What was the Zero Carbon Oxford Summit?

On Thursday 4 February 2021, leaders of Oxford’s major businesses and organisations attended the virtual Zero Carbon Oxford Summit.

The Summit, which was coordinated by Oxford City Council, saw the group of 21 leaders from the city’s universities, institutions and large businesses sign the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter - marking their support for working to become a net zero carbon city by 2040. 

The Summit was an opportunity for representatives to showcase their climate plans and action, facilitate conversation about a collective vision, and establish a formal partnership and collaborative approach to tackling the climate crisis.

You can watch the full Zero Carbon Oxford Summit on YouTube.

Download the Zero Carbon Oxford Summit slide deck.

The Council’s Scientific Adviser, Nick Eyre, addressed the Summit confirming that the 2040 net zero date was technically achievable and ambitious for the city. 

Zero Carbon Oxford Charter

The closing of the summit was marked by the signing of the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter, and the creation of the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership (ZCOP). 

The following charter was agreed by the group of 21 leaders who attended the Zero Carbon Oxford Summit.

We the undersigned are committed to working together to create a zero carbon Oxford.  We will collaborate to build a prosperous, sustainable city in which we all can share. 

In particular we commit ourselves to:

Setting carbon targets, monitoring and reporting

  1. Collaborate to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the city of Oxford.
  2. Support the efforts of the city as a whole to reach its five-yearly carbon emission reduction targets that aim to achieve net zero by 2040. We will take these targets into consideration when making plans to reduce carbon emissions from our own estates and operations.
  3. Establish a shared framework to monitor progress against these targets and report publicly on an annual basis, along with reviewing the targets and increasing ambition if it is feasible to do so in terms of changing policy, technology or finance.

Road map and action planning

  1. Contribute to the development and adoption of a roadmap and action plans that outline the steps needed for Oxford to meet these carbon targets.  This must also identify any gaps or impediments at a local or national level to implementation and recognise the topics listed in the partnership’s scope.
  2. Recognise the wider non-carbon benefits climate action can bring, including sustainable economies and local prosperity.

Collaborative working

  1. Work collaboratively to accelerate the rate of carbon emissions reduction within the city, exploring opportunities to work on shared projects that deliver greater carbon emission reductions than we could achieve individually.
  2. Support sharing best practice and piloting sustainable innovations.
  3. Collectively identify funding sources to support ZCO and the delivery of net zero activities within the city.
  4. Jointly lobby the UK Government to provide the regulatory, infrastructural and funding support necessary to achieve net zero carbon emissions.
  5. Encourage other organisations to join the Partnership, generally promote the work of the Partnership and engage with staff, customers and service users about climate issues.


  1. Support a steering group of key organisations and recognise accountability is through collective and fair scrutiny.

We commend the progress to date made in Oxford on tackling climate change and sustainability issues, and call on all communities, organisations and businesses in Oxford to sign the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter and help to create change for good. 

Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership

The Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership consists of organisations gathered at the Summit, as well as enabling a wider range of stakeholders to play their part in cutting Oxford’s carbon footprint to zero.

The partnership provides:

  • a collaborative approach to implementing carbon reduction measures
  • enable partners to share their examples of best practice and learn from each other
  • develop funding bids and attract financial support for the ambitious and innovative projects which will allow the city to go further and faster in its journey to net zero carbon
  • lobby the UK Government for powers, policy, and funding
  • engage customers, citizens and communities in shared climate action

The Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership changes the focus from organisations managing their own estates, towards collaborative action and using each member’s sphere of influence and knowledge to achieve shared goals and initiatives across the City.

The Partnership will be governed by a Steering Group to provide high level governance, comprised of key organisations that are strategically important to reducing emissions in the city of Oxford.

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