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What we do: Shrinking the Footprint

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‘Shrinking the Footprint’ is the strapline for the Church of England’s Environmental Programme. The footprint referred to includes the environmental impacts of all we do. This is mainly the energy use and carbon footprint of our buildings; it is crucial that these should be reduced.

Every church, congregation and church member needs to be involved in this effort. It forms a major part of the Diocese’s programmes on the Environment and Sustainability.

The Diocese of London first adopted the ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ campaign in 2006.

The Five Marks of Mission

The Five Marks of Mission were established by the worldwide Anglican Communion. Care for the environment is mandated by the Fifth Mark of Mission, ‘striving to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth’. It also involves aspects of all the others:

  • The Good News of the Kingdom includes the redemption of ‘all things’ (Col 1:20).
  • The teaching of new believers should include communicating the need to care for God’s Creation.
  • Human need includes the needs of the many people caught up every day in the effects of environmental degradation.
  • Unjust structures include the promotion of consumerism, the dominance of economic growth at any price, the accumulation of disproportionate resources by a few.

Church and Earth

In 2009, the Church of England published its long term plan, Church and Earth – which the Diocese of London also adopted.

Church and Earth can be downloaded from the foot of this page.


The Church of England aims to reduce its energy use and carbon footprint by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, compared with 2006.

The 2050 target was adopted in 2008, with the interim target for 2020 introduced a year later, in 2009, after publication of ‘Church and Earth’.

We must start by putting our own house in order – planning and managing reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for which the Church in the Diocese is directly responsible.

Route 2050 is the Diocese’s long-term plan to reduce the carbon footprint of its buildings and property by these amounts at least – including St Paul’s Cathedral, our more than 480 churches, all our church schools and houses.


From 2005 to 2017, churches in the Diocese saved 14.6% of their energy use, reducing their carbon footprint by 13.7% – that’s 17.2% if reductions in the carbon intensity of electricity are taken into account. This still leaves an annual footprint of 17,400 tonnes CO2e.

To read more about progress each year, see Route 2050.

The diocesan office at 36 Causton Street has exceeded our targets and achieved net carbon neutrality for fuel and power, since 2014. See London Diocesan House slashes carbon footprint.

Read more about our environmental work so far.

To find out more

Contact Brian Cuthbertson, Head of Environment and Sustainability.


Church of England Environment Programme
A Rocha UK and Eco Church
Operation Noah (ON)
ON Ash Wednesday Declaration: ‘Climate Change and the Purposes of God’.

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