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Requirements of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards

The Five Leaf Eco-Awards-
Church Project
Introduction to the Basic and Advanced Levels:
Within the Five Leaf Eco-Awards program there are two Levels that churches can complete. Both Levels cover the same areas:
·      making your Church Buildings sustainable
·      developing Green Worship
·      creating an ecologically aware congregation
·      starting ecological outreach programs
·      becoming a “Green Church
The Levels differ in the amount of involvement and the stringency of the requirements to earn the certification or award.
Basic Level
Who it is for: The Basic Level welcomes any church who wants to become more environmentally friendly to participate. It is designed to be readily achievable and to provide support as you get started on the path towards becoming an ecologically friendly church. Method of completion: This Level is completed with the help of the support kits, and personal assistance can also be requested if needed. To receive the Basic Certificate the church must complete all areas of the basic Level.
Prize: Basic Certificate

Advanced Level
Who it is for: The Advanced Level is only available to churches that have received the Basic Certificate and want to go further. It is designed for dedicated churches who really want to make a difference in their communities as well as their churches.
Method of completion: Churches completing this level will be given personal support and advice from the Five Leaf team throughout the whole process. There are five levels in total that can be completed; however there is no obligation to achieve all these awards.
Prize: Completion of an area in this Level results in receiving a prestigious “Leaf Award”. Each leaf award recognises an increasing level of achievement up to the “Five Leaf Award” which is the pinnacle of the program.
Details of Basic Certificate Requirements
You must complete all the requirements in the following areas to obtain your Basic Certificate. Obtain the Basic Eco-Awards Support Kit by emailing and the kit will guide you through the process.
Before beginning the program you must administer a survey to your congregation to determine their level of knowledge and action surrounding environmental issues. To obtain the survey email
Eco-Church Buildings –Basic Level
Outline: Conduct an energy audit of your church by completing the checklist in the energy audit handbook provided with the kit or equivalent (similar handbooks are often available through government websites and conservation agencies). Then complete the two steps below:
- First, take concrete steps to implement at least three of the suggestions for energy reduction listed in the energy audit handbook. Some possibilities include:
-          changing lights and light fittings to more efficient types
-          installing timers on hot water units
-          sealing up drafts to keep heat in
-          switching to GreenPower
- Second, run at least two campaigns to create environmentally friendly behaviour change in your congregation’s activities at church, such as:
-          advertising use of your new church compost scheme,
-          posting reminder notices above light switches to remind people to turn off church lights
-          reminding people to report leaks
-          establishing a policy to use both sides of the paper to print the church newsletter
Measurement: Show the auditor which three energy reduction measures you have implemented, and evidence of the two behaviour change campaigns you have run.
Eco-Worship- Basic Level
Outline: Conduct a service of worship around the environment. Resources can be obtained from:
Measurement: Send in your order of service.
Eco-Congregation –Basic Level
Outline: Promote and provide at least two resources for members of your church to take action in their own lives outside the church.
-          Provide a regular list of tips printed in the church notice sheet
-          Establish a church environment group
-          Conduct or promote church member participation in a workshop which teaches and encourages people to make their lives more sustainable
-          Organise a carpool to church
Further tips, ideas and notices of events can be found in your Eco-Certification Introductory Kit.
Measurement: Send in copies of at least two resources provided to your congregation. Tips in a church notice sheet can only count once.
Eco-Outreach – Basic Level
Outline: Conduct one event to demonstrate the church’s commitment to being a “green” church. This could involve one of the following or similar:
-          Organise a meeting of church representatives to visit your local MP on an environmental issue.
-          Have a ‘Green Film Night’
-          Hold a panel discussion or debate on an environmental issue
-          Host a community event with an environmental theme
-          Organise a forum for the local community on an environmental issue
-          Conduct a letter writing night at your church
Ideas and resources can be found in your support kit.
Measurement: Send in a record of your event.
Special Project
Outline: For churches who demonstrate particular commitment to working towards being sustainable or eco-friendly. A sustainable church is one who uses resources to meet their needs in such a way that future generations will not be disadvantaged in meeting theirs. An “eco-friendly” or “green” church is one who goes beyond the pursuit of sustainability, and adopts an ethos of caring for creation, not just preventing and mitigating human impact. For example, an eco-friendly church might provide habitat for wildlife and assist in restoring ecosystems or build a community garden.
Measurement: Send in an outline of your project or demonstration of your commitment. 

Details of Advanced Eco-Awards Level Requirements
Initial Steps
Email when you wish to begin the Advanced Eco-Awards program and when you decide which area your church will complete next (Eco-Church Buildings, Eco-Worship, Eco-Congregation and Eco-Outreach) to obtain the Five Leaf Award Introduction Pack and the support kit for each Leaf Award.
Before beginning the program you must administer a survey to your congregation to determine their level of knowledge and action surrounding environmental issues. To obtain the survey email

