Fossil Fuel Free Careers Motion Passed by Student Council


In Hilary Term, the Fossil Free Careers motion was passed by Student Council. The SU has resolved to support the Fossil Free Careers campaign which demands that our university Careers Service refuses all new relationships with oil, gas or mining companies, and proposes to never give these companies access to SU-organised events. Read on below to see the full motion. 

Fossil Free Careers Motion 
Council notes:  

1. That the operations of the oil, gas and mining industries cause immense environmental harm, by accelerating the climate and ecological crisis (2), polluting the water (3) and permanently destroying landscapes. (4)  

2. That these extractive operations also cause direct social harm, by displacing people from their homes and lands, (5) destroying livelihoods, (6) demolishing sacred Indigenous sites, (7) and leaving workers and communities with severe health problems. (8)  

3. That graduates are increasingly turning away from the oil and gas sector. A 2017 study showed the number of graduates taking jobs in the industry had dropped by 60% in four years. (9)  

4. That young people see oil and gas as the most unappealing sector to work in. (10) They associate it with responsibility for the climate crisis and believe there is no future for jobs in the industry. (11)  

5. The University Careers Service does not have a publicly accessible policy that excludes the promotion of careers in the oil, gas and mining industry through its website, careers fairs, emails to the student body and other recruitment events.  

6. 20% of university Career Departments already restrict one or more of the tobacco industry, adult/sex industry, or gambling industry from accessing their services (12). Oxford University already prevents tobacco companies from advertising careers to students due to the ‘great harm to public health’ that it has caused, though pollution from burning fossil fuels causes at least as many deaths each year as tobacco smoke. (13)  

7. The university has made a public ethical and sustainability commitment. This includes a commitment to ‘divest its endowment formally from the fossil fuel industry’ in April 2020 (14). Oxford University also claim to ‘have set the target of reducing our carbon emissions by fifty per cent by 2030’. (15)  

8. Oxford students have consistently protested careers events that promote fossil fuel and mining companies such as Glencore, Equinor and BP. Geography students have also criticised their department’s advertisement of a position at Shell. (1) For a precise definition of the companies we refer to when we say ‘oil, gas, and mining companies’ see the Fossil Free Careers Targets page - (

Council Believes:  

1. Inviting oil, gas, and mining companies to advertise with the careers service adds legitimacy to the idea that these companies are an acceptable part of our society and our future.  

2. Oxford’s Careers Service should ensure that its recruitment activities and events are in line with the university’s publicly stated ethical principles of sustainability.  

3. Oxford’s Careers Service has a responsibility to its students to promote jobs with a future.  

4. Ending this university’s complicity in career pipelines into the oil, gas, and mining industry is an effective method of showing solidarity with communities affected by these companies’ operations.  


Council Resolves:  

1. To make 'To publicly support the Fossil Free Careers campaign and demands that our university Careers Service:  

Refuses all new relationships with oil, gas or mining companies.  

Declines to renew any current relationships with oil, gas or mining companies after the contractually obligated period ends.  

Adopts a publicly available Ethical Careers Policy that explicitly excludes oil, gas and mining companies from recruitment opportunities' Policy. 

2. To mandate the relevant full-time and part-time officer(s) to actively work with the Fossil Free Careers campaign group and People & Planet to ensure that Union work is linked up with grassroots campaigners.  

3. To mandate the relevant full-time and part-time officer(s) to help set up meetings relating to the Fossil Free Careers campaign with relevant university staff and include student campaigners where relevant. 

4. To use relevant SU social media channels to amplify petitions, statements and other calls to action from the Fossil Free Careers campaign.  

5. To send out a press release and website statement announcing the passing of this motion and the support of the union for this campaign.  

6. To never allow oil, gas, or mining companies access to SU-organised events, or to lend the SU name, logo or endorsement to events which include these companies.  

7. To refuse the presence of oil, gas and mining companies in any SU-controlled physical or digital space.