ROME, ITALY (May 15, 2023) — At the Vatican City, a World Resources Institute (WRI) delegation and His Eminence Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, Vicar General for the Vatican City State and President of the Fabric of Saint Peter, announced a new phase in their partnership to work jointly toward net-zero emissions goals for the Saint Peter’s Basilica, one of the most iconic Catholic cathedrals in the world, attracting over 10 million visitors a year.

The two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in September 2022 to work together to develop and implement actions aimed at making the Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome more environmentally sustainable and reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

The program completed an inventory of carbon emissions of the Basilica and the annexed complex of buildings, following a methodology for climate mitigation that was created by WRI’s Faith and Sustainability Initiative and Georgetown University, in partnership with Porticus. This research will inform the projects about sustainability currently in progress at The Fabric of Saint Peter.

 “We are thrilled to put the Memorandum of Understanding between Vatican City and WRI into practice,” said Stientje van Veldhoven, Vice President and Regional Director for WRI Europe, at today’s meeting in Rome where the next phase of the ‘Science-based Targets for Faith’ project was discussed. “This has great symbolic value as one of the most important places of worship in Catholicism makes the fight against climate change central to its daily operations. When all faith-based organizations make this carbon reduction commitment, we could potentially reach 83% of the world population affiliated with a world religion. There could also be a real emissions impact as many faith-based organizations own or are associated with complexes of buildings, such as hospitals, schools, restaurants, and canteens.”

“Our planet is going through an environmental crisis that has no comparison to the past. Climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity and deforestation are just examples of the challenges that we have to address," said Cardinal Gambetti. "It is urgent to switch to new models of sustainability, as underlined by Pope Francis in his magisterium, starting with the encyclical Laudato Si’. What is happening to the planet, our common home, it is not just a concern in terms of environmental awareness but is also about our responsibility towards other people and future generations. Here at the Basilica, we have established a Scientific Committee to study, develop and implement concrete actions to improve the Basilica’s environmental sustainability ahead of the Jubilee of 2025. The partnership with WRI enriches this urgent commitment." 

As a prominent religious institution, the Vatican is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and promoting sustainability, with Pope Francis pledging carbon neutrality by 2050 and emphasizing collective action in a video sent to the 2021 Climate Ambition Summit. The collaboration between WRI and St Peter’s Basilica is a significant step towards achieving these larger goals and demonstrates the potential to promote sustainability across all sectors of society.

About World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization with offices in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, and regional offices for Africa and Europe. Our 1,700 staff work with partners to develop practical solutions that improve people’s lives and ensure nature can thrive. Learn more: and on Twitter @WorldResources.

About WRI Faith and Sustainability

WRI established the Faith and Sustainability initiative in 2021, to harness the potential of partnerships with faith-based organizations (FBOs) and enable faith communities to build capacity for community-level solutions to sustainability challenges.