The Diocesan Administrator conveyed the following statement to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales at its Spring Plenary Meeting in April 2023.
The Diocese of Plymouth has an Environment Policy agreed by Diocesan Trustees in January 2021which incorporates commitments around prayer, advocacy, proclamation on environmental concerns as well as managing our assets with care for the environment. We produce an annual report which sets out publicly our progress in meeting our commitments including our plans to be carbon neutral. We have an environmental lead and a committee which oversees progress and reports regularly to Trustees.
In our Environment Policy, the Diocese of Plymouth committed to understanding what it would take to be carbon neutral by 2030. Using the Guardians of Creation materials as a starting point, the diocese commissioned consultants in 2022 to calculate our carbon emissions for Scope 1 and 2 for all diocesan buildings (excluding schools) and to estimate emissions from other activities. This was done using Inter-Diocesan Fuel Management Company (IFM) data plus parish surveys.
This work has now been completed and we have a diocesan baseline and a baseline measurement for each parish which we can use to measure progress. We have conducted 5 detailed building audits to better understand what changes can be made to reduce our footprint. We are currently preparing a decarbonisation strategy which will be presented to Trustees in May 2023, and which will set measurable targets for reducing our emissions.
Schools are not currently part of this work, but the catholic Multi-Academy Trust (Plymouth CAST) is also undertaking work to measure and reduce its emissions and we will work in partnership with them.
Most of our diocesan emissions are property-related and the diocesan Property Commission has already integrated environmental considerations and care for our common home into its programme of work and quinquennial reviews.