Our national environmental programme exists to enable the whole Church to address — in faith, practice, and mission — the issue of climate change and care of creation.
In 2005, General Synod agreed on the need for Churchwide action on issues of climate change following the report Sharing God’s Planet. Since then, the Church’s environment programme has been working on a number of different initiatives and is currently helping the Church work towards being net zero carbon emissions by 2030. This is in line with the Synod motion passed in February 2020.
Some examples of our work include:
- Providing guidance for churches on heating, lighting, and renewable energy.
- Increasing awareness of the links between climate change and faith through the creation of resources for church engagement e.g. Creationtide resources (1st Sept–4th Oct) and the plastic-free lent challenge.
- Shaping policy in the House of Lords.
- Partnering with campaigns and interfaith work such as the Glasgow Multifaith Declaration, ahead of COP26, and The Lambeth Declaration for COP21.
- Churchyard tree conferences and grants for ancient yews
See what we've been up to recently on our news page.
Who is involved?
The group brings together experts to help oversee, advise and support the environment programme.
- Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam (Chair) — Bishop of Salisbury
- Rt Revd Graham Usher — Bishop of Norwich
- Rt Revd Olivia Graham - Bishop of Reading
- Rt Revd John Thompson - Bishop of Selby
- The Ven Stephen Taylor — Archdeacon of Maidstone
- Revd Canon Giles Goddard — Vicar and member of Synod Environment Group
- Philip Fletcher — Chair of Southwark Diocesan Advisory Committee
- Revd Canon Dr Victoria Johnson — Canon at Ely Cathedral and member of Mission & Public Affairs Council
- Revd Dave Bookless — Director of Theology for A Rocha International
- Dr Robyn Pender — Senior Architectural Conservator at Historic England and member of the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England
- Jemima Parker — Diocesan Environment Officer, Leeds
- Becky Clark — Director of Cathedral and Church Buildings Division
- Malcolm Brown — Director of Mission and Public Affairs Division
- Mark Betson — National Rural Officer, MPA
- Robyn Ford - Estates and Policy Officer, Education Office
Jo Chamberlain — Environment Officer, Mission and Public Affairs (07884 751915) email
Catherine Ross — Open and Sustainable Churches Officer (0207 898 1865) email
David Shreeve — Environmental Adviser (0207 591 3111) email
Our carbon footprint
We are committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030. We have recently launched the Energy Footprint Tool to enable our churches to calculate their carbon footprint. We are also currently consulting with dioceses on the best ways to measure the carbon footprint of all their emissions, sharing ideas through our webinar programme.
In 2012 and 2013, we ran a national energy audit of our cathedrals, churches, schools, clergy houses, and offices. We produced a snapshot of our carbon footprint at that moment.
What where the highlights?
The audit helped us calculate the average carbon footprint of our churches by floor area.
- Small church (<250m2) = 7 tonnes of CO2
- Medium church (250–649m2) = 17 tonnes of CO2
- Large church (>649m2) = 40 tonnes of CO2
Where do you fit in?
We know that back in 2012 our energy use was between 600k and 1M tonnes of CO2. This was down from the 2007 figure.
We also found out where our carbon footprint was coming from; over half from our schools (where the heating and lighting is on for the majority of the week, at a temperature suitable for children) and about 2/5 from our churches.
In 2012-2013, our total energy costs were about £124,000,000.
We believe that we could save around 10% by using no and low-cost energy solutions. That’s about £12,400,000 a year.
How has the national energy audit helped?
Collective energy monitoring has benefited people at all levels of the Church.
Our more recent energy audit programme has helped us gain a much greater understanding of how energy use varies across our thousands of churches. This has helped us develop our guidance on a Practical Path to Net Zero.
We know that the biggest use of energy in our churches is heating. We have recently issued new guidance on heating principles and are currently updating our heating guidance.
Dioceses were able to collectively track the energy use of all their buildings. It helped them monitor their progress towards the reduction target. And it enabled them to identify and support specific buildings in need of help.
The audit helped us understand the energy use and carbon footprint of our built estate. It allowed us to track our progress towards our 2030 target. And it helped us identify where to focus our limited resources and funds.
Join others around the world
The Anglican Communion involves about 85 million Christians in over 165 countries.
We are united in five marks of mission. One of these is the commitment ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’.
We work with the Communion Environmental Network to bring the dramatic impacts felt by our neighbours closer to our hearts. In many areas our sisters and brothers experience conflict, food shortages and extreme weather caused by the changing climate.
We need to work together to care for our common home.