A new scheme called the Renewable Energy Group Buying Initiative (REGBI) launches today (16 January 2014) to help Quaker meeting houses, churches and charities buy renewable energy collectively.
The REGBI scheme enables its members to buy 100 per cent renewable electricity (supplied by Good Energy) on an annual joint contract to show support for renewable energy while also keeping costs down by benefiting from group purchasing discounts.
The scheme was created and is administered by 2buy2, a procurement service helping churches and charities save money throughout the UK.
Quaker headquarters at Friends House in London and 37 Quaker meeting houses have already joined the REGBI scheme and it is hoped that REGBI's group purchasing power will grow, with more meeting houses, church buildings and charities signing up annually.
The idea behind the REGBI scheme started at a local Quaker meeting and with the support of 2buy2 has resulted in meeting houses joining from all across the UK. This year the REGBI scheme is helping Friends House and Quaker meeting houses reduce their CO2 emissions by a total of 188 tonnes per year, by supplying 400,000 kWhs of electricity using 100 per cent renewable electricity.
Chayley Collis, a member of Huddersfield Quaker Meeting who helped initiate the REGBI scheme, commented: "We think REGBI may be the first time group purchasing power has been used to support 100 per cent renewable electricity in the UK.
"We wanted to make a strong commitment to renewable energy sources and to demonstrate the widespread support there is for clean energy in the UK. This is particularly important in the light of the Government's recent failure to set clean energy targets for 2030, in the Energy Act.
"The REGBI scheme is helping to bring the costs of renewable energy down on a par with brown energy, making it easier to support renewables. We are hoping that more meeting houses, charities and denominations will join the scheme."
Quakers in Britain recently decided to disinvest from companies engaged in extracting fossil fuels. They say that investing in companies which are engaged in fossil fuel extraction is incompatible with their commitment made in 2011 to become a sustainable low-carbon community.
Since then Quakers, known formally as the Religious Society of Friends, have been speaking out to create pressure in the UK for an energy system and economy that does not rely on fossil fuels.
Around 23,000 people attend nearly 475 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.
2buy2 is a national buying group for churches and charities throughout the UK. They work on behalf of their customers (approx. 10,000) to secure savings on key operational costs; releasing financial resource for their core mission.
* To find out more about the REGBI scheme, which is open to other churches and charities, go to: www.2buy2.com/regbi