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What we do: Shrinking the Footprint

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‘Shrinking the Footprint’ was the original brand name for the Church of England Environment Programme.

The Diocese of London first adopted the ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ campaign in 2006, and continues a committed supporter and advocate of the national CoE Environment Programme.

The footprint referred to includes the impacts of all we do on the natural environment, which is God’s Creation. This is mainly the energy use and carbon footprint of our buildings; it is crucial that these should be radically 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 Caring for God’s Creation.

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.

Eco Church

Every church in the Diocese is encouraged to sign up to Eco Church, the nationwide Christian environmental awards scheme, and to take action towards gaining an Eco Church award.

Participation in Eco Church helps to build environmmental concern into every aspect of the church’s worship and mission.

Energy use and carbon emissions

Targets

In February 2020, the General Synod of the Church of England set a target of reaching Net Zero carbon across the whole Church of England by 2030.

In March 2020, London Diocesan Synod established a revised Diocesan Environmental Policy, affirming and adopting the motion passed by General Synod.

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

Parish Annual Returns

The first step towards cutting carbon emissions from buildings is to measure their energy use.

Energy and carbon emissions from churches in the Diocese have been measured and reported since 2005, using the system of Parish Annual Returns.

This now forms part of the national Church of England system of online Annual Returns.

Climate Action Programme

Efforts by churches to measure and reduce their energy use and carbon emissions are supported by the Diocese’s Climate Action Programme.

This has included programmes of Environmental Audits, the Diocese’s Generic Building Solutions programme, and a bespoke system of Energy-Saving Benchmarking.

Climate Action Projects

Having measured and benchmarked energy use and carbon emissions, the next step is to make changes to buildings and their pattern of use so as to increase efficiency and drive down emissions.

A wide range of such Climate Action Projects have been undertaken. This includes projects funded by Cloudesley’s 500th Anniversary Grants Programme, as well as many others around all parts of the Diocese.

Progress

From 2005 to 2018, churches in the Diocese saved 19.5% of their energy use, reducing their carbon footprint by 21.7%. This still leaves an annual footprint of some 16,400 tonnes CO2e, just for premises and buildings.

The diocesan office at 36 Causton Street has achieved net carbon neutrality for fuel and power, since 2014.

Wildlife and biodiversity

The Diocese’s contribution to the national Church of England Environment Programme also includes promoting the care of wildlife in churchyards.

This has been the focus of the Diocese’s Churchyards for London programme.

Water and waste

Alongside efforts to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions, churches are encouraged and supported in conserving water and disposing of their waste, with a view to achieving zero to landfilol recycling.

Transport

Churches and members of their congregations are encouraged to minimise the impact on the environment and climate of their travel arrangements, especially to and from church.

Lifestyle and food

Every church and congregation member is encouraged to consider the impact of their personal lives on the environment, and to make informed choices which help us better in caring for God’s Creation.

Links

Head of Environment and Sustainability.

Church of England Environment Programme
Five Marks of Mission
Eco Church.

Diocesan Synod Report 2020 on the Environment and Sustainability
Diocesan Environmental Policy
Environmental work so far
Climate Action Programme
Climate Action Projects
Cloudesley’s 500th Anniversary Church Grant Programme
Diocesan House offices net zero carbon.

Churchyards for London
Conserving water
Waste collection and recycling
Transport and air travel
Food and drink.

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

Environment and Sustainability, front page.

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