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ARC Home > Projects > Long-term plans :
Guidance on preparing a Seven-Year Plan | The Seven-Year Plan: Use of Assets | Long Term Commitments: FAQ | The Seven-Year Plan: Education | The Seven-Year Plan: Theology, wisdom and guidance | The Seven-Year Plan: Media and Advocacy | The Seven-Year Plan: Lifestyles | The Seven-Year Plan: Partnerships | The Seven-Year Plan: Celebrations

The Seven-Year Plan: Use of Assets

Link here to download the latest guidelines document to the full Seven Year Plan. (Note this is a file of 2MB).

The religions of the world have astonishing assets - as well as their outreach to 85 percent or more of the world's 8 billion people, they also own some five percent of forests, are connected to more than half of all schools, own and manage most of the world's tourist destinations, organise some of the most active tourism enterprises (in terms of pilgrimage) and control some 7 percent of all financial investments.

With their beautiful temples, monasteries, mosques, churches, synagogues etc, faiths own many of the most dazzling tourist destinations around the world. They are also responsible, in terms of pilgrimage, for much of the “tourist” travel in the world (see the Lifestyles section). But they often forget to include this in their environmental plan.

a.) Financial Investments:

*** How have you invested your pension and investment funds?

*** Have you thought about how they could be used to make positive change, as well as thinking about what you do not want to invest in?

b.) Construction:

*** Have you looked at the environmental impact of your construction activities and decisions? Link here for a website specifically designed to help faiths with their building decisions.

***To what extent have you assessed the environmental impact of new buildings?

... and they are founders, owners or managers of more than half of all schools - able to affect building decisions, environmental policies, and the teaching of the generations to come. St Brendan's Catholic College in Bristol with a strong environmental ethos
What were the key ecological problems and did you find any solution?

*** What new building projects do you have in the future, on which you could practice active environmental management and care for the earth?

c.) Land and Forests:

*** Do you manage your forests according to ecological principles like FSC or something adapted for your own religious tradition?

*** Have you looked at your tenancy agreements for faith-owned land and forests, and considered whether environmentally-sensitive land management requirements might be built into the lease?

d.) Healthcare:

*** How are your faith-run clinics and hospitals managed with regard to the environment?

e.) Tourism and Pilgrimage:

Have you looked at your faith-run hotels, guesthouses, gift shops, cafeterias and restaurants? Improvements might involve introducing more Fair Trade goods, or using the 70-50-30 principle, designed by the Soil Association.

This principle states that a realistic ration for ethical food sourcing (in teashops, restaurants, school dinners or in your own homes) is: 70 percent fresh; 50 percent local; 30 percent organic. Each country will have a different situation, but this is a good first point of discussion.


* Many faiths have joined a new programme to create a Religious Forestry Standard for religious-owned and managed forest. It is similar to FSC, for secular land-holdings, but as well as being environmentally appropriate, with care for the wider community and for economic viability (but not at the expense of the forest), the guidelines are also to be religiously compatible, based on the faith’s values, beliefs and heritage.

* This can be done on a small scale too: the Jains in India recently planted trees all along the pilgrimage trail that led to their temple. When the trees blew down in a storm the Jains looked to their scriptures, found wisdom in persistence, and planted again.

* The Church of Sweden's Vasterås Diocese has created a model fund to help create sustainable timber resources in a deforested and impoverished area of Mozambique. The programme involves creating commercial forests as well as reforesting an extra area of 90,000 hectares for wildlife. The Anglican diocese of London has also become an investor, as has Harvard University.

* St Joseph’s Catholic School in Swindon, UK, was rebuilt in 2006. As part of the rebuilding, the school made a link to a severely underfunded school in Uganda, and has been helping it with its own construction work. The materials, needs and finances are different, but both schools have benefited from the collaboration - and their shared concern to educate young people and be environmentally responsible.

* The Methodists in Britain own a small but popular and well-designed hotel in London, the Methodists' International Centre. They recently voted to run their operations according to their beliefs - and have introduced a free-range egg and Fair Trade purchasing policy.


Link here for the main project page to explain the Seven Year Programme.

Link to the Latest Guidelines for the Seven Year Plan (this is a 2MB document).

Link to the Frequently Asked Questions page.

The Other Six Key Areas are:

1. Faith-consistent use of Assets: land, investments, purchasing and property

2. Education and Young People

3. Pastoral Care: theological education, training, rediscovering past traditions and wisdom

4. Lifestyles

5. Media and Advocacy

6. Partnerships and Creating your own Environment Department

7. Celebration

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December 7 2007:
UN and ARC launch programme with faiths on climate change
The UN has asked ARC to help launch an innovative programme for faiths to tackle climate change. This is the first time the UN has involved the faiths at this scale.