The new strategy is the University’s ambitious response to the profound environmental sustainability challenges facing humanity. It reflects the concerns expressed in the Vice-Chancellor’s Oration last year, in which she questioned whether the University is doing enough to address these challenges.
Created over the last few months by a working group drawn from across the University, the draft strategy suggests bold new environmental targets, and identifies 13 key priorities for the next five years. These range from setting targets to stabilise and reduce carbon emissions from international travel, to publishing annual carbon and biodiversity accounting, reducing the meat and dairy offered at University catering outlets and promoting large-scale infrastructure projects that will encourage walking and cycling around Oxford.
The staff and student consultation will run until 14 April 2020, and seeks views from all over the University community on the strategy, both on what is right and on what could be improved. Many of the steps being considered are radical ones that will have serious effects on the way we live and work, and will impose significant financial costs, so it is essential that as many people as possible get a chance to contribute to the final strategy.
The University has already achieved a great deal in environmental terms, and has committed to halving carbon emissions from their peak by 2030, but there is still a huge amount to achieve, and the consultation will help create detailed plans to do this, which will be agreed over the current academic year.