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Diocesan Environmental Policy

The Environmental Policy of the Diocese of London was adopted by Diocesan Synod on 12 March 2020.

 

Caring for God’s Creation

General Synod on 12th February 2020 passed a motion in the following terms:

“That this Synod, recognising that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation, and a fundamental injustice, and following the call of the Anglican Communion in ACC Resolutions A17.05 and A17.06:

(a) call upon all parts of the Church of England, including parishes, BMOs, education institutions, dioceses, cathedrals and the NCIs, to work to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions and urgently examine what would be required to reach net zero emissions by 2030, in order that a plan of action can be drawn up to achieve that target;

(b) request reports on progress from the Environment Working Group and the NCIs every three years beginning in 2022, and

(c) call on each Diocesan Synod and Cathedral Chapter to address progress toward net zero emissions every three years.”

Diocesan Synod affirms and adopts the above resolution.

Theological basis

We believe that care for God’s creation is a foundational biblical command and a gospel imperative; it is central to Christian Mission.

We will embrace, respect and cherish the natural world as God ‘saw that it was very good’, in all its aspects, including the animals and plants and other kingdoms of life. (Genesis 1)

We recognise our shared plight as part of a creation which is ‘groaning in travail’; and we acknowledge in humility and penitence the burden laid upon it by our human depredations.

Yet we rejoice in the vision, and gladly take up the challenge, which flows from the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, who ‘made peace between earth and heaven through his blood shed on the Cross’, and so enabled the whole creation to be redeemed and reconciled to God, to be ‘liberated from its bondage to decay’ and ‘brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God’. We are called as Christ’s Body to repair and make whole what has been tragically sundered and marred, to be His agents of transformation and redemption. (Romans 8, 20-22; Colossians 1, 20)

The ‘Fifth Mark of Mission’, ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’; along with the other four – ‘To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom … ; To teach … new believers, respond to human need … ; To seek to transform unjust structures … ‘; should therefore permeate the one holistic Mission of the Church. (Anglican Consultative Council, Cardiff, 1990)

Our response

We will take our environmental impact and use of resources fully into account in our work, worship, study, education, preaching, training, outreach, pastoral care, travel, administration, projects and programmes.

We will embrace more and more a spirit of Christian joy and fullness of life – taking delight in frugality, cultivating simplicity with celebration, moving with the rhythms of the week and of the seasons, invoking the Spirit of Life in Christ in our worship, in the Eucharist, and in transforming prayer.

We will strive to adapt our own lives, to the point where we become fully sustainable in all we do, in harmony with the natural world which God created. We will encourage all church members to consider their impact on the environment, in their individual and family lives.

We will seek to increase the awareness of environmental issues in our communities throughout the Diocese, and in the wider world.

We accept our responsibility towards young people, and to minority groups; and our God-ordained responsibilities as humans to other living creatures.

We will work with young people and minority groups to make the aims of this policy a reality.

We also recognise that the efforts we commit to will have to be sustained by our successors after we are gone; and we will seek to promote the generational change to make this possible.

Action

  1. In accordance with the resolution of General Synod, the Diocese of London will develop
    a Framework Action Plan, to coordinate efforts to work towards achieving Net Zero Carbon status by 2030. (By ‘carbon’ is meant greenhouse gases (GHGs), measured in CO2 equivalent (CO2e).) We will set targets, working to achieve and exceed those targets, and updating the plan as we progress.
  2. To that end, target reductions in energy use in our buildings will be 25% by 2025,
    30% by 2030 and 40% by 2040, from our original baseline of 2005.
  3. Every church and constituent of the diocese will be encouraged to offset residual
    emissions through an efficient approved greenhouse gas offsetting scheme – that offsetting reducing as emissions reductions grow and are sustained. We will develop a plan for such offsetting.
  4. We will promote participation by parishes in the Eco Church scheme, supporting work towards Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
  5. Diocesan House staff including the Head of Environment and Sustainability (HES) shall promote and support implementation of the aims and objectives of this policy, working with diocesan, area and deanery synods and councils, with parishes and other staff, diocesan working groups and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC).
  6. The HES shall collaborate with the National Church and other appropriate agencies, and shall provide such information and advice to stakeholders as is necessary to inform all action in pursuit of the aims of this policy.
  7. We will seek to support the work of church members in our deaneries and parishes, promoting sharing and cooperation between environmental champions and church groups.
  8. We will collaborate with representatives of other Christian denominations, as well as other faiths and secular bodies that actively share our concern for the environment.

Energy and resources conservation

  1. We will strive to avoid wasting resources. We will seek to conserve water and maximise
    recycling.
  2. We will conserve energy as far as possible, and obtain it where feasible from renewable sources.
  3. We will undertake audits of the use and handling of energy, water and waste, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in relation to diocesan and parochial premises and property; and of the care of wildlife and biodiversity in our churchyards. The results of these audits shall inform efforts to reduce our negative impact and resources use.
  4. Together with the DAC, we will assist and advise upon measures to mitigate the impact
    of a changing climate on the fabric, contents and continued appropriate use of our church buildings.
  5. We will encourage increasing use of our churches as centres of refuge and support in times of climate, environmental and societal crisis.
  6. We will seek to obtain materials, goods and services from renewable sources – and when
    worn out to adapt and re-use them where possible; when we have to dispose of them we will endeavour to do so in a non-damaging way.
  7. We will give prayerful and informed consideration to our own lifestyles, including means of transport and purchase of consumer goods; to the food and drink we consume, how they are grown, transported and sold – manifesting practical love for our neighbours at home and overseas who labour to produce the food which we enjoy; not wasting it; acting with compassion towards sentient animals, whilst taking due care of our bodies as temples of God’s Holy Spirit.

Projects and Finance

  1. In accordance with the Framework Action Plan, we will promote and support efforts to improve the energy performance and reduce the GHG emissions and other environmental impacts from diocesan and church property by making alterations and improvements, including insulation and double glazing, LED lighting, upgrading and replacement of heating systems and controls, and installing renewable energy technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps.
  2. Such projects and programmes shall be carefully planned so as to optimise the resulting savings in energy and emissions and their contribution to targets, while minimising costs and maximising return on investment. Projects will be appraised, budgeted and selected for approval on their merits, in these terms. We will assist in seeking all appropriate and necessary funding for approved projects, by means of grants as well as parish giving and other sources. Such improvements shall then be implemented, and finance expended, in a professional, economical and efficient manner.

Standards and accountability

We will comply with all applicable statutory requirements. We will seek to match our performance to the highest relevant standards of good practice. We will continue to report to Synod every two years on progress in relation to this policy.

Every three years, we will review our aims and targets, and this policy, according to national and international information and standards, based on the best available scientific evidence, and national policy of the Church of England, and report to the next available Diocesan Synod meeting in accordance with the above.

Contrition and compassion

We recognise and lament that, living in the UK and the developed world, we have made a greater contribution than other parts of the world to GHG emissions, and to damaging environmental impacts from these and other causes.

We acknowledge that it is unjust that the people of many of those places are the very ones who most suffer the adverse consequences.

We accept responsibility to do our utmost to soften these impacts and the suffering which they cause.

Informed by the experience of our partner dioceses in Angola and Mozambique, we will encourage all our churches to make contributions to our brothers and sisters and their communities to help them recover from disasters and build resilience for the future.

We will strive to be the ‘salt of the earth and the light of the world’ in mediating comfort, help and stability to our neighbours and communities, our city, our nation and God’s world.

In all we do in relation to the natural world, we will seek the guidance, strength and protection, as well as the forgiveness when we fall short, of God our Creator and Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Environment and Sustainability, front page.


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