Harris Manchester College is committed to being amongst the most environmentally sustainable colleges that make up the University of Oxford, reducing its impact on the natural environment by improving the sustainability of all its operations and conserving and enhancing the biodiversity on its Mansfield Road site.

As part of its strategic review, in 2022, the College formalised its interim Green Working Party and established a Green Strategy Group, the main recommendations of which were that the College should:

  • establish a permanent Green Steering Committee,
  • undertake a comprehensive audit from an environmental viewpoint of (a) the College’s current approach to energy usage, food procurement and waste disposal and (b) its estate, i.e. buildings and grounds, with a view to identifying the baseline figures by which the impact of actions on its sustainability and biodiversity improvement could be measured, and 
  • producing an annual progress report on the state of its environmental sustainability.

The College has committed to considering the sustainability of all future building and works projects. In addition, the Group recommended that the College should, with the benefit of the audit and other information set targets towards reaching eventual net zero. These recommendations were approved by the Governing Body on 17 May 2023.

Prior to that, the College had already undertaken a number of steps, large and small, towards improving its sustainability, including:

  1. Its investments were all with Oxford University Endowment Management which, in accordance with the University’s own strategy, applies its ESG Principles to a company before making any investment.
  2. It joined the University and other colleges in sourcing its electricity from renewable sources.
  3. It improved the energy efficiency of the library considerably by double glazing some of the largest and oldest (least energy efficient) windows in the central building.
  4. Its IT team is committed to green recycling of IT waste; we buy new only when our infrastructure has come to the end of its life.
  5. It has instituted meat-free meal days; the kitchen is committed to minimising food waste, using local suppliers and local recycling/waste disposal. It no longer uses single-use plastic glasses or cutlery.
  6. It has rewilded part of the grounds and given over a plot for student gardening.