Environmental Sustainability is embedded in our operations, supported in our teaching and research; and integral to our overall commitment to Social Responsibility.

For a closer look at our policies and how we perform, please visit Oxford Brookes University Sustainability.

ECOsmart scheme

Oxford Brookes Venues has been graded as Platinum by the ECOsmart scheme in recognition of its exceptional sustainability standards. This award is reserved for the "Best of the Best" sustainable venues.

ECOsmart is the accreditation programme of Greengage Solutions who recognise and support eco-friendly hotels and conference venues that meet certified standards of sustainability.

Ecosmart logo


Oxford Brookes University is accredited to ISO 14001, the world's most recognised environmental management system (EMS). It provides a framework for continually improving our environmental performance across the organisation while reducing our negative impacts on the environment .

All our new builds and refurbished venues use sustainable design guidelines that include design features such as natural lighting, "free" natural ventilation, low-flow water fixtures, and efficient heating systems. All new builds are being designed to deliver our aim to be net-zero by 2040.

We declared a climate emergency in 2021. Our new carbon 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. By 2022 we had cut carbon emissions by 50% since 2005, we became the first UK University to have an operational geothermal heating system in 2022.

We are working towards our 75% recycling target for 2025, we segregate mixed recycling, hazardous, clinical, general and food waste across our operations. With <1% of our waste going to landfill and 96% of our construction waste being recycled in 2022. We focus heavily on waste prevention and re-use, and continued our successful campaign and partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF). In the 2020/21 academic year, staff and students raised over £25,000 from donations and in 2021/22 we raised £37,000.

Water efficient showers, taps, and toilets are installed in all buildings to help reduce water use. Rainwater harvesting at our Headington Campus and Clive Booth Accommodation capture rainwater for use in our toilets.

We have a vision to address the UK and global biodiversity crisis through the protection and enhancement of biodiversity across the university estate and wider global aspects through our teaching and research programs. We are the first university in the world to install bee-centred Freedom Hives. We have delivered rewilding projects and pollinator flower meadows are planted across sites to promote flora diversity and attract native bees. Bird, bat, and owl boxes are installed across our campuses to provide homes for wildlife. Bug hotels have been built to welcome overwintering guests.


Sustainable travel is embedded into the heart and culture of the University. We are committed to reducing the impact of our transport activity, and actively encourage staff, students and visitors to travel by a low emission alternative. Our award-winning BROOKESbus links our campuses and stops at key places including Oxford City Centre, Oxford Rail Station, and Seacourt and Thornhill Park and Ride.

Since 2012, BROOKESbus has moved nearly 23.5 million passengers – saving an estimated 1.5 million car journeys each year from Oxford’s roads. Nearly 40% of all BROOKESbus journeys in 2019 were made by community members, thus providing sustainable transport options for the wider community.

In 2018, Oxford Brookes University purchased six new micro-hybrid buses that reduced fuel consumption by 18% and CO2 emissions by 34% (compared to a baseline low-emission bus). By the autumn of 2023 all of our Brookesbus fleet should be moving to 100% Electric vehicles, paving the way in the HE sector.

Oxford is a recognised "cycling friendly city" and we promote the use of Bikes and scooters across our halls and campuses.


Oxford Brookes University has invested in dual monitors in our offices, saving the need to print emails or event documents. We no longer print or distribute brochures. When we must print, it is on 100% recycled paper. We reuse marketing materials such as banners that are not event/date specific.

We advise event organisers to reuse whatever materials possible. Badge holders, lanyards, and pens are all items that can be collected and reused at future events.

Complimentary flip charts, pens, and stationery pads are no longer offered to encourage attendees to use alternative sustainable and digital products.

Event organisers can use our fast and professional on-site printing service UniPrint to reduce carrier delivery emissions.


We have a proud history with Fairtrade, being certified as the first Fairtrade University in the world in 2004. We achieved a Fairtrade University award for our work over the last two academic years (2020-2022), and are one of only 26 higher education institutions to have achieved Fairtrade University status. The award recognises a broad range of activities undertaken within the institution, working towards a more just, equitable and sustainable world for all.

To promote more sustainable coffee consumption, we offer a discount when you bring your own cup and provide special cup collection points on the side of the bins at our caterng outlets.

Free drinking water is provided at all of our catering outlets and water fountains are installed throughout our campuses. We encourage visitors to bring a reusable water bottle and help reduce the amount of plastic waste generated from single-use water bottles.

We provide ongoing support to promote healthy and sustainable food options. This includes actively sourcing locally grown produce and promoting seasonal foods, maintaining sustainable food and animal welfare accreditations. We are currently exploring alignment with the Sustainable Restaurant Associations Food made Good Food Made Good program, which is the most globally recognised industry standard for measuring sustainability across the Hospitality Sector. Vegetarian and vegan event catering packages are available. We work with event organisers to avoid over-ordering to combat food waste.

Green Event Practices

Events can cause considerable waste and impact on the environment. We are mindful of this and encourage sustainability efforts by kindly asking you to participate in our Green Event Practices.

Before you arrive ensure:

  • you are not bringing any single-use plastic to the venue
  • you have downloaded the conference app or programme
  • you have downloaded the agenda and meeting papers
  • you have planned your journey to the venue via public transport or you have arranged car-sharing.

What to bring to the event

  • pen/pencil
  • paper
  • reusable/tote bag (avoid plastic)
  • USB stick
  • water bottle
  • coffee cup
  • reusable food container
  • handkerchief
  • charger / power bank.

At the event

  • separate your waste into the bins provided
  • reuse your cup, plate, and cutlery where possible
  • consider if you need to take giveaways
  • avoid wasting food and only take the amount you need
  • avoid cars and taxis to commute between locations: instead, use buses, hire bikes or walk
  • turn off taps to save water
  • turn of electronic appliances to reduce energy use.

Contact us