2050Today Members

WCC – World Council of Churches

Signatory institution of the 2050Today Charter

Photo by Jason Blackeye - Unsplash

Our faith compels us to commit to reducing our carbon footprint and to do our part to realise the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius… Through the Green Village project and other initiatives, the WCC takes very seriously issues of sustainability—something that is most needed in the current context of a climate crisis.

Contribution to climate action

The World Council of Churches (hereafter WCC), a fellowship of 352 churches in over 120 countries representing half a billion Christians, is a proud member of the 2050Today initiative. Our faith compels us to commit to reducing our carbon footprint and to do our part to realise the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The WCC has been reflecting on sustainability in relation to poverty since the early 1970s, long before the concept gained currency in international politics and business. At its Assembly in Nairobi in 1975 the WCC called for a “Just, Participatory and Sustainable Society” and helped to catapult the notion of sustainability into the global sphere.

The WCC participated in the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and in the first Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995. Since then, WCC has attended every COP event, advocating for climate justice and support for poor and vulnerable countries and communities who are least responsible for the climate crisis but suffer its worst effects.

The WCC has produced several resources for our member churches to continue to nurture a care-for-creation ethos. “Roadmap for an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice” and “Walk the Talk” gather concrete examples of how churches can tread gently on, and live justly with people and planet. “Cooler Earth, Higher Benefits” highlights how the banking and investment decisions of churches can promote sustainable pathways. In 2022, the WCC together with UN Environment Programme and other faith partners jointly released a statement on “Climate Responsible Finance” as a moral imperative towards the well-being of children.

At the last General Assembly of the WCC, held in Karlsruhe in 2022, we addressed the climate emergency as a priority for churches. We declared: “The climate emergency is an ethical, moral and spiritual crisis, manifested in a fixation on profit.”

Thematic actions

Energy

At the 2022 Assembly, the WCC also committed “to reduce its institutional carbon footprint to net-zero by 2030.

Key to realising this goal is the WCC’s real estate project in Geneva called “Green Village” – the first Geneva property development with the “One Planet Living” (OPL) label. The project will positively impact greenhouse gas emissions by implementing a range of environmentally friendly practices.

The Green Village will provide six new buildings in the municipality of Le Grand-Saconnex, each symbolically bearing the name of a key international treaty in sustainable development: Kyoto, Montreal, Rio, Lima, Durban and Stockholm. All the buildings will be powered by renewable energy, through photovoltaic solar panels and networked energy.

Mobility

The WCC encourages its employees to use public transportation when commuting to work by offering a public transport subsidy.

Waste management

The Green Village constructions will respect all the OPL label standards, with priority given to construction materials from the local economy, and those recycled from the existing structures.

We hope to reach the goal of zero waste via an on-site eco-centre and through the policy of waste reuse put forward by the Grand-Saconnex municipality.

Footprint and emissions by scope

2050Today’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions measurement methodology follows the GHG Protocol. The Protocol provides standards and guidance for organizations to measure and manage climate-warming emissions. It was created in 1998 through a partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

According to the GHG Protocol, the distribution of emissions is done by scopes:

Scope 1 represents direct emissions linked to the consumption of fossil fuels.

Scope 2 represents indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company.

Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain (i.e. purchased good or services, business travel, employee commuting).

The 2050Today carbon footprint takes into account the reported emissions generated by the activities of the institution over one year and is divided by categories:

Energy and water

It takes into account the amount of the consumed electricity produced and purchased by the institution. The energy consumed to heat and/or cool the institution’s building area and the consumed water are included as well.

Mobility

It takes into consideration business travels and commuting (on a survey basis).

Food

The CO2 impact of food includes the catering of the institution and individual consumption (on a survey basis) during working hours.

Purchased goods

The perimeter of purchased goods is set to a list of new office equipment, new mobility equipment (vehicles) and construction materials.

Waste

The perimeter of the waste inventory is set to waste production from facilities and internal operations of the institution

It has to be noted that the collected data of the 2050Today members resulting in each carbon footprint are not yet fully standardized and might not be entirely complete. Data collection is being progressively harmonized and improved. Therefore, direct comparisons between tCO2 / employee among institutions – be it in general or per sector – are not yet possible nor relevant.

To ensure the reliability, the accuracy and a recurrent updating of the carbon footprint assessment, 2050Today is advised by an international Carbon Footprint Scientific Committee.

Carbon Footprint