Published: Friday, 19 March 2021

Oxford City Council has outlined the next steps for its Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership at its Cabinet meeting last week.

The Council’s Cabinet has welcomed the outcomes of the Zero Carbon Oxford Summit, its target date for Oxford to become a Zero Carbon city by 2040, and the next steps of the Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership.

Last month, the Council held the Zero Carbon Oxford Summit which saw leaders from 21 major businesses and organisations across the city give their support to the aspiration of achieving net zero carbon emissions as a city by 2040. 

The Summit brought together leaders from both City and County Councils, both universities, both hospital trusts, major businesses including BMW, Unipart and LandSec, transport providers, schools and further education colleges, anchored institutions, and other organisations that are strategically important to achieving a net zero city by 2040.

The Summit, held virtually on 4 February 2021 was an opportunity for Oxford’s civic leadership 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.

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 involves 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 are 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.

Next steps

The Steering Group will establish the new Partnership’s first “Sprint Groups” who will work collaboratively on key areas where rapid progress is necessary to turn the shared ambition of net zero emissions by 2040 into reality.

The initial focus for the Sprint groups will be based on information from the report produced by consultancy Anthesis; buildings and transport are important areas for action, but the groups are to be confirmed by the Steering Group. 

“By the law of the land, Oxford has to become a net zero city by 2050. But, that national legal target isn't good enough and Oxford intends to be much more ambitious. This Council, and our Zero Carbon Oxford partnership of major employers, are working together to create a net zero city a whole decade earlier than the Government's legal target. I'm pleased that this Council is outlining the ways in which we will make these big, transformative changes through our Zero Carbon Oxford Steering Group and Sprint."

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council

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