On 19 November 2021, Oxford students and citizens gathered on the steps of the Clarendon Building, holding A-level style certificates to showcase colleges' scores. A rally with similar certificates also took place in Cambridge.
Philip Hutchinson (PPE student from Pembroke College)
Jessye Phillips (Biology student from Jesus College, Oxford)
A win for transparency
Despite a lack of direct responses to our questionnaire, 2021 saw changes in multiple colleges' websites that can be linked to our campaign:
- Exeter and Jesus College, Oxford created new Sustainability pages in response to receiving our provisional scores.
- University College published details of their climate committee.
- St Edmunds Hall created a detailed webpage addressing our questionnaire sections point-by-point.
To raise awareness of the campaign ahead of results day, images were projected onto colleges and key buildings in Oxford, including the Bridge of Sighs and the Radcliffe Camera.
Another Oxford-based action to apply pressure on results day involved chalking scores outside college lodges.
Most colleges have received a U, and the best only a C in our ranking, showing that their climate ambition ranges from poor to non-existent. This is not only unacceptable, but deeply hypocritical. To the outside world, Oxford and Cambridge University pretend to be leaders in the fight against the climate crisis. Yet on the inside, many of their own colleges are lagging far behind, with no strategies to reach net zero and continued ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Rivalry between Oxbridge Colleges has existed for centuries. We hope that the CLOC Tables will channel this competitive spirit towards ambitious - and urgently needed - climate action. Oxbridge Colleges claim to be world-leading institutions at the forefront of solving global problems. But when we applied the same high standards they use to judge students academically to their responses to the climate emergency, they failed spectacularly.
The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge university have deep links with the fossil fuel industry, and continue to drag their heels on meaningful climate action. It’s wonderful to see students using their power to expose these colleges for what they are: failing on climate, failing their students, and complicit in climate and ecological breakdown.
Fergus Green, Climate Justice Campaign Coordinator at People & Planet
We owe it to current and future victims of the climate crisis to do everything within our power to address it now. We knew that colleges have a moral duty to use their wealth and influence to these ends. But the methodology behind the CLOC Tables shows just how far they have to go in decarbonising, divesting and delinking
Reuben Binns, Associate Professor of Human-Centred Computing, Kellogg College, Oxford Centre of Computer Science
It’s absolutely vital that all organisations – public and private – take significant steps to address the impact on the climate. Sadly, this analysis shows that Oxford’s colleges still have a long way to go to deliver what’s needed. As a city, we’re proud to have world-leading institutions of teaching and research like Oxford’s colleges. Now those same institutions need to step up to the plate and become world leaders on addressing the climate crisis too.
Chris Jarvis, leader of the Green Party on Oxford City Council
Everything we don't do today will have to be done by the next generation. And when they try to pick up the pieces of our mistakes it may already be too late, or at best ruinously expensive, to avoid irreversible climate change. That is why we think it is brilliant that the students in our city are demanding better. A number of Oxford colleges and their partners are currently in the process of building tens of thousands of houses on Green Belt land they own to the south-east and north of the city. How ambitious are they really being? How determined are they to make them car-free, sustainable developments fit for the future zero-carbon world in which we need to live? Progress so far suggests that some are not doing nearly enough. They could go much further, and this kind of initiative will help shine a light on that.
Cllr Tim Bearder, Wheatley, Liberal Democrat Green Alliance (Liberal Democrat Member), Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, Cllr Robin Bennett, Berinsfield & Garsington, Green Party (Liberal Democrat Green Alliance), Cllr Neil Fawcett, Abingdon South Liberal Democrat Green Alliance (Liberal Democrat Member), Cabinet Member for Community Services & Safety, Cllr Andy Graham, Woodstock, Liberal Democrat Green Alliance (Liberal Democrat Member), Cllr Ian Middleton, Kidlington South, Green Party (Liberal Democrat Green Alliance), Cllr Pete Sudbury, Wallingford, Green Party (Liberal Democrat Green Alliance), Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery & Environment, Cllr Bethia Thomas, Faringdon, Liberal Democrat Green Alliance (Liberal Democrat Member), Cllr Sally Povolotsky, Hendreds & Harwell, Liberal Democrat Green Alliance (Liberal Democrat Member), Cllr Dan Levy Eynsham, Liberal Democrat Green Alliance (Liberal Democrat Member), Cllr Susanna Pressel, Jericho & Osney (Labour & Co-operative Party Group), Vice Chair of Council, Cllr Charlie Hicks, Cowley, Labour & Co-operative Party Group