Sustainability at Worcester
Environmental sustainability represents a global challenge. An unstable climate, increasing carbon emissions and accelerating biodiversity loss require urgent action at all levels of society.
At Worcester College, we are committed to acting in ethical and sustainable ways to greatly improve our environmental performance, reduce our emissions and manage our natural estate.
We recognise that we have a collective responsibility to consider the environmental impacts of our decisions and behaviours, and we have taken steps to embed sustainability into our governance, actions and operations.
Worcester College has had an Environmental Policy in place since 2011. This was revised in 2023 with both new and renewed commitments to improve the College's environmental performance.
Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy (2023-2025) sets out key goals and outcomes to be achieved over the next five years and is kept under review by the Sustainability Committee. A copy is available upon request.
The College has an established Sustainability Committee, which is responsible for producing and keeping under review the College’s Sustainability Strategy, annual sustainability targets, and associated environmental policies. The Committee provides a consultative and advisory role to help the College reduce negative environmental impacts and improve sustainability outcomes in the following priority areas:
- Energy use and carbon emissions
- Investment and procurement
The Sustainability Committee is chaired by a nominated member of Governing Body, recognised as the College’s Sustainability Fellow. Membership is comprised of Governing Body Fellows, staff, students and external experts who meet termly to monitor impacts and advise on actions that will help improve the College's environmental performance. Any College member is welcome to attend committee meetings and contribute to the work of the Committee.
Sustainability is a standing agenda item for all College committees, and at every meeting committees are required to consider the environmental impacts of their decisions. We are currently in the process of updating the College’s Sustainability Strategy and Policy to clearly set out the College's principles and commitments towards achieving environmental sustainability.
All members of the College take both individual and shared responsibility for acting in responsible ways to protect the environment and help meet our sustainability goals. All staff with management and purchasing responsibilities are regularly reminded of the College’s sustainability ambitions and values to encourage sustainable choices at all levels of College working life.
The following individuals hold specific responsibilities for leading, coordinating or monitoring our policies and progress on sustainability:
- The Sustainability Fellow (Dr Lisa Wedding) is a senior academic nominated from among the College's Governing Body to provide leadership and support for the College's sustainability ambitions.
- The Executive Officer (Alison Stibbe) works from the Provost's Office to support College leadership in the coordination and delivery of strategies to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental outcomes from College activities.
- The Assistant to the Head of Works (Adele Currant) holds responsibility for delivering sustainability targets on the College estate (mainly related to carbon emissions and energy use in buildings, and to implement and promote carbon reduction initiatives).
Useful links and additional information
Useful links for College members and visitors who want to support action on sustainability:
- Sustainability on the Shelves - a College project to boost learning on sustainability
- Biodiversity & Sustainability in the College Gardens - a summary of work and initiatives from the Head of Gardens & Grounds
- Responding to Oxford SU sustainability demands (March 2023) - details of our commitments and actions on sustainability
- University of Oxford Sustainability site
- Oxford SU Sustainability Hub
- Oxford Net Zero - research and collaboration hub
- Oxford Climate Society - to connect and develop informed climate leaders
Page updated: 20 March 2023