Catholic churches and schools sign major British Gas renewables deal
The Catholic Church has signed one of the UK's largest green energy contracts, which has seen more than 4,500 churches and schools switch to renewable gas and electricity supplied by British Gas.
British Gas has agreed a deal with the Catholic Church’s energy procurement group, Inter-diocesan Fuel Management (IFM), which covers 2,800 churches from 20 of the 22 Catholic dioceses in England and Wales, and 2,200 schools, community centres and care homes.
“We commend IFM and the Catholic church for their desire to take the lead on renewable energy adoption, and hope that others will follow,” British Gas Business’s managing director Gab Barbaro said.
“We’re seeing more and more organisations looking to switch to both renewable gas and electricity, particularly given the recent ‘net zero’ commitment made by government. This contract demonstrates that it is becoming easier than ever to cut carbon emissions from our public and private sector buildings.”
As a result of the deal, the Catholic Church is now one of the largest consumers of green gas certificates, with landmarks such as Westminster, Nottingham and Plymouth Cathedrals covered by the deal.
The volume of green gas and electricity supplied by British Gas Business is equivalent to supplying the annual needs of more than 20,000 UK households, removing 32ktCO2e of emissions annually – equivalent to taking more than 21,000 cars off the road.
Faith in clean energy
In August last year, it was revealed that British churches have diverted more than £5m from fossil fuels, with more than 5,500 places of worship putting their faith in clean energy by switching to renewables.
Progress has been driven by the Church of England’s procurement group Parish Buying, and the Big Church Switch campaign, a partnership between Christian Aid, Tearfund and the Church of England’s Environment Programme. In 2016, the number of UK churches that had switched to renewable energy tariffs sat a 3,500.
The likes of Southwark Council, SOAS, United Reform Church and The Church of England have also taken steps to make significant divestment moves in recent years, amid rising public concerns around issues such as climate change and air pollution.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and the Royal Society of Arts have sold all remaining shares in fossil fuel companies this year, while the University of Liverpool has become the latest higher education facility in the UK to commit to removing fossil fuel investments from its portfolio.