Representative Church Body of the Church of Ireland Steps Up Its Commitment to Tackling Climate Change

Church of Ireland logoThe Representative Church Body of the Church of Ireland (RCB) has been stepping up its commitment to address the problem of Climate Change in the broadest way possible. A dedicated section on Environmental Sustainability has been established under the Parish Resources section of the website containing information on various Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues including the RCB’s policy on Climate Change and a sample Energy Audit for parishes to undertake.

Following on from this commitment the RCB joined the Climate Action 100+ initiative at the end of November as a founding signatory and supporter.  The Climate Action 100+ is an investor initiative to engage with world’s largest corporate Greenhouse Gas emitters (across various industries and sectors) to curb emissions, strengthen climate disclosures and improve climate governance. The initiative was officially launched on 12 December at the One Planet Paris Climate Summit with the support of 225 investors overseeing a combined $26.3 Trillion in assets.

A number of other initiatives are also being undertaken. A pilot scheme has been established by the RCB’s Property Committee involving 10 parishes in the Dioceses of Down and Dromore with a view to reviewing the efficiency of existing energy management controls and to make recommendations for improvements to systems in parish halls/centres.

A further pilot scheme has been established as a result of a recent proposal to locate beehives on RCB property from Spring 2018.  From a conservation point of view, bees pollinate plants and also help to maintain biodiversity.  The Property Committee also has a strategy on trees; for every tree that has to be cut down on church property, two trees must be re-planted in its place, where practicably possible.

For Lent, the RCB is participating in a collaborative initiative alongside Eco-Congregation and Bishops Appeal – 'Jars4Journeys' whereby people will be asked to save an old jam jar or other recyclable container and each time they embark on a journey that is not on foot or by bike, they give a small donation. The money raised will go to three conservation projects that protect, support and build resilience among some of the poorest communities who are the most affected by climate change.

In recognition of the global climate crisis one response in Church House is to put an end to the use of the non-recyclable, disposable coffee cups. Instead the plan is to switch to reusable and thus, much more sustainable, coffee cups.  The staff have been trialling the KeepCup and these have now been made available to all RCB staff. KeepCups are a sensible and sustainable choice as they emit 35 times less Co2-eq emissions and require 12 times less non-renewable energy than disposable cups.

We look forward to continuing to improve and develop these and other ‘Green’ initiatives in 2018.