Net Zero and Carbon Footprints
In February 2020, General Synod set a target for all parts of the Church of England to become Net Zero by 2030. "Net Zero Carbon" is defined as when the amount of greenhouse gas emissions added to the atmosphere is no more than the amount removed, reached by radically reducing emissions and removing the remaining "residual" emissions, through purchasing renewable energy and offsetting. In July 2022, General Synod endorsed the Routemap to Net Zero, an action plan to achieve this target. The Routemap covers all in scope areas- to read it click here.
Before you can start on the journey to Net Zero, you will need to know your church's carbon emissions. The Energy Footprint Tool is part of the Church of England's Online Parish Returns system. The tool can be used annually to submit information on the energy use of your church, using electricity, gas or oil bills. To complete the Energy Footprint Tool click here and there are instructions to help complete the tool here. For answers to FAQ's click here. The video below walks you through completing the Energy Footprint Tool.
The Energy Footprint Tool isn't open for data entry all year round, to allow the National Research and Statistics team time to analyse the data. If you're looking to calculate your footprint and the tool isn't open, you can use the 360 carbon calculator.
Once you have your church's footprint, you can start working to reduce it. There are a number of resources to help you do this, including the Practical Path to Net Zero. There's a self-guided checklist you can work through, recommending key actions for your PCC to take next. You can find the checklist here. You can also join the Eco Church award scheme, run by A Rocha UK. You can find out more about the Eco Church scheme here.