St John's College Statement on the Climate Crisis

St John's College acknowledges the current climate emergency as the defining issue of our time. As one of the largest Colleges of the University of Cambridge it will take steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero before the UK Government's target date of 2050, with a steep reduction by 2030. It will support and co-operate with the University’s science-based target for carbon reduction and other sustainability initiatives from the University and Colleges. 

The College therefore commits to significantly reducing carbon emissions across its operations. This includes reducing energy use and progressively switching to zero-carbon energy sources, improving energy efficiency of college buildings, reducing air travel and offsetting carbon emissions where necessary, improving the sustainability of food purchased by the College, managing water use and reuse. All building work (renovations and new builds) will be carried out to exacting environmental standards so as not only to minimise the environmental impact of construction and ongoing use of buildings, but also to ensure the creation of innovative and healthy buildings. The College will also examine carbon emissions resulting from its investments and in particular explore the extent to which land owned by the College can be managed to improve carbon sequestration and biodiversity. 

Sustainability is already a guiding principle in College activities. The College is contributing to increasing the share of UK electricity coming from renewable sources by procuring our electricity from green suppliers. Much of the food used in College catering is sourced locally and plastic packaging has been drastically reduced. Vegetarian and vegan options are promoted and increasingly popular among College members and staff. Food waste has been significantly reduced over recent years. In all of these areas there remains, of course, a great deal more to be achieved. Additionally, there are many areas in which research supported by the College and carried out by its members is helping the global transition towards a low carbon economy. These include developing artificial photosynthesis and more efficient solar cells, better batteries for energy storage and more fuel-efficient transport, improving the efficiency of the built environment, and the use of insects in waste management and the circular economy. 

In collaboration with the Cambridge Zero initiative at the University, the College will support the global transition to a zero-carbon world through its research and education activities. St John's recognises the urgency of this challenge and has established structures to provide governance and momentum in steering all College activities towards a zero-carbon future.