behaviours set out in this charter (and the trademark licence if they using Friends of the Earth’s name). Friends of the Earth reserves the right to deregister/delicence any Local Action Group that doesn’t adhere to the values and requirements laid out in this group charter.
Either party may terminate this agreement at any time. If Friends of the Earth terminates this charter, then we will provide one month’s notice along with the reasons for the termination. Friends of the Earth may also terminate this agreement with immediate effect in the case of serious breaches of its values and expected behaviours.
Acting within the law and in line with Friends of the Earth policies
The Local Action Group shall ensure that all its activities are lawful and in agreement with Friends of the Earth policies and guidelines. These policies are summarised here, and are available to view in full on our grassroots website
- Data protection
Local Action Groups should ensure their activities are in line with the current regulations on data protection.
- Party political impartiality
Local Action Groups must not endorse any political party or candidate at any time, nor work with any party or candidate during an election period.
- Protest and non-violent direct action
Local Action Groups are required to adhere to Friends of the Earth’s policy of protest and non-violent direct action (NVDA). As such, they should not organise, promote or participate in unlawful activity.
Local Action Groups should abide by the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice when raising money, whether this money is meant to fund the group activities or intended to be donated to Friends of the Earth.
Local Action Groups must be aware of and work within Friends of the Earth’s safeguarding policy, which covers work with children and vulnerable adults.
Local Action Groups must not engage in hostile action against any individuals, other parts of Friends of the Earth or its affiliated and related organisations that could jeopardise the reputation of Friends of the Earth. In the case of disputes between Local Action Groups, coordinators should contact their regional staff for guidance and be open to mediation to resolve issues.
Friends of the Earth assumes a Local Action Group doesn’t have charitable status at the time of signing this agreement. If at any time a Local Action Group wishes to apply for charitable status or a group with existing charitable status wishes to sign this agreement, it must first discuss with Friends of the Earth. Charitable status places restrictions on political campaigning work which may make the requirement that community action groups campaign on environmental issues difficult to meet.
Agency and partnership
Local Action Groups are covered by Friends of the Earth’s indemnity insurance, which covers what we consider to be normal group activities. If the Local Action Group undertakes any activity that falls outside the activities specified in the insurance documentation, it is liable for this. Please speak to your regional staff if you’re unsure.
Friends of the Earth and the Local Action Group aren’t considered partners or joint venturers in a legal sense. This means the Local Action Group isn’t entitled to act as an agent or representative of Friends of the Earth, and Friends of the Earth is not liable for group activity outside that specified by our indemnity insurance.