Safeguarding the integrity of creation

3rd Mar 2023
News category
Contemporary Issues

Activists from the environmental protest group, Christian Climate Action, will be undertaking demonstrations this Sunday (5th March) at several cathedrals located in dioceses that have yet to fully divest from fossil fuels – including here in Chichester.

The protests are part of a planned day of action against the Church of England’s investment in non-renewable energy and the CCA has chosen to demonstrate at the cathedrals as the most visible sign of the Church of England in the diocese they serve.

In order to contribute to this wider discussion around the climate emergency, we wanted to share with you some of the actions we are undertaking as a Cathedral community.

Most of the 42 Church of England cathedrals have signed up to the Eco Church scheme run by A Rocha UK, the Christian environmental charity committed to equipping churches and their congregations to care for the environment. Chichester Cathedral is currently enroute to achieve the Silver Eco Church Award, having acquired the Bronze Award in 2018.

The scheme takes into consideration five key areas of church life: worship and teaching; management of church buildings; management of church land; community and global engagement; lifestyle.

Here are some, but not all, of the day-to-day changes we have made:

  • The Cathedral is run on a green energy tariff;
  • We have embarked on a new lighting scheme that will reduce our carbon footprint by 90%;
  • Operationally, heat emitters throughout Cathedral buildings are routinely replaced with low energy alternatives; thermal insulation, draught excluders and thermostatic radiator valves are installed; we also constantly reviewing where we might be able to install secondary glazing;
  • Orders of Service and printed materials, including leaflets, are printed on recycled paper – a sustainable product made without harsh bleach and harmful optical brightening agents. Where possible we also use vegetable inks too;
  • We work closely with partners in our local area, including Chichester District Council, to manage our waste and recycling;
  • We also programme activities and events to contribute to discussion around the climate emergency, including Nellie the Final Fat Fish – a large metal sculpture which the public filled with used plastic bottles and aluminium cans, illustrating the huge volume of waste we create;
  • Those travelling to the Cathedral are encouraged to travel by public transport, by foot (including pilgrimages) and by bike. We form part of the Cathedral Cycle Route, linking all 42 Church of England cathedrals in an initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.

The Cathedral investments are overseen by CCLA – a fund manager with a specific focus upon charities, religious organisations and the public sector. One of the reasons CCLA were selected by the Cathedral’s Chapter was for their positioning on climate change and social justice within their investment strategy. In addition, we are fully compliant with Church of England Policy (Ethical Investment Advisory Group).

We also continue to advocate for change with those we work with, including the Diocese to Chichester, promoting responsible ethical and environmental behaviour.

Looking to the future

A ‘Routemap’ to Net Zero by 2030 was approved by the General Synod of the Church of England in July 2021. It sets out steps or ‘milestones’ each year for the national church, dioceses, cathedrals, local church, schools, theological teaching institutions to help them on their journey to achieve this target.

On top of working to improve our Eco Church rating, we have ambitions to publish a new Carbon Management Plan– initially focussing upon the Cathedral and main support buildings, including the Cloisters and Cathedral Offices. This will be underpinned by a Sustainable Estates Plan.

The Cathedral receives no automatic statutory funding, and relies wholly on donations and self-generated income for its restoration and project needs. Objectives and actions from the Carbon Management Plan will take additional raising of funds into consideration, creating a realistic timeline.

If you have any questions for us, or ideas, please do reach out. We would love to hear from you:

3rd Mar 2023
News category
Contemporary Issues