Environmental Sustainability Strategy

The strategy focuses on these ten priority areas:

  • Research - Increase research and engagement in environmental sustainability.
  • Curriculum - Offer all students the opportunity to study environmental sustainability, either within or outside the examined curriculum.
  • Carbon emissions from University buildings - Reduce carbon emissions related to our energy consumption to a minimal level.
  • Biodiversity - Identify and address the University’s principal biodiversity impacts through its operations and supply chain, and enhance biodiversity on the University’s estate.
  • Sustainable food - Reduce the carbon emissions and biodiversity impact of our food.
  • Sustainable resource use - Reduce the environmental impacts of our consumption and supply chain.
  • International travel - Reduce aviation emissions from University staff and student travel and offset the balance of emissions.
  • Local travel - Limit transport emissions by reducing the need to travel, encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport and managing the demand to travel by car.
  • Investments - Ensure that the University, as an investor, is part of the solution to climate change and biodiversity loss.
  • Learning from the pandemic - Build on the experience of the pandemic and the potential shift to more environmentally sustainable working practices.

The strategy is underpinned by the following four ‘enablers’:

  • Governance - Embedding environmental sustainability in the University’s governance and decision making;
    • The Environmental Sustainability Subcommittee, established in 2021 as a subcommittee of the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee (PRAC), is chaired by Dr David Prout, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) and has representatives from across the University and student body. The Subcommittee holds overall responsibility for environmental sustainability at the University.
  • Reporting - Developing a system of annual reporting of carbon emissions and biodiversity impact within the first twelve months, which will be published in the University of Oxford’s Annual Review and financial accounts;
  • Funding - Establishing the Oxford Sustainability Fund, making £200 million available for sustainability initiatives over the next 15 years, to finance the programme of action required to reach net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain by 2035;
  • Offsetting - Establishing a policy to guide our use of carbon offsetting and biodiversity offsetting.

Visit our Environmental Sustainability Strategy Q&A page for responses to some of the key questions regarding the strategy. 

Flowchart demonstrating the 9-step strategy development process from VC's Oration October 2019 to Council approval of the Strategy 15 March 2021

Strategy Development Process: VC's Oration October 2019; Sustainability Roundtable November 2019; Working Group meets monthly; Consultation with staff and students April 2020; Revisions based on consultation; Business Case and enabling policies developed; Draft Strategy consulted on October 2020; University Committees; Council approval of the Strategy 15 March 2021

Environmental Sustainability Strategy


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