Skip to main content

Developing an Eco-College Award

Mark Powley, Yorkshire Theological Education Partnership

Initial Description

The Church of England has set an ambitious net zero target in response to what is possibly one of the great missional and social justice challenges of our time. Theological colleges should be at the forefront of creative thinking and transformative practice in this area, acting as thought leaders and germinating new practice, but currently we find ourselves somewhat ‘behind the curve’ in our response, not least when it comes to resource management and the life of TEIs as institutions.

In 2017, when the Eco-church award scheme was relaunched by A Rocha, a proposal was put that there should be Eco-college criteria. At that time, A Rocha did not feel they could devote resource to the project. Since then, the Eco-church award has grown significantly, but colleges still do not have specific criteria to work with. Partly as a result of this, only a handful of colleges have begun to engage with the awards, and those that have must re-interpret the criteria with little guidance as to appropriate and stretching targets.

We propose, as St Hild College, to work with the Theological Colleges’ Environment Network to agree criteria for Bronze, Silver and Gold Eco-college awards. We have secured the agreement of A Rocha to work with us in order to produce award guidance that could be nationally accepted.

Dedicated Eco-college criteria would:

  • raise the profile of resource management, curriculum and formation issues among colleges affiliated with Common Awards, and other Christian colleges nationwide;
  • enable better fitting criteria to be used, so that colleges can make informed moves towards greater sustainability; and
  • complement theologically-focused seedcorn grant awards with a practical project designed to address the whole life of our institutions.