Churches and climate action: strategy and business plan for the Klima-Kollekte

Beautiful view of historic Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) at famous Museumsinsel (Museum Island) with excursion boat on Spree river in beautiful evening light at sunset in summer, Berlin, Germany

The most effective way to protect the climate is to prevent greenhouse gas emissions. But a climate-friendly society is still far on the horizon, because climate-damaging emissions cannot always be avoided or reduced. Voluntary carbon offsetting allows individuals and businesses to calculate and offset their own unavoidable emissions from energy, mobility and general consumption, by reducing the corresponding amount of CO2 through climate projects elsewhere.

Many church-related actors, such as regional churches or church congregations, are already actively engaged in climate action and use electricity from renewable sources or organise climate-friendly events. In addition, with the help of the compensation fund of Christian churches, the Klima-Kollekte (“climate collection”), they can offset greenhouse gas emissions and contribute financially to climate-friendly development projects in India, Kenya or Nicaragua.

The market for voluntary offsets has developed dynamically in recent years and is now facing a period of radical change. In particular, the Paris Agreement - a milestone in international climate policy - changes many baseline parameters. How will the voluntary carbon offset market in Germany develop up to and after 2020? What new regulations will emerge and impact the implementation of climate protection projects?

On behalf of the Klima-Kollekte, adelphi carried out a study on the impact of the Paris Agreement on the voluntary carbon market and analysed how an organisation like Klima-Kollekte could position itself in the face of these changes. Through participatory workshops and by utilising SEED's innovative consultancy tools, adelphi defined the enterprise's social, economic and environmental goals and developed strategies to achieve them.

Furthermore, adelphi conducted a series of interviews with experts from various churches, in order to fully understand the underlying attitudes and characteristics of relevant target groups. From the results, adelphi derived recommendations for future marketing activities, distribution channels and priorities for the enterprise. It fleshed out a multi-scenario business plan for the next five years. The project contributed to harnessing the potential of voluntary carbon offsetting and to further sensitising church actors to this option.