The Oxford Sustainability Department has just proposed a much more ambitious target for the University of net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain by 2035 (to replace the current target of 50% reduction) to read more about the proposed targets follow this link. Since Oxford colleges are independent from the University, the strategy does not directly apply. Students ad staff will need to play a key role in lobbying their colleges to align their strategy with the University.
Take action using our Sustainability Action Guide
- Propose a JCR/MCR motion using this pre-written template to a) get your college to support the Oxford Sustainability Department strategy and b) lobby your college to take on the same carbon target as the University.
- To address the problem it's important to know the scope of it. Oxford Climate Society has drafted a letter for you to send to your bursars or other relevant staff members, to enquire about carbon emissions at college.
- If there is no current carbon audit for your college Bart Ashton, Burser of LMH and founder of the Oxford Sustainability Guild, has created a sample carbon audit which includes estimates of the breakdown of carbon emitting areas at LMH college such as gas, electricity, transport and food as well as a pathways to carbon reduction in these areas. Ask your college perform an audit of the college and it's annexes.
- Low Carbon Hub is a local social enterprise offering free expert energy efficiency advice to colleges. In the past they have provoided tailored recommendations to colleges that have lead to significant financial and carbon emissions savings.
- The Oxford sustainability department is a source of usful information about past successes projects at the university, funding opportunities, and recources such as progress tracking through the NUS green impact tool.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page for specific information on carbon intensive activities in Oxford University colleges.
Writing Carbon Targets and Sustainability Policy
- Once you have asses the carbon impact of your college and the recources avalible it is possible to start drafting sustainability policies and targets with your college administation.
- This is something that you could do internally with current mebers of staff, with external help (for instance from the Low Carbon Hub or Oxford sustainability department) or, if your college has the budget, you could request the hire of a member of staff whose to focus is entirely sustainability within the college.
- Bart Ashton has written a sample carbon policy and sustainability plan with some dicussion questions to keep in mind when setting out goal.
- WHY will your college adopt a sustainability policy or Carbon Target?
- HOW MUCH resource do you think it’s ready to commit to it?
- WHAT kind of scope will be accepted? How bold can you be?
- Is this a 1 year transitional plan or a 10 year vision?
- HOW will you measure success? Can you get the data?
- WHERE should you focus attention for the biggest gain?
- How can we best collaborate between colleges to share knowledge and successful practice?
Acording to the UN food agency 1/3 of food produced by humans goes to waste. This amounts to 8% of global emissions from the shipping, processing and decomosition of wasted food. There are two avenues through which colleges can address their contibution this problem. Firstly, by reducing the amount of absolute food waste probuced by the college by taloiring the supply of meals at the colleges to fit demand more closely and finding organisations and charities to safely donate unsold meals. Secondly, reduce the carbon intensity of food being served at the college by reducing the amount of meat dishes on offer, adjusting menus to reflect seasonality of produce and developing supply chains with local suppliers where feasible.
BUILDINGS & ENERGY
Heating and electricity in college buildings is one of colleges most carbon intensive activities so it's important to tackle it head on. Doing so can be an expensive endeavor but colleges will quickly see returns on there investments in reduced billing.
To de-carbonize heating and energy:
1. Reduce in demand
– insulate, double-glaze, reduce air leakage.
2. Increase in system efficiency
– more efficient heating, lighting, ventilation and control systems.
3. Reduce carbon in the energy supply - pv generation, ground source heat pump.
Following these steps Trinity College Cambridge reduced the carbon consumption of college assets by 88%.