Friends of the Earth is taking on the Treasury in its latest campaign which aims to make the inner workings of the department more transparent.

The environmental charity accuses the department of ultimately blocking many environmental campaigns through its opposition. The new campaign hopes to persuade the department to place the low-carbon economy at the centre of the UK’s economic and finance system.  

Friends of the Earth explains: “Often the person who heads the Treasury – the chancellor, currently George Osborne – is the real problem. But not always. We think there’s a cultural and institutional problem with the Treasury itself: the models it uses, the assumptions it holds and the value (or lack of it) it places on preserving a healthy environment.

“We know that there are people inside Treasury who understand that building a long-term, green and efficient economy requires a new way of thinking. We think their voices need to be heard.”

The charity references the Treasury’s opposition to the Green Investment Bank, the budget imposed on renewable support and the continued tax breaks for oil and gas as reasons why the new campaign is important.

Writing on the charity’s blog, David Powell, FoE’s economic campaigner listed three main problems with the Treasury: its ideology, structure and accessibility. Powell argues that the Treasury has increasingly focused on the environment as a cost, not a benefit – a fact illustrated by Osborne’s latest line that “going green doesn’t have to cost the earth” in the Autumn Statement.

Powell also argues that one of the key challenges is the transparency of the Treasury, with FoE constantly forced to turn to freedom of information requests to get information on internal workings.

The charity is calling for people with stories of Treasury obstructionism to get in touch with it and to share ideas on how the environment can be placed at the heart of financial decision making.