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New green guide for churches as over half struggle to change due to lack of money

by Donna Birrell

Church insurer Ecclesiastical has published guidance to help churches reduce their climate impact.

It comes as the Church of England is aiming to reach net zero by 2030, but despite positive steps being taken by many churches, almost one in six (16 per cent) churches said that they weren’t taking any steps to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Findings from a survey carried out by Ecclesiastical Insurance and The Bible Society also revealed 72 per cent said they would like to do more to reduce their footprint, but that they were faced with a number of hurdles to do so.

Over half of churches said they didn’t have the funds to make changes, while 29 per cent said that they didn’t know enough about the issue to understand what they could or should do. More than a quarter said they hadn’t got the skills needed to carry out more work.

However, recent research by Ecclesiastical found 57 per cent of churches are switching to LED lighting, and 52 per cent are taking steps to reduce paper usage. Thirty-five per cent are training volunteers to help reduce their carbon footprint and 31 per cent are switching to a renewable energy supplier.

The guide, entitled Climate Change and Your Church, covers how churches can manage present day challenges, including dealing with extreme weather, and maintaining and heating church buildings efficiently, as well as prepare for the future by providing risk management advice on alternative heating and energy options.

It also covers what climate change means for insurance and provides links to further guidance and financial support for churches.

Helen Richards, church director at Ecclesiastical insurance, said: “We know churches up and down the country believe reducing their climate impact is part of their mission to protect God’s creation, and many of them are taking steps to reach net zero.

“As the leading insurer of churches, we want to support churches to navigate the risks and challenges they may face in adapting their buildings for a lower carbon future.

“We hope this guide supports their journey to become more climate resilient, so we can help churches to thrive and preserve their amazing buildings from climate change for generations to come.”

The Church of England’s 2021 Carbon Emissions Report revealed that church buildings emitted around 411,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

Ecclesiastical Insurance is part of the Benefact Group, owned by the Benefact Trust which recently pledged £1.5m towards a major climate project, which will support 60 churches - over two years - to achieve net zero by the end of 2025.



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