Specialist insurer hosts church Net Zero conference

26 March 2024

Specialist insurer Ecclesiastical welcomed representatives of the Church of England to its Gloucester office, as part of a Net Zero conference.

Julian Atkins and Helen Richards
The two-day Net Zero Connect Conference brought more than 60 representatives from 35 dioceses across the country together to share expertise and ideas about how to reduce the church’s climate impact. 
The Church of England’s ambitious Net Zero Carbon by 2030 programme aims to equip, resource and support all parts of the Church to reduce carbon emissions from the energy used in its buildings, schools and through work-related transport by 2030.
Ecclesiastical sponsored and hosted the event at its office, Benefact House, as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the Church of England and helping churches to future-proof their buildings from the impact of climate change.
At the event, Helen Richards, church operations director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, launched the specialist insurer’s new Made Simple Guide, entitled Climate Change and Your Church while Stuart Blackie from Ecclesiastical’s risk management team spoke about the implications of working towards net zero on insurance cover.
The Made Simple Guide covers how churches can manage present day challenges, including dealing with extreme weather, and maintaining and heating church buildings efficiently, as well as prepare for the future by providing risk management advice on alternative heating and energy options.
It also covers what climate change means for insurance and provides links to further guidance and financial support for churches.
Speaking after the event, Helen said: “It was a pleasure to once again host representatives from the Church of England as part of its Net Zero Connect Conference. There was a real energy in the conference and exciting plans for the future.
“As the leading insurer of churches, we want to support the Church of England on its journey to Net Zero and by hosting this event we’ve been able to bring together experts from across the country to share their stories and experiences.
“We know churches up and down the country believe reducing their climate impact is part of their mission to protect God’s creation, and many of them are taking steps to reach net zero. That’s why we’ve launched our Made Simple Guide and we hope it will support churches in their journey to become more climate resilient.” 
Julian Atkins, the Church of England’s Net Zero Programme Director, said: “We’re thrilled with the response we’ve had since running the Net Zero Carbon Connect conference in Gloucester. The event brought together, for the first time, net zero specialists from across the Church of England, plus several of our ecumenical partners, to discuss how we make the best possible progress in our journey to net zero carbon.  The energy at the conference was palpable and it was brilliant to be sharing thoughts and ideas to further our mission. 
“We’re so grateful for the warm and generous hospitality from Ecclesiastical Insurance in hosting the event at their offices, and it enabled us to connect with colleagues from around the country, who are all working to deliver net zero carbon projects in their local areas. We’re also excited to develop our partnership with The Benefact Trust as we work together to support churches to reduce carbon emissions through our new Demonstrator Churches project.” 
Ecclesiastical Insurance is part of the Benefact Group, owned by the Benefact Trust which recently pledged £1.5 million towards a major climate project, which will support 60 churches - over two years - to achieve net zero by the end of 2025.