Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and the Anglican Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, welcomed leaders from business, government and civil society to Lambeth Palace yesterday for a Climate Change round table.
The event was organised by the Together campaign, to mark its first anniversary, and the round table discussion was chaired by Jon Snow, anchor of Channel 4 TV News.
At the event representatives of the Together coalition of business and civic groups affirmed their ongoing commitment to promoting more green choices for consumers and better environmental responsibility within their organisations. The Church of England is one of Together's founding supporters.
Bishop Chartres, chair of the Church of England's environmental campaign Shrinking the Footprint said there was a moral imperative to act "both for our children and the poorest of the world."
Dr Williams, who has just returned from a visit to Rome by train, said climate change was a pressing issue that could not be ignored.
Speaking after the event Bishop Chartres added: "We are all determined that our children will not say to us in 20 years time – why didn't you do more about the greatest challenge of the 21st Century?"
Dr Williams commented: "I support the aims of Together in highlighting how every section of society - from business and government to individuals and civil society- has a role in combating climate change. The Church of England and all people of faith have a central role to play in this.
"It is no coincidence," he continued, "that only last year the Environment Agency asked 25 leading environmentalists and scientists to list the 50 things they thought could help save the planet and they rated the actions and leadership of faith communities as number 2 - second only to saving energy. By practising what we preach and by putting our own house in order, the Church and all people of faith can make our own contribution to ensuring the safe stewardship of our planet for the generations to come."
Together, which is facilitated by NGO The Climate Group, is a climate change campaign focused on enhancing consumer engagement in green issues - promoting practical things everyone can do, which also aims to make everyday lives easier and more affordable.
It is supported by the Church of England and a number of leading companies including Tesco, M&S, O2, Sky, British Gas, B&Q, Barclaycard, More Than and National Express. Representatives of these businesses attended the event, along with several new supporting partners including the National Trust, WWF and Coca-Cola.
Government was represented by DEFRA Minister Phil Woolas and Number 10 adviser Michael Jacobs.
Environmental groups are keen to get business on board, but green, development, labour and human rights groups have been strongly critical of the record of some of the large businesses involved in this coalition.