Gin distillery fuels green-energy Catholic Church

The UKs Catholic bishops may have found the ultimate environmental tonic – a gin distillery – to fuel their green energy drive.

They say the Catholic Church is now the biggest purchaser of green energy in England and Wales.

Church buildings of all sorts all use green energy through an interdiocesan project. Over three-quarters of the gas they use is derived from a Scottish gin distillery.

News of the successful green energy drive emerged as the bishops spoke of their growing commitment to help combat climate change.

The English and Welsh bishops are preparing a joint statement with the Scottish bishops on the plight of the planet.

The statement will be published on Pentecost Sunday (May 23). The timing of its release precedes the upcoming G7 summit by just a fortnight and COP26, which due to be held in Glasgow in November.

Its release date also commemorates the sixth anniversary of publication of Pope Francis’ environment encyclical, Laudato Si.

The bishops also say they have been discussing future investment policies, with speakers from BP and other companies addressing them about fossil fuels and greener forms of energy.

John Arnold, the Bishop of Salford and the lead bishop for the environment, says: “There is a much clearer understanding of the levels of engagement that the church can have.”

“We need to be a voice to politicians about our policies and how the Government might be asked to work. We need to be a voice to industry on the greening of energy supplies”.

Arnold says the Church has been talking to companies about their plans for greening their businesses.

“Greening of energy is the priority and the quicker it can be done the better. We have to be wise in the way we choose to invest our money.”

“We have to hold them to account and it’s an ongoing conversation. By engaging with them we have a better opportunity to ensure they are coming up with the goods”.

The Church should be proud to have become the biggest purchaser of green energy in England and Wales and that it is something it should maintain.

The Church is purchasing its energy through an organisation called Interdiocesan Fuel Management (IFM).

The 20-year-old company is run through the Diocese of Shrewsbury. Seventy-eight percent of its gas comes through the Hendricks gin distillery in Scotland while the other 22 per cent derives from carbon offset projects. All the electricity the Church is green energy.

IFM also helps funds water production projects in developing world countries.

Canon Christopher Thomas, general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, says it is proactively looking at working with schools to adapt them to green energy.

The Archbishop of Liverpool says the focus is not so much on existing green companies but on the greening of companies to see whether investments in them could continue.

“All the dioceses have investment committees and are all very aware of ethical standards. But it’s incredibly complex.”


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