Advanced Level: One to Four Leaf Awards
One Leaf Award will be gained for completing any of the first four categories of the Advanced Level: Sustainable Church Buildings, Green Worship, Ecological Congregation and Ecological Outreach.
 Eco-Church Buildings Leaf Award
Outline: Environmental Audit and Meeting Resource Use Targets
Conduct a detailed audit of your property to determine base levels of use in the following areas:
·         Electricity
·         Water
·         Gas
·         Waste
·         Paper
There are two components to this award. Firstly, you must meet the following reduction targets. Secondly, you must demonstrate at least four campaigns targeted at creating behaviour change in your congregation’s activities at church. Reduction targets and behaviour change will be measured against their baselines (behaviour set in survey at the start of the program and resource use set in audit at start of Sustainable buildings/property Advanced Leaf Award).
Reduction Targets:
·         Electricity Use - 30% reduction to earn the award, then an extra 10% reduction every two years to keep it.
·         Water Use - 20% to earn the award, with demonstrated decrease until practical limit is obtained
·         Gas – 10% reduction to earn the award, with continuing decrease.
·         Waste - 40% reduction, with continuing decrease
·         Paper- Switch all copy paper, paper towels and toilet paper to recycled brands (with the highest post-consumer recycled content obtainable)
How you meet these targets is up to your church. Refer to your support kit for ideas and information.
·         Submit your initial audit and new audit demonstrating all the reduction targets have been met.
·         Submit posters, flyers or other resources used in creating behaviour change.
·         A walk-through inspection of the church will be conducted to corroborate findings and scope further suggestions of ways to make the property more environmentally friendly
·         Additional audits every two years and demonstration of targeted continuing reductions

Eco-Worship Leaf Award
Outline – regular sermons on creation care, participation in the Season of Creation or equivalent, or Bible studies
There are resources in your Green Worship Advanced Leaf Award Support Kit
To be certified the church must submit one of the following:
-          Transcripts or recordings of at least four sermons on the environment and the dates they were given
-          Proof of participation in the Season of Creation or equivalent
-          Proof of conducting at least two in depth Bible studies on an ecological theme
-          Proof of hosting at least two guest speakers for speeches with an ecological theme

Eco-Congregation Leaf Award
Outline: members of the congregation are demonstrably involved in environmentally friendly activities
To be certified the church must provide evidence of at least 10% of their congregation switching to green power or installing alternative energy sources in their homes. They must also demonstrate moves by the congregation to share food or possessions (clothing, books), to commit to ethical consumption and production practices (purchasing of fair trade products or other ethical brands, growing your own food and making your own clothes) and to reduce the environmental impact of their travel to and from church.
The church will establish a “Green Book” in which members of the congregation can record their environmentally friendly decisions and actions. This will then be submitted to the auditor to assess qualification for the Leaf Award. Churches are also encouraged to invite members of the congregation up to give their testimonies of the green actions they have taken during the church announcements.
Eco-Outreach Leaf Award
Outline: Environmentally friendly current and new outreach programs
To be certified the church’s outreach programs must be as ecologically friendly as possible (and demonstrate the steps taken) and they must have at least one environment focused outreach program. For example, if a church runs a soup kitchen they should endeavour to grow as much of the produce themselves as possible (either at the church or in members of the congregation’s gardens); or they should purchase environmentally friendly produce (locally sourced, organic or environmentally conscious production, free range, permaculture, Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance).
Some new outreach programs that the church could start include adopting a road or piece of bushland to maintain, participating in bushland restoration projects, assisting with waste management at the local market, holding sustainability education meetings for the community, leading or contributing to environmental political campaigns.  The program does not have to be entirely new, but must be new for the church.
1.      The church must demonstrate that they have made their outreach/mission programs as ecologically friendly as possible
2.      The church must submit a report outlining their environmentally focused outreach program, what it hopes to achieve, and how it is going so far.
Five Leaf Award- the ‘Green’ Church.
Outline: To be certified with the Advanced Five Leaf Award the church must have proof they fit the following requirements:
Environmental education:
1.     Regular eco-sermons and Bible studies
2.     Possess a shared library of environment and sustainability texts
Further reducing the impact of church and congregation:
3.     Assist its congregation to generate at least 50% of their energy use via alternative energy or via sourcing green power.
4.     Assist its congregation to travel to and from the church with minimal environmental impact.
5.     Reduce their congregation’s ecological footprints and carbon emissions
6.     Encourage ethical purchasing behaviour and have a system of food and possession sharing/recycling.
7.     Exhibit a general commitment to buying local produce where these products cannot be grown
8.     Fair Trade Faith group accreditation or the equivalent
9.     Demonstrate they are working towards constant improvement of their environmental performance.
Leading the community
10.                        At least two environment focused outreach programs
11.                        Outreach to other churches or religious institutions to assist them in becoming more ecologically friendly
12.                        There must be significant evidence of positive behaviour change within the congregation
13.                        Demonstrate that they are having an impact on raising ecological awareness and sustainability in their community as a sustainability leader
These requirements are designed to be challenging as this certification represents the highest level of achievement in this scheme.

·         Submit the transcripts of Environmental Sermons or Bible Studies
·         Submit reports on two established Environment Focused Outreach/Mission programs
·         The church must demonstrate the use of energy by their congregation and proof of the purchase of green power or renewable energy sources for 50% of this.
·         The library must be shown to the auditor or a list of books contained submitted
·         Demonstration of provision of bikes, car pooling or a church bus
·         Submit resources or proof of events used to encourage the congregation to reduce their ecological footprint
·         Food and provision sharing as well as ethical purchasing policies must be demonstrated to the auditor.
·         Proof must be submitted of a general commitment to purchasing local produce
·         Submit Fair Trade Faith Group certificate or equivalent
·         Submit evidence of efforts to assist other churches or religious organisations to become more environmentally friendly
·         Behaviour change will be measured in the survey
·         Impact on the community can be demonstrated by stories in local papers, public events held with attendance outside the congregation and statements by members of the community.
·         The church must submit a report of their plans going forward to improve their environmental performance.

Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+