Brookes declares a climate emergency

2 November 2021

The National Union of Students (NUS), says 91% of students are “fairly or very concerned” about climate breakdown; 80% want their institution to be doing more on sustainable development, while 60% want to learn more about sustainability. Here at Oxford Brookes environmental sustainability is embedded in our operations, supported in our teaching and research and there are many ways to get involved whilst at university.

As world leaders gather in Glasgow at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), Brookes has joined other UK universities in declaring a climate emergency as part of our new interim carbon reduction strategy. Key to this declaration is our commitment to increase our action on climate change and become carbon neutral as an organisation.

Achieving net zero will touch the lives of everyone, and now is the time for action. Julia Baczyk, this year’s Environmental Officer, said: "Knowledge comes from experience, and experience comes from making mistakes. So today, instead of looking for someone to blame, let’s use that knowledge and make informed and conscious decisions to create a more sustainable future we all want to see."

Our road to net zero

We recognise the need to reduce our contribution to climate change and support the scientific targets set by the Paris Climate Accord, which aims to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Last year, we achieved our 2025 carbon reduction target of 35%, 4 years ahead of plan. Our new strategy sets a target of a 68% reduction of scope 1 & 2 emissions (those relating predominantly to our buildings and infrastructure) from 2010 levels by 2030. By 2040, we intend to become a net-zero carbon organisation, where only unavoidable emissions are offset. This goal is some 10 years ahead of the UK legislative deadline.

Have a look at other sustainability highlights this past year in this short video or read the full annual sustainability report. Further information on the University’s sustainability activities can be found on the sustainability webpages.

Get involved - champion sustainability at Brookes

Brookes Union currently has three active sustainability-focussed societies you can join: the Sustainability Society, the Vegan Society and the Botanical Society.

Students can get involved with Hedgehog Friendly Campus too - the team is currently on track to reach a bronze award; join Brookes’ Hedgehog Friendly Campus Team to help us reach our silver award next! Please register on the Hedgehog Friendly Campus website as members of the Brookes team (registration code:192) or email the Brookes HFC Team if you have any questions: hedgehogfriendlycampus@brookes.ac.uk.

If you are interested in environmentalism, climate justice or sustainability, you can also join the Union's Environmental Network. The Network is a group of like-minded students, led by our Environmental Officer, working together on campaigns and events.

The University and Union are also jointly working toward Green Impact bronze awards; Green Impact is a programme where teams of staff will take part in an environmental accreditation scheme, helping them to adopt greener habits in their workplace. Students will audit staff teams to assess their actions. More information on how to become a student Green Impact Auditor will be shared soon.

COP26 travel competition

During COP26, join the Transport Services Team’s sustainable travel competition. Show your support for sustainable travel for a chance to win a £10 Gather and Gather voucher. To enter the competition:

  • Commute to campus by a sustainable form of transport (e.g. cycling, walking, public transport)
  • Purchase bicycle lights and/or a D-lock from the University’s online shop

Entries will need to upload a photo of either themselves using sustainable transport or their online purchase receipt.