Back in March 2021, the central university committed to net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain by 2035 and released a strategy to achieve this. However, the central university strategy did not include colleges, so the students started voicing their concerns and asked colleges to make commitments as well.
Following that, common rooms across over 20 colleges passed motions in support of Decarbonise Oxford’s Asks (organised through Oxford Climate Society). These asks included:
Commit to carbon and biodiversity targets at least as ambitious as the University by the end of Trinity term 2021.
Develop a formal sustainability strategy.
Development of a system of transparent annual reporting of target progress and carbon emissions by the end of Trinity term 2021.
Allocation of sufficient resources to achieve the targets, including a designated sustainability position reporting to the sustainability working group that takes responsibility for progress.
Despite these motions passing, and many students having discussions with their colleges about these asks, progress on setting targets, developing strategies and allocating sufficient resources has been very slow. For this reason, after attending Conference of Colleges Sustainability Working groups, the SU felt it was important to clearly articulate what students have been asking for.
We therefore consulted college Environment and Ethics Reps and came up with the three demands to be met by March 2023.