The Green Rooster: Environmental management for church parishes

... this is sure to be about a somewhat more sustainable church parish. Since 2003, church parishes and institutions can be qualified according to an environmental management system specifically adapted to their requirements. The procedure is identical to the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme EMAS III. In NRW, the system already has about 120 participants. Their contribution to climate protection comes to a total of more than 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.

EnergieAgentur.NRW estimates the full climate protection potential within church parishes in North Rhine-Westphalia alone to be 150,000 tonnes of CO2 savings per year. This means that the church parishes – including church institutions such as administration, meeting houses etc. – can save EUR 40 million in energy costs annually. In order to achieve this objective, the climate protection efforts of church organisations need to be specifically anchored, structured and made sustainable.

Engine for progress:

  • more than 2,500 tonnes of CO2 savings each year
  • anchoring environmental and climate protection in the organisation
  • promotion of climate protection by acting as a role model for the people
  • spread throughout NRW

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Photo: privat

Evangelical Church Parish of Neuss Norf: The environmental team's one-day conference to prepare the environmental programme.

With the Green Rooster, church organisations have at their disposal an environmental management system specifically tailored to their requirements: Decision-making processes, climate protection aspects and relevant examples are addressed. The many volunteers in church parishes receive valuable support.

Launch in Westphalia, Expansion to Other Church Parishes

The Evangelical Church of Westphalia, which has been working with the Green Rooster for more than ten years, developed most of the management system. Almost a quarter of the Westphalian church parishes have participated in training events to introduce the system – a great initial success.
Many other church parishes have already started down this path. For three years, the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland has also been very active and the first church parishes there have already been certified. The programme also extends to the Church of Lippe.

On the way to the Green Rooster, church parishes are introduced step by step to environmental management through a supporting programme involving several workshops. The church environmental offices in Westphalia and the Rhineland organise these meetings and provide ongoing further development.

Climate Protection Activities Strengthen Credibility

The churches are also addressing the issue of climate protection in order to be able to spread their message more credibly: Because those who preach the Christian message (the conservation of creation), exhort politics and business and wish to reach private households, must lead the way themselves. As an institution at the heart of society, the church is in a position to reach a great many people.

One Third of CO2 Savings at Churches with Long-Term Commitments

The successes become apparent quickly: The participants are already saving 10 to 20 tonnes of CO2 per year with the first measures. This provides the motivation to take further steps. In the church parishes that have been participating for several years, it has already been possible to achieve a significant reduction in CO2 emissions of one third. The participants have achieved great improvements, particularly regarding the energy management of buildings, as well as in the areas of water consumption and waste production. With the money that the church parishes save, they can increase their spending in those areas where money is urgently needed: for example on social projects.

Photo: IKG der EKvW

“Environmental management is an important building block for future development. Whether following generations can live in dignity, critically depends on whether we succeed in reducing our environmental and resource consumption.”

Hans Jürgen Hörner, Project Manager at "The Green Rooster" for the Evangelical Church of Westphalia

Partners and sponsors

  • Evangelische Kirche von Westfalen, Projektbüro "Grüner Hahn"
  • Evangelische Kirche im Rheinland
  • Lippische Landeskirche
Counselling centers:
  • EnergieAgentur.NRW