In March 2021, the University of Oxford approved a new Environmental Sustainability Strategy, aiming to achieve net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain by 2035.
The Strategy includes two targets to achieve net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain, four enablers and ten priority areas in which the University will take action. It replaces previous policies that related to environmental sustainability issues. In the coming years, additional policies will be published, introducing the University's commitments and the mechanisms to address it.
The four enablers to support the Strategy are governance, reporting, funding and offsetting.
- The University will establish a new Oxford Sustainability Fund, making £200 million available for sustainability initiatives over the next 15 years.
- Within the first 12 months of the strategy implementation, the University is committed to developing a system of annual reporting of carbon emissions and biodiversity impact. The reports will be published in Oxford’s Annual Review and the financial accounts.
- As part of embedding environmental sustainability in the governance of the University, a new subcommittee has been set up to take overall responsibility for environmental sustainability at the University. 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 ten priority areas that the Strategy addresses are: research, curriculum, carbon emissions from energy consumption on the University estate, biodiversity, sustainable food, sustainable resource use, international travel, local travel, investments and learning from the pandemic. For each of these, the Environmental Sustainability Strategy lists a set of activities and commitments.
Visit the Sustainability website to read the complete strategy, commitments and plans for each of the priorities.