The 'third sector', including the Church of England, has a crucial role to play in using its voice to increase public demand for government action to make low carbon options available and attractive to the public, the Church said in a press release today.
Government and third sectors plan to work together over the next five years to tackle key environmental issues such as climate change and sustainable development, according to the vision set out in Shaping our Future, a new report published this month.
The report is the work of the joint Ministerial and Third Sector Task Force, set up in April 2009, involving ministers and officials from Defra, the Office of the Third Sector, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Department for Communities and Local Government and 16 third sector organisations.
They jointly agreed a vision for 2015: "The third sector shapes the future by mobilising and inspiring others to tackle climate change and maximising the social, economic and environmental opportunities of action.”
David Shreeve, the Church of England’s Environment Adviser, and one of the 16 members representing third sector organisations on the Task Force, said: “There is a lot of enthusiasm from the third sector, but much of this can involve reinventing wheels. Faith groups have a lot of experience in managing local initiatives already which can be overlooked. It was good to have the opportunity to bring the vital role that the faith community is already playing to the Task Force”.
The Energy and Climate Change Minister, Joan Ruddock, who spoke at last year’s Church of England Shrinking the Footprint Conference at Lambeth Palace, said: “Organisations and charities across Britain are already having a big impact in helping people take action in their communities to save energy and help reduce emissions. DECC wants to work with these organisations to make sure the transition to a low carbon economy is both effective and fair.”
The Church of England insists that its work to cut carbon emissions is compatible with the profit it seeks from its investments worth hundreds of millions in oil and mining companies, which campaigners point out are responsible for widespread environmental destruction.