Social Justice

Faith and sustainability

The Church of England has a national 'Shrinking the Footprint' campaign which looks at ways in which the church can address a whole range of climate and environmental issues. The Bishop of Salisbury (the Right Revd Nick Holtam) is the lead bishop for this area of work and many dioceses have an environmental advisor that helps local churches to address green issues. To find the local advisor in your area click here.  

For the latest news from Shrinking the Footprint click here.  

There is also the Ecochurch South West  group which helps churches across the South West to network and share good practice. 


Bristol Cathedral's approach to sustainability 

Our approach to sustainability is deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the Cathedral. An Augustinian Abbey was founded c1140 on this site and the Canons lived by the rule of St Augustine. The Canons would have grown their own food, provided hospitality, cared for the sick and the dispossessed and lived what in modern terms would be called a sustainable life.  We maintain that monastic tradition today as we continue to have services and prayers three times a day, mirroring the monastic practice. We offer hospitality and pastoral care. We seek to act as an ethical organisation, mindful of its carbon footprint. Our approach to improving our practice is summarised below. 

Reduce our energy use

  • We are replacing our heating systems in stages. In 2017 we will install new doors to reduce draughts.  
  • We are gradually replacing light fittings and lamps with LEDs on a rolling programme. 
  • The Cathedral toilets were refurbished in 2015 with cisterns that reduce water use.   
  • A heating and services review has just been completed on our residential housing.  

Increase our levels of recycling

  • We will increase our levels of recycling particularly in the Cathedral.  This year we have increased our ability to recycle plastics.  
  • We recycle the paper we use in the Gatehouse office and Cathedral offices, aim to reduce the amount we print. Use paper that is certified with the EU Ecolabel mark.  

Promote local procurement and fairtrade

  • We work collaboratively with the national church on fuel procurement. We are part of the Parish Buying scheme for our gas and electricity contracts.  
  • We aim to use local businesses and service providers for many aspects of our work.  We have already moved some contracts to local businesses and will continue that process over the next 5 years. Examples include transferring to local traders for sanitation and telephone support.
  • We use local suppliers for our cafe and shop.  We also source Fairtrade products for both our cafe and shop. We are a member of the Bristol Pound and accept pounds in our cafe.  

Green travel

  • Incentivising non-car/low carbon methods of travelling to work. We have a sponsorship scheme so that staff can purchase bicycles and in 2016 we will provide more bike racks.  
  • We have also signed up to the First Bus corporate travel scheme which gives a discount for monthly/annual bus tickets.

Education work

We seek to promote a better understanding of the environment and green issues within the church context. As part of our education work we provide 'Moving On' days for primary school children who are making the transition to secondary school. The themes explored include 'Earth Matters' which looks at issues around climate change, through an explorer dome. We have also put on a 'My Wild Crafty Cathedral' day with Avon Wildlife Trust.  For more information contact Frances Taylor, or see our education pages.  

We are also working with ARC to develop sacred lands tours of the Cathedral and the city of Bristol. These tours enable people to explore their relationship to their environment - click here for more information. 


Useful links 

We are a member of, and support the Bristol Fairtrade Network, and are a proud member of the Bristol Pound. You can donate to the Cathedral using the Pound and pay for goods in the cafe. In 2015 Bristol was designated as the EU Green Capital - click here for more information.  

EcoChurch South West, Shrinking the Footprint (national Church campaign), Diocese of Bristol. Green Christian. Prayer and Fast for the climate, the John Ray Initiative, A Rocha, and Hope for the Future, Low Carbon South West.

The Lambeth declaration on climate change can be read here