The Energy Reduction Management Committee has suggested that the church’s global energy bill could be reduced by six figures annually if it developed an aggregated energy purchasing policy.
It successfully moved today for the Synod Standing Committee to appoint a working group to progress the policy and report back to the SSC, with proposals, by May next year.
The Chair of the Committee, Adrian Pyle, said the proposal was developed to seek a more intentional effort to investigate and develop a policy and process around energy purchasing.
He said in 2011 the synod sought to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020 through direct action by synod operations and presbyteries, and in collaboration with congregations, agencies and schools.
Mr Pyle said it stemmed from a fundamental theological understanding that the mission of God was a reconciling, inclusive mission, not only with all people but with the whole creation.
As a result the church not only showed concern for ecological sustainability through its significant external advocacy, but also demonstrated the most ecologically sustainable internal processes and built environment as an example of its integrity.
He said it further emphasised the importance of the work by enshrining “care for creation” as one of its mission principles of strategic and theological importance.
Mr Pyle said the work undertaken by the committee had been difficult at it was attempting to champion the cause without an identified financial resource.
Despite these constraints, Mr Pyle said the committee has been able to achieve small progress, particularly by assembling a crew of volunteer energy auditors and attracting minor funding and support from university programs to conduct analyses and studies of the church’s energy footprint and sustainability processes.
A Monash University Report using data gathered by the volunteer auditors concluded that the synod’s best hope for measuring and moderating its energy usage collectively was through aggregated energy purchasing across all its councils, institutions and bodies.
He said the 2015 report found that many individual bodies were purchasing energy at higher prices than necessary. Significant savings could be made through a tariff adjustment as part of an aggregated purchase.
“The resulting bulk purchase could then afford even greater savings if a portion was retained for further energy efficiency and renewable energy provision across the synod, particularly for bodies that would find it difficult to direct funds to this purpose,” Mr Pyle said.