Image credit: CLOC

St Antony’s and Kellogg top Oxford colleges sustainability rankings

The Climate League of Oxford and Cambridge (CLOC) have released their annual statistics on the sustainability of colleges, with St Antony’s topping the table with 59.3% out of 100%. 

St Antony’s success is partly down to its performance in the ‘Governance’ and ‘Divestment’ questions. The college has been praised by CLOC for its partial divestment from fossil fuel companies, with all direct investments divested. CLOC also commented that the role of sustainability officer at the college, who is employed specifically to work on the college’s climate efforts, was “excellent”. Its lowest score was in the ‘Delinking’ section, although it was noted that the college is developing their own ethical donation policy.

In contrast, Queen’s and St Catherine’s – which sit just above the 0% ranking achieved by Oriel and St Hugh’s – provide statements about environmental sustainability on their website, but there is “little concrete information on future plans and initiatives”.

Many colleges, including New, Mansfield, and Pembroke, provide no information on their donations policy. Others, including Nuffield, Merton, and Lincoln have provided no evidence to suggest that sustainability is taken into account with their banking choices. 

CLOC was a predecessor of the Student Union’s traffic light sustainability demands, and is arguably more detailed. The team are encouraging students to publicise CLOC’s findings and speak with their JCR and MCR benches to pressure colleges into urgent change. Summaries of policies and motions will be drafted by CLOC team members over summer.

Jessye Philips, a CLOC representative from Jesus College, said: “The CLOC Evidence Base has been useful for me as a tool to push for change within my college as an E&E rep. I would also have something like this as a prospective student, trying to work out the differences between colleges during the application process. It was great to see so much more college engagement with CLOC than we saw last year. 15 of the colleges responded to our questionnaire, and we’ve already been contacted by colleges who want to work with us further”. 

CLOC’s methodology has changed since its beginnings as a joint project between the wider community and students in 2021, meaning that we cannot compare this year’s data to previous years’. However, the four principles – divestment, delinking, decarbonisation and governance – remain the same. 

The project aims to encourage greater transparency on how colleges will meet the central University’s 2035 date for net zero. This involves making climate a consideration in all aspects of college policies, and creating an accessible database for students and staff alike.

CLOC’s methodology begins with a questionnaire sent to colleges, to which15 colleges responded this year. It is anticipated that the delayed Cambridge CLOC tables will be published in Autumn 2023.

Image description: a group of CLOC team members from the CLOC 2023 campaign

Image credit: CLOC

This article was amended on 16/6/2023 to reflect clarifications received from the St Antony’s Sustainability Officer on the exact breakdown of the college’s score. Previously we had reported that St Antony’s success was due to its ethical donation policy, when this was actually the section the college had scored the lowest on.