23 October 2023

Territory announces target to tackle carbon emissions

A photo shows vibrant green leaves in a lush forest.

The UKI Territory has set bold targets to tackle its impact on the environment and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

By 2030, the territory is planning to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by half, and by 90 per cent by 2040 – this will hit the target of net-zero carbon emissions – that is, balancing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted against the amount we remove from the atmosphere.

Territorial Commander Commissioner Anthony Cotterill said: ‘The need to reduce carbon emissions to avert climate catastrophe is a call we must answer now - the personal price that will be shouldered by those who are most vulnerable if we do not cannot be ignored.

‘As a church, two of our mission priorities are to “care for creation” and to “seek justice and reconciliation” – these go hand in hand with conversations around climate change. Every day we stand with communities whose lives are impacted by decisions outside their control – they did not create this situation, they should not bear the brunt of its consequences.

‘Our Army is in a position to do more than is simply necessary to reduce our impact on the planet and to stand by communities who can do no more and whose lives will be devastated if we do just enough.

‘We have chosen an ambitious but achievable goal of reaching net zero by 2040 and, over the next 17 years, we will be working across our organisation to support our mission expressions and our people in drastically reducing The Salvation Army’s carbon emissions. We will stand by those who are most vulnerable to tackle this global challenge.’

At the core of the strategy is the decarbonisation of buildings, fleet and supply chains. The first in a series of three-year Carbon Management Plans (2024–2026) is being drafted, detailing and scheduling the projects that will be undertaken. There will be an initial focus on the territory’s property for decarbonisation efforts, and the Property team is assessing the estate in detail to identify opportunities to reduce emissions and energy consumption.

What is the UKI Territory doing now?

Work is already under way to tackle the Army’s impact on the environment, including: installing 19 solar PV systems – which generate electricity from sunlight – with a further 10 being developed; installing 10 full LED lighting replacements as a trial run to larger-scale rollout; large, energy-consuming buildings under our half-hourly electricity meter contract from 100 per cent renewable electricity; and developing a national Environmental Champions network.

However, the territory is also caring for creation by encouraging Army expressions and communities to reuse and recycle clothing and other products through the community and trading company shops to avoid carbon emissions manufacturing new goods. The Army is also contacting expressions to offer support reviewing their waste management in a bid to reduce and divert the waste going to landfill and improving recycling efficiency.

How can you get involved?

We all have a role to play in helping reduce our carbon footprint and caring for creation. Eco Church EnglandEco-Congregation Scotland and Eco-Congregation Ireland – cross-denominational projects – have useful tools to help you review how you’re caring for God’s Earth, and provide education and support to improve your sustainability in local settings. It’s simple to sign up. 

There are also lots of resources available from the territory’s Environmental Office to inspire and guide you on environmental issues.

What next?

For more information about how you can get involved, including how to become an Environmental Champion, contact the Environmental Office.

Email the environmental office

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