The Diocesan Environmental Policy

Background

  • Scripture tells us that “The earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24) and that we are created with the earth and as part of the cosmos (Genesis 1);
  • Our salvation in Christ is tied up with the salvation of the whole of creation (Romans 8);
  • The Anglican Communion’s fifth mark of mission calls us “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”;
  • The Lambeth Declaration 2015 reminds us of the urgent need to address climate change, a problem created by the rich nations, but experienced more damagingly in poorer nations;
  • Together, humanity must care for its common home (Laudato si’ 2015).

Commitments

Diocesan Synod commits to playing its part fully in caring for the environment in respect of those activities for which it is responsible.  Diocesan Synod invites the deaneries, parishes and individual Anglicans in the diocese to make similar commitments.  Through the Bishop’s Council, the Birmingham Diocesan Board of Finance and the Birmingham Diocesan Board of Education, Birmingham Diocesan Synod commits:

  • to reduce carbon emissions, as envisaged in the 2015 Paris Agreement and in the UK Climate Change Act 2008, by 80% by 2050;
  • to ensure that the environment is properly considered in investment decisions and in the maintenance of buildings under its control, such as parsonages, church schools and other buildings;
  • to encourage the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches to ensure that the environment is properly considered in the maintenance and development of churches and churchyards;
  • together with others, to engage with issues such as litter, air pollution, travel arrangements and green public spaces to improve the environment in places where we are engaged.

Implementation

  • The Bishops show leadership on the environment, helped by the Bishop’s Adviser for the Environment;
  • We pray for the environment through “Praying Together”;
  • We support the Church of England’s national environmental programme;
  • We seek Eco Diocese accreditation.  We use the Eco Diocese and Eco Church framework as the main basis for our practical actions on environmental issues.  We encourage our parishes to use the advice and resources available from A Rocha UK and to seek Eco Church accreditations.  We are supported in this by the voluntary group Birmingham Anglican Climate Action (BACA).

Approved by the Birmingham Diocesan Synod on Saturday 24th March 2018

This needs to be supplemented by the Diocesan Synod’s Declaration of a Climate Emergency on Saturday 16th November 2019 (see under Climate Emergency and the CofE).

Birmingham Diocesan Synod 26th March 2022 motion on Divestment

The following motion was passed with one vote against and no abstentions.

That this Synod, recognising that

  1. There is a global climate emergency caused by global warming, and that this is a crisis for God’s creation;
  2. The principal cause of global warming is the extraction, processing and, primarily, burning of fossil fuels;
  3. In 2015, Birmingham Diocesan Synod passed a motion calling on the National Investing Bodies to begin divestment from fossil fuel companies;
  4. General Synod committed in 2018 to divest, by 2023, from fossil fuel companies that are not aligned with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global heating to well below two degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels;
  5. Since then, there have been further developments including (i) CCLA, the Church of England’s fund manager, deciding to divest from some major fossil fuel companies on the grounds of financial risk; (ii) in autumn 2021, the International Energy Agency reporting that, to meet the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5 degrees Centigrade, the now internationally agreed goal, there must be no new prospecting for fossil fuels or commencement of extraction from new sources; and (iii) in November 2021, the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) reporting that only one in ten major energy companies are on a pathway to align with that Paris target;
  6. Birmingham Diocese has direct investments in fossil fuel companies that are not aligned with that Paris Agreement target, and are committed to further prospecting and new extraction;
  7. As a small investor, Birmingham Diocese has no leverage to persuade fossil fuel companies to change course. As the Diocese representing England’s second city, however, it has, in making the decision to divest from fossil fuels, the potential to be a force for good beyond its physical and financial size, and in so doing, along, among others, with seven other Anglican dioceses and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, live out the fifth Anglican Mark of Mission;

therefore determines to:-

  1. Divest  by 31st December 2023 from those fossil fuel companies in which it holds direct investments, and move promptly towards climate-positive investments;
  2. Identify whether investment/unit trusts held on its behalf include fossil fuel companies, and if so, divest from the same by 31st December 2023, and move promptly towards climate-positive investments; and
  3. Refrain from investments in fossil fuel companies going forward.