Operation Noah’s Directors’ Report, 2021

Posted in: Blog, Reports

Every year we release an annual report.

Click below to read the full Directors’ Report, 2021.

What follows here is a summary of our activity in 2021:

Chair’s report – 2022

As in 2020, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions have meant that all staff members have worked from home and board meetings have taken place exclusively online. Nonetheless, the work of Operation Noah has continued much as normal throughout 2021. With COP26 in November, a number of divestment announcements at various points in the year and the initiation of a new project, 2021 was an historic year for ON. Looking back over last year, there are a number of things to highlight in our work at Operation Noah during 2021.

Summary of activities

In February Operation Noah helped organise a webinar for Methodist campaigners. The founder of the global divestment movement, Bill McKibben, was one of the speakers. This webinar was watched live by over four hundred individuals.

March witnessed another successful webinar organised by Operation Noah, this one for climate campaigners in the Anglican Communion. It included speakers from South Africa, New Zealand and all four United Kingdom nations. The keynote speaker was the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft. More than two hundred individuals joined us live for this webinar.

In April the Methodist Church fully divested from fossil fuels. Operation Noah worked with Methodist campaigners to bring this about.

In May the Church of Scotland divested from oil and gas companies. Operation Noah supported members of the Church of Scotland to bring this to fruition.

May also saw the first of two Global Divestment Announcements organised and sponsored by Operation Noah, along with our partners at the Laudato Si’ Movement, Green Anglicans, the World Council of Churches and GreenFaith. In this month, 36 faith institutions from 11 countries announced their divestment from fossil fuels. Among others, this announcement included divestment decisions by the Church in Wales, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Roman Catholic diocese of Hallam and the Anglican dioceses of Oxford and Bristol.

In June, we held our annual Supporters’ Event. One of our trustees, Hannah Malcolm, chaired the online event. Over 80 people registered to hear from our speakers, Chine McDonald of Christian Aid, Dave Gregory of the Baptist Union Environmental Network and Josh Tregale of Mock COP26. We also had breakout sessions, providing opportunities for supporters to discuss specific environmental and theological topics.

In September we secured funding to significantly expand our Bright Now campaign. This new funding will allow us to hire two new staff members and to scale up our work with UK Churches and faith institutions on investment in climate solutions, such as renewable energy. As part of this expansion of Bright Now, we will also work with partners on a campaign to encourage the Church of England to increase tree coverage on its land and improve its land management practices, given the urgent climate and biodiversity crises.

October witnessed the second Global Divestment Announcement (again co-sponsored with the Laudato Si’ Movement, Green Anglicans, the World Council of Churches and GreenFaith). With 72 faith institutions, from six continents, making divestment commitments totalling more than £3.1 billion ($4.2 billion), this was the largest-ever joint divestment announcement. UK Church institutions who joined this divestment announcement included the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church of Wales, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 15 Catholic dioceses in the UK and Ireland, including the Archdioceses of Glasgow, St Andrews & Edinburgh, Birmingham and Southwark, and the Anglican dioceses of Truro, Sodor & Man, Norwich and Durham.

After being postponed for a year because of Covid, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) finally met in Glasgow, in November. Operation Noah made its presence felt at the conference. One of our trustees, Shilpita Mathews, an environmental economist, was an official observer at the conference, and our Bright Now Campaign Manager, James Buchanan, spoke at several events and helped organise a powerful in-person discussion on divestment and climate justice, which we also live-streamed to an international audience.

Not only did COP26 take place in November, but this month also saw the conclusion of an initiative which began with Operation Noah: Climate Sunday. This year-long initiative culminated with an ecumenical service in Glasgow Cathedral. Over 2,200 UK churches held climate-themed services during the year in the build up to COP26. Many of those churches also lobbied their MP, signed the Climate Coalition’s letter calling for more ambitious climate action or joined a church greening scheme.

In December we interviewed for and hired two new employees to help with the expansion of Bright Now (mentioned above). They will begin working in January 2022.

Also in December, Shell announced that it would no longer fund the Cambo oil field, west of Shetland. While majority stakeholder Siccar Point Energy still hopes to take the project forward with new backers, it is now pausing the project as Shell’s withdrawal means it is unable to keep to the ‘originally planned timescale.’ Cambo would produce annual emissions equivalent to 18 coal-fired power stations and is the first of more than a dozen proposed new North Sea oil projects. Operation Noah is proud to be an official partner of the Stop Cambo campaign. At the time of Shell’s announcement, ON was helping to organise an open letter to the Church of England’s Pension Board, which leads on engagement with Shell, urging the Pension Board to make it clear to Shell it must ‘abandon plans for the Cambo oil field.’ The letter had been signed by over seventy CofE clergy and bishops.

Bookmark and Share


Registered charity number 1138101