Global Ministries commits to net-zero emissions by 2050

Solar array on the rooftop of Global Ministries’ headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Photo: Jenny Phillips.
Solar array on the rooftop of Global Ministries’ headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Photo: Jenny Phillips.
Untitled Document

Witnessing firsthand the devastating impact of the growing climate crisis on its operations and the people it ministers to around the world, leaders of United Methodist Global Ministries have joined a coalition of United Methodist agencies pledging to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the organizations’ ministries, facilities, operations and investments by 2050.

Global Ministries is the worldwide mission and development agency of The United Methodist Church and supports more than 200 missionaries in over 70 countries, including in the United States. It has personnel, projects and partners in 115 countries and as a part of Global Ministries, the UMCOR is the global humanitarian aid and development arm of The United Methodist Church.  

“The devastating environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the unfolding climate crisis are witnessed every day by our missionaries and staff around the world,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of United Methodist Global Ministries and the UMCOR. “Whether through missionaries serving as evangelists, educators, health professionals or agriculturalists; helping families recover from repeated disasters; praying with those forced to migrate; or working to give people access to clean water and renewable energy, we see firsthand the need for bold action.

While environmental sustainability (Advance #3021951) has been a priority for us for a while, we are excited to join with other UMC agencies in committing to net-zero emissions by 2050.”

As a part of the first net-zero collaborative commitment of its kind, Global Ministries and the agencies released “Our Climate Commitment to Net-Zero Emissions.” The joint statement acknowledges that the UMC “has long affirmed our individual and collective responsibility to address the unfolding climate crisis.” Given these values, the group said it was “called by our faith, informed by science and led by our relationships with impacted communities” to respond urgently.

The statement is endorsed by 11 general secretaries and agencies of The United Methodist Church.

The new commitment reinforces previous efforts by Global Ministries and UMCOR to address the unfolding climate crisis:

In 2019, grants from Global Ministries’ Environmental Sustainability program and UMCOR-funded new solar and water pump systems that increased productivity at the Kamisamba Farm in Kamina, Democratic Republic of Congo, which means productivity, nutritious food and income have also increased in the communities of the families trained by Kamisamba workers.

In 2021, the agency approved a pilot project to test solar-powered vaccine refrigerators in three clinics in Liberia. The refrigerators will be installed this summer.

The agency’s next step toward net-zero commitment includes an analysis of its ministries, facilities, operations and investments.

The commitment comes at a time of growing climate action around the globe. Following the U.S.’s decision to reenter the Paris Climate Agreement, nine of the world’s 10 largest economies have stated ambitions to become carbon neutral. Meanwhile, corporate commitments to achieve net-zero have tripled in the last year.

Global Ministries will work with the other signatories in the coming months to solidify collaborative actions and strategies associated with the statement.

excerpt from a News Release by Dan Curran, Global Ministries and Mary Lou Greenwood Boice, Director of Communications, Global Ministries

The Advance is the accountable, designated-giving arm of The United Methodist Church. The Advance invites contributors to designate support for projects related to the General Board of Global Ministries. Individuals, local churches, organizations, districts and annual conferences may donate to The Advance. One hundred percent of every gift to The Advance goes to the project selected by the giver. Gifts to missionaries support the entire missionary community.