Zero Carbon Oxford Summit

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 and gave their support to the aspiration of achieving net zero carbon emissions as a city by 2040. 

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, which marks their support for achieving net zero carbon emissions as a 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 here.

The following slides were showcased at the Summit:

  • Why is it necessary for Oxford to reach zero carbon sooner than 2050? - Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy and Climate Policy at the Environmental Change Institute, Scientific Adviser to Oxford City Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment
  • Unipart -  Joel Magande, Group Environmental Manager
  • Landsec - Andy Mazzucchelli, Energy and Sustainability Manager
  • The Conference of Colleges Kathy Willis, Principal of St Edmund Hall
  • BMW (UK) Manufacturing Ltd Alexandra Schneider, Director Finance, Compliance
  • Oxfam GB Neil Clark, Corporate Responsibility Adviser for Environment
  • Oxford Bus Company Phil Southall, Finance and Commercial Director
  • Stagecoach in Oxfordshire Dr Nick Small, Head of Built Environment

Download the slide deck here.

The Council’s Scientific Adviser, Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Oxford, addressed the Summit confirming that the 2040 net zero date was technically achievable and ambitious for the city. A detailed roadmap to net zero emissions for Oxford has been commissioned and will be published in summer 2021.

Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership

The closing of the summit was marked by the signing of the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter, and the creation of a new Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership for the city.

The new Partnership will involve those 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.

By agreeing to join the Partnership, organisations will be supporting an ambition of achieving net zero carbon emissions as a city by 2040.

The new Partnership will provide:

  • 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 replaces the Low Carbon Oxford partnership which was established a decade ago with an aim to reduce carbon emissions in Oxford by 40% by 2020, by members managing their own carbon footprints - which the city is on course to achieve.   

The new 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.

The Zero Carbon Oxford Charter

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.