A view of Trinity College's Garden Quad gate from the side showing a wildflower and giant thistle border.


At Trinity

Why Sustainability

Is Important

As a college, we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment. With more than 600 students and staff members living and working on our historic site, we want to raise awareness of how the choices we make as a community can potentially have a huge impact on our environment, and contribute positively to the University’s broader sustainability targets.

The University of Oxford Sustainability Strategy aims to achieve net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain by 2035 in order to address the global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss in the organisation. We as a college are committed to reducing its impact on the environment and contributing positively to the University’s sustainability targets, and are therefore aiming for the same ambitious target of net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain by 2035.  

Our commitment to sustainability is driven by our senior leadership, staff and students in their day to day work and operations. Through the work of our Sustainability Committee, we are able to develop and monitor the success of our college Sustainability Strategy, which is reviewed annually. You can read our latest College Sustainability Strategy online on our Policies and Reports page. 

We are incredibly proud that in 2023, the College was recognised with a Green Impact Gold Award for the second year running by the University's Environmental Sustainability team –  one of just eight colleges to feature in this year’s list of gold (or beyond) award-holders. You can read more here.

Our key areas of sustainable activity include the following: 

Energy, water and greenhouse gases

We aim to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions in line with UK government targets, and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases deriving from energy consumption. We will also review measures to reduce water consumption, and to reduce pollution.


We aim to minimise general and hazardous waste that is sent to landfill, and increase the proportion of waste which will be recycled.

Sustainable buildings and procurement

We will aim to build environmentally sustainable buildings, and embed best practice into the management of our estate. The College will ensure that any new building will ensure energy and water efficiency, with the lowest carbon emissions that are reasonable at the time. We also aim to purchase products and services which reduce the College’s environmental impact and minimise pollution.


Trinity will aim to preserve and enhance wildlife habitats across our estate.


We are committed to supporting and using Fairtrade, serving and promoting Fairtrade products wherever possible and raising awareness of Fairtrade and the benefits that it brings to producers in developing countries with students and staff. 



We are pleased to highlight some of the areas where we have successfully put our sustainable values into practice across all aspect of our operations, including:


We have fully (99.9%) divested from fossil fuel industries and other portfolios such as the weapons industries. 

Catering practices

Our kitchens design and produce student menus according to seasonality and local provenance, reducing the use of produce that have larger carbon footprint:

  • 80% of our ingredients are sourced from local, regional and national sources.
  • A minimum of 50% of our meal options are vegetarian or vegan.
  • Our kitchen staff are trained to reduce waste during food preparation and service
  • All of our coffee and hot chocolate is certified Fairtrade .
  • The college Beer Cellar uses only biodegradable takeaway coffee cups and our plastic cups are from vegetable oils, which are biodegradable.
  • We collect our used cooking oil to be used for Bio Diesel and used coffee grounds are taken by our gardeners and composted in situ.

Gardens and grounds

Our gardens and grounds team use peat-free compost and keep chemical pesticides to an absolute minimum. We use our land (both on our main college site and other college-owned estates) to promote biodiversity, with plants and trees that encourage pollinating insects, reserved wildflower areas, and have added swift boxes, bat boxes, log piles for hedgehogs and other natural inhabitants. We plan to introduce beehives in the near future and have a policy that any tree removed on our sites must be replaced.

College accommodation

Wherever possible, we have installed water and energy-saving alternatives, including replacing high-energy bulbs, installing water-saving devices in toilets, showers and work areas, and replacing windows and insulating rooms in phases throughout the year. We also use sub metering across the different areas of college energy consumption, and pass on information about energy use to staff and students at least once a term.