Investments, Supply Chain & Community

Wolfson has led the way on eliminating Scope 1 and 2 emissions, but we recognise our ongoing work relies on supply chains that extend far beyond the College. While our suppliers work to reduce their climate impact, and until they too reach net zero, Wolfson is investing in carbon offsetting programmes to mitigate the impact of these indirect ‘Scope 3’ emissions, which were estimated at 11.5% of our total in 2020-21. We continue to reduce Scope 3 emissions wherever possible by changing our working practices, reviewing our suppliers and educating our community.

Wolfson’s trustees recognise that the growing threat of climate change requires far-reaching action to address man-made carbon emissions. The College has divested from and placed a restriction on all future direct investment in any fossil fuel exploration and extraction companies (including coal, oil and gas, exploration and extraction).

In addition, the professional investment managers employed by the College are required to exercise voting rights to participate in the stewardship of investee companies, engaging where appropriate to encourage net zero business plans and adherence with the relevant best-practice codes and guidelines for each market. Stewardship includes assessing, addressing and monitoring material risks associated with environmental and social issues and how principal adverse sustainability impacts are managed.

In England, a majority of short trips that could be completed by foot or bike are instead made by car (60% of 1-2 mile journeys).

In order to make sustainable travel accessible for our community, the College provides an electric minibus shuttle service for members travelling to and from the historic centre of Oxford. Wolfson has also partnered with Voi to provide a fleet of electric scooters to our members. The College also hosts Oxbikes, a student-run business offering refurbished, affordable bike hire and purchase, as well as a workshop and maintenance.

The College also provides a number of EV charging points in the West car park.

Urban last-mile delivery is a new source of greenhouse gas emissions and is projected to grow 78% by 2030. Until 2023, the College received 75 deliveries by van per week, and Oxford students as a whole receive 500,000 deliveries per year.

Wolfson College was the first Oxford college to partner with Pedal & Post to offers a bicycle delivery facility for post and online retail orders. Students, researchers and staff can now receive parcels by eco-friendly bike courier, cutting our carbon impact while taking vehicles off Oxford’s busy roads.

Most delivery services will automatically reroute through Pedal & Post for orders placed to Wolfson College. For Amazon deliveries, members must change their delivery address to:

Wolfson College,
Pedal and Post,


Wolfson is actively working to mitigate the impact of our catering through strategic initiatives. The College now offers vegan options at every informal meal during term time, promoting sustainable and plant-based diets, and Wolfson encourages mindful meal choices by prompting users to consider sustainability when booking formal dinners.

Our kitchen team now grows food in their on-site greenhouse, reducing food miles, and the College offers allotments to its members, promoting community engagement and sustainable agriculture practices to diminish the environmental footprint of its catering operations.

The College provides recycling facilities for all residents through Oxfordshire Council for its residents. Residents are also encouraged to use the available food waste recycling scheme using caddies provided by the Accommodation Office. All of the College’s coffee waste is recycled.

The College is actively trying to reduce its environmental footprint by working toward abandoning single-use plastics. Refill points have replaced plastic water bottles sold in the Hall. The Events Office are now also using starch-based compostable cups for conferences and events.

Wolfson College engages our community and its expertise through our Green Team, which works alongside the Home Bursar to guide the College’s sustainability action plan.

The College also takes pride in serving as a hub for academics and students dedicated to confronting the climate crisis head-on. Among its initiatives, Wolfson hosts the Earth Emergency Research Cluster, a vital platform where scholars collaborate on innovative solutions to combat environmental challenges. Through interdisciplinary research, this cluster aims to advance understanding and propose actionable strategies to address the urgent issues surrounding climate change.

The College is committed to continuously improving its biodiversity on its estate. We have pledged that any new building must achieve at least a 20% increase in biodiversity, while our staff are working to improve the biodiversity of our site as it currently stands.

This includes a five-year programme to better manage our historic water meads, controlling dominant plants such as blackthorn and willow to allow greater biodiversity. The College also aims to convert its current marsh space into biodiverse meadow using seed from the meads, bringing species and habitat to the near side of the River Cherwell.

Wolfson College’s gardens extend to approximately thirteen acres and overlie gravel, with the soil itself being a light silty loam. Many of the original trees are still in existence, which immediately gives the gardens a feeling of maturity, and indeed, it would be difficult to imagine the grounds without them.

The College tries not to use sprinklers on any of the lawns and only when really required on formally planted areas. The College has a default policy not to use chemical herbicides on lawns adjacent to the river, to protect the nature reserve and river ecosystem.

Crossing the river via the rainbow bridge leads one into two flood meadows owned by the College. These meadows are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and as such are not treated with any fertilisers or pesticides. They can be visited by students and members of the public alike and contain a good variety of native flora and fauna.