Climate emergency

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We are facing a climate emergency and must urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stay below a 1.5C temperature rise. The United Nation’s COP26 climate conference kept that target of 1.5 still alive but there is so much more work to be done. For us at Saïd Business School sustainable business is key to tackling the climate change challenge and key to building a new, stronger, regenerative and just economic system.

Change is happening

Our people are watching and our people are taking note … Can there be peace and prosperity if one-third of the world lives in prosperity and two-thirds live underseas and face calamitous threats to our wellbeing?

Mia Mottley

Prime Minister of Barbados

Our 5 point climate plan

The staff and students at Saïd Business School, alongside our alumni and our wider business community, are united in our determination to tackle the climate emergency. 

Our plans align with the University of Oxford’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy to address the global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. 

We may not have all the answers, but we’re not going to let that hold us back from taking meaningful climate action.

  1. Walk the talk - Develop ambitious initiatives and targets to improve the School’s own operations.  
  2. Strengthen research - Support world leading researchers on climate related projects and create partnerships across departments.
  3. Mobilise students and alumni - Create spaces and programmes for alumni and students to come together to learn and share best practice.
  4. Amplify teaching - Set the pace with climate leadership and transformational change curricula for our degree programmes and executive education programmes. 
  5. Share the story - Work with partners to share, value and showcase the role and power of business schools in meaningfully taking action to address the climate emergency.

We are, after all, the greatest problem solvers to have ever existed on Earth. If working apart, we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet. Surely working together, we are powerful enough to save it.

Sir David Attenborough

Naturalist

Climate action highlights

As Oxford University’s business school we have the skills and resources to tackle the sustainable business challenge and play our part in advancing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Walk the talk

Reduce our emissions 

We are committed to to play our part by reducing the carbon footprint of our operations as much as possible, and offset those which we cannot avoid. We actively participate in the the University of Oxford's new sustainability strategy, which details the University's priorities for achieving net-zero emissions and biodiversity net gain.

Divestment

Oxford University has announced landmark plans to divest formally from the fossil fuel industryAs well as divesting its endowment from fossil fuel companies, the University has also asked its endowment office, Oxford University Endowment Management (OUem) to engage with fund managers to request evidence of net zero carbon business plans across their portfolios. There will also be a new member of the Investment Committee, with an additional focus on climate-conscious investment. 

Strengthen research

Priority development areas

The School's research strategy outlines our commitment to pursuing research in areas that are critically important to the future of business. This includes research related to sustainable development, particularly issues aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Decisive decade: Organising climate action 

This significant piece of research, maps the full ecosystem of global climate change organisations for the first time. It helps organisations to understand how they can best contribute – what roles they can play and how to amplify their collective impact. It also suggests how they can best work together to overcome fragmentation across business, civil society and government and achieve meaningful change.

Mobilising a movement of movements

This project aims to create a 'movement of movements' that mobilises the collective impact needed to drive meaningful systemic change. In the first ‘Movement of movements’ map, the research team reviewed and visually organised over 40 climate action movements based on their location, size, sustainable development goal focus and movement strategy. The maps identify where there is clear alignment between movement and there are benefits from working together.

RISE: Renewable, Innovative and Scalable Electrification

An international research project led by Dr Aoife Brophy, which concluded in 2020 and aimed to design integrated, actionable and transferable development strategies for the local renewable energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

Partnership with World Economic Forum and PACE

The Circular Economy: Boundaries and Bridges launched at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Impact Summit in September 2019.

Mobilise students and alumni

Climate Oxford Business Network

The Climate OBN is a network of over 120 students with diverse interests in climate. The group is led by students, and organises industry events, speaker sessions, and informal coffee chats.

AI and climate change @ The Foundry 

The Foundry hosted the third annual AI Impact Weekend in collaboration with EY with a focus on AI and climate change. Inter-disciplinary teams came together to learn how to build innovative, financially viable and ethically responsible AI-based solutions addressing a climate-related challenge.

Circular economy

The Circular Economy Lab is a student-powered initiative with a purpose to accelerate and amplify the innovation necessary to transition to a circular economy by engaging and mobilising students, academics, and practitioners from across the UK (and beyond). The Lab is student-powered and incubated by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

Amplify teaching

Programmes

  • Oxford Climate Emergency Programme in partnership with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. Do you recognise the need for change in your business? We'll show you how to best activate it. 
  • Leading Sustainable Corporations Programme Examine your corporation’s impact on the environment from multiple perspectives. Go beyond traditional views of measuring and reporting on performance and integrate environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors into your business practice. 
  • Environmental, Social and Governance Sustainability Programme This programme is for leaders from a single organisation. Our experts will work with you to understand your issues and help you drive positive change and implement a successful ESG strategy.
  • Social Finance Programme Addresses the world’s most existential and difficult issues: climate change, poverty, hunger and loss of livelihoods. You'll learn how to build and negotiate multi-sector partnerships and combine capital sources and achieve large scale positive impact.

Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford

Students at Oxford Saïd participate in GOTO: an action-oriented problem-solving community geared towards addressing some of of the most complex interconnected issues that the world faces. This year’s theme is again Systems Reset and climate is one of the 4 tracks students will be tackling.

Share the story

Collaborating for climate leadership

Former Dean, and Peter Moores Professor of Finance, Peter Tufano makes the case that some problems are too big, too intertwined, and too laced with externalities to be solved by simple competition. Sectors need to collaborate and that includes business schools as he explains in The Economist.

Leadership in extraordinary times

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic we ran a special series of events tackling the big challenges that business faces and looking at the world we want to build as we emerge from the pandemic and an economic crisis. The webinars ranged from asking how capital markets can take sustainability to the next level to young people setting the agenda on the Race to Zero in transport and fossil fuels and food and agriculture

Reimagine podcast

Reimagine is a podcast about people who are inventing the future. Peter Drobac, the Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship meets the social entrepreneurs who see things differently.

Climate emergency playbook

The business playbook: How to declare a climate emergency and take climate action launched at COP25. Developed in partnership with B Lab UK and the B Team, this tool provides case studies and practical steps businesses can take to address the climate emergency.

Oxford Answers articles

Addressing the climate emergency is going to take the energy, ideas and commitment of all of us, working together. 

Follow our work on climate change and sustainable business on Oxford Answers.