May 29

#PublicFinance4Climate: Phone Banking Guide


Phone banking is a tactic used by campaigns, where volunteers and people who support the campaign contact the target to bring the campaign issue to the target’s attention as well as ask them to heed to the call of the campaign.

Phone banking campaigns are an effective way to connect hundreds of people to engage with key decision-makers about public policy issues. On May 29, we’re asking you to call the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), to bring attention to the call for them to come out with a fossil fuel exclusion policy and for them to instead support solutions to the climate crisis as well as a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A just recovery means rebuilding and re-tooling our economy in a way that works for the many and, not the already wealthy few. It means guaranteeing universal access to healthcare, housing, social protection, education, and a clean environment as basic human rights. It means creating millions of good-paying jobs in industries that don’t hurt the environment and don’t pollute our communities. It also means demanding equitable solutions to the climate crisis, so that no member of our society will be forgotten or unjustly bear the costs of climate change.

As a public finance institution, the IDC can play a critical role in supporting South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that ensure that the country can be more resilient to shocks and crises like climate change. Public funds should no longer be used to prop up fossil fuel sources like coal. They should fund ambitious policies that create jobs in sustainable and clean sectors.


  1. Speak in your own words, use the script below as a guide.
  2. Use the directory to call the IDC office in your region. You may also call other regional offices. 
  3. You could let IDC know that public finance institutions are seriously falling behind commercial banks like Nedbank which has committed to no longer finance new coal power plants. Nedbank is also the first South African company to have a climate-related resolution it tabled itself passed by its shareholders. On 22 May 2020 Nedbank shareholders voted to adopt a sustainable energy policy and disclose fossil fuel-related lending. This decision by Nedbank stakeholders is a good step forward towards aligning the bank’s financial flows with global goals to reduce carbon emissions. 
  4. If you are asked questions by IDC representative, please record/write them down and share them with the team. If you are unable to respond to any of their questions, politely let them know that you do not have an answer and that you will follow up with a response at a later date. If needed, can support you with your response. 


Greet the person who answers, say:

I’m calling you in support of the campaign, and want to ask the IDC to commit to not funding fossil fuels.

Ask to speak to the contact person in the directory. If there is no contact person listed, ask who the best person to speak to would be.

When you have the opportunity, you can elaborate on the reason for your call using the ideas below.
More detailed reason for the call

South Africa is experiencing significant impacts of climate change which have resulted in increased temperatures and persistent drought conditions in parts of our country since 2015. This drought has had a devastating impact on food and water security – issues which are worsening for rural and working-class communities under COVID-19. I am calling IDC today, to ask the institution to do its part in helping South Africa slow down climate change. I am requesting the IDC to come up with a policy that states that it will no longer provide financing to fossil fuel projects and that it supports solutions to the climate crisis as well as a just recovery from the pandemic.

Our “ask” of the IDC

To stop further climate breakdown, we urgently need to bring South Africa’s addiction to fossil fuels to an end. One way to do this is for public finance institutions like IDC to stop financing fossil fuels. This means putting in place measures that exclude direct and indirect finance of fossil fuel companies and infrastructure such as coal plants. I am counting on you to send this message to the IDC board, management as well as your fellow colleagues. 

This campaign and COVID-19

COVID-19 is disrupting our world. Any economic response to the virus must not exacerbate the climate crisis. Now is the time for public finance institutions like the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to chart a new development path – starting with a just recovery – which means rebuilding and re-tooling our economy in a way that works for the many and, not the already-wealthy few. In fact, this is a moment to reallocate capital to have a more positive impact on workers and communities by centering climate justice in planning and decision making. 

Appreciation for the IDC’s work

While I appreciate some of the measures that the IDC has taken to support small businesses in light of COVID-19, and value the IDC’s historic support towards renewable energy solutions, these great steps risk being undermined without a public commitment to stop fossil fuel financing. 

Suggested wrap-up

Thank you for taking my call. I hope you acknowledge that the IDC’s continued support for the fossil fuel industry is not compatible with building a climate-resilient South Africa and that you will forward my message to management. We need just and sustainable measures to empower people and workers, particularly those marginalized in the existing system! 


Report Back

Let us know how your call went – who did you speak to and what did they say? Email and share your experience on social media using the hashtag suggestions below: