Environment and Ethics

Christ Church Graduate Common Room are serious about our impact upon the wider world. For a general guide to ethical living in Oxford, please see the following:


The most important thing that you can do to help in college is to recycle your waste and reduce your energy usage. Also look out for Fairtrade products available at our events and when shopping. Your Environment and Ethics Officer will keep you informed in their weekly e-mail about related campaigns.


Christ Church waste is processed by Oxford City Council.

Essentially, recycling is all plastic bottles, tubs, containers and bags, sandwich packaging, bubblewrap and cling film; juice and food cartons; tins and cans, aluminium foil, aerosols, bottle tops; glass (unless broken); paper, cardboard, newspapers and magazines. **Please wash anything which has food on it, otherwise it cannot be recycled, and crush to reduce size.**

Landfill is everything else i.e. polystyrene, thin plastic wrappers, crisp packets, solid plastic items e.g. plastic gadgets, kitchen and tissue paper, glued or painted paper, food-soiled items, and jiffy bags. If you have broken glass, please wrap it carefully before disposing of it safely in the landfill bin.

***Please do not put food-soiled items into the recycling bins, or it’ll all get sent to landfill.*** Each kitchen should have a green caddy for food waste only, please do not put any packaging in these caddies.

Please see the Council website for a more detailed explanation of what can be recycled: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20074/recycling_advice/25/what_goes_in_the_blue_recycling_bin

If you live out, you should have a blue or green box (and possibly blue sacks) for recycling and lilac sacks for landfill. There should also be green caddies for food waste. Please follow instructions from the City Council and put these out on the correct days.

Energy-Saving: 60% House

You will be charged for your electricity use, so it makes financial sense to use less of it. Moreover, Christ Church emits 2, 600 tonnes of CO2 annually, and we need your help to reduce this by 40% in line with national targets. Here is what you can do:

  • Switch off all lights, computers, and other electronic devices when not using them, even for short periods. Do not leave them on standby!
  • Turn your heating off or down when leaving your room. Close windows and curtains to retain heat, but remember to ventilate your room occasionally to prevent mould from building up.
  • Don’t fill the kettle with more water than you need.
  • Put a lid on your pan when cooking.
  • Buy energy-efficient equipment – as close to ‘A’ rating as possible.
  • Light-bulbs: Christ Church uses CFL bulbs which use less electricity than tungsten bulbs. They contain a minute amount of mercury, so if you break one please open the window immediately and contact the Porters’ Lodge without delay. Do not attempt to clear the breakage yourself.

NUS Student Switch-Off

The Student Switch-Off is an international programme in which students compete to win prizes by saving energy. In Oxford, colleges compete against each other by entering quick and easy environment-related quizzes and photography competitions. In Hilary 2016 Christ Church won 100 tubs of Ben+Jerry’s ice cream for having the highest participation rate in a Switch-Off quiz, and we achieved a Silver award for our overall achievement throughout the year. Please keep participating and help us to raise awareness about energy-saving, win more Ben+Jerry’s and reach Platinum!


Christ Church is a ‘Fairtrade College’, as recognised by the Fairtrade Foundation. Fairtrade is an international scheme which ensures that producers receive a fair price for their products, that workers work in adequate conditions and are fairly paid, and that farming is conducted through ecologically-sustainable means. Fairtrade farms and plantations also receive a premium to invest in social projects and to develop their long-term business models in a sound and sustainable manner. At Christ Church Fairtrade food products are available at all of our meetings and events, and every term we hold a Fairtrade promotional event. Do look out for the Fairtrade symbol when shopping as well to ensure that the people who produce your food are getting a fair deal.

Within the vicinity of Christ Church, the Fairtrade shop behind St Michel’s Church on Cornmarket stocks lots of teas, coffees, sugar, biscuits, Fairtrade snacks, nuts, dried fruit etc. Oxfam shops also sell Fairtrade tea, coffee, biscuits, chocolate and dried fruit. All of the supermarkets stock Fairtrade tea, coffee, bananas, hot chocolate and cocoa, and Kitkats and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and Giant Chocolate Buttons are also Fairtrade. So of course are our favourite Ben + Jerry’s! The best supermarket is Marks and Spencer which has the widest range, including many wines and even jams and marmalade.


Living at Christ Church is a wonderful privilege, but you may be disturbed to see people on the streets of Oxford who are not as fortunate as we are. The City Council advises not to give money to homeless people directly, but if you want to help, these websites have some suggestions for donations and volunteering:

http://www.oxhop.org.uk/ourvoices/mystory/This very illuminating webpage has some accounts by Oxford’s homeless people about their experiences. It’s a good read and a great way of understanding who these people are.

http://www.oxhop.org.uk/howyoucanhelp This one tells you what you can do!


http://www.cefoxford.co.uk/  The Community Emergency Foodbank would love to receive donations of tins and packets of food (in date!).

https://www.facebook.com/OxfordHomelessActionGroup A student-led group.

http://www.theporch.org.uk/ A Christian-led homeless centre in Oxford.

http://www.oydoxford.co.uk/ and https://www.facebook.com/OnYourDoorstepCampaign OUSU’s homelessness campaign.


There are many other ways in which we can give back to the community around us and globally. See the Oxford Hub’s website for a list of schemes. They also have a mailing list for weekly alerts to volunteering opportunities.


Ethical Investment

Christ Church GCR supports the OUSU E+E Divestment Campaign, which asks that the University of Oxford progressively rid its £3.6 billion endowment of investments in companies which participate in the extraction of or exploration for coal, oil or gas.

There is an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that in order to have a
better than 1 in 3 chance of limiting global temperature change to less than 2°C,
80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. On current emissions trends,
we will have burned through the remaining fossil fuel ‘allowance’ in merely 15 to 30 years’ time. Despite this, the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies continue to search for and
develop even more reserves while also lobbying governments to discourage the
introduction of emissions-cutting policies. There is a growing international campaign for fossil fuel divestment – the Fossil Free campaign, led by 350.org – which calls on investors to stop putting their money in fossil fuels and to thereby highlight the urgent need for a transition to a sustainable, low-carbon energy future. Already 526 institutions are divesting, including universities, faith-based groups, pension funds, governmental organisations, NGOs and corporations.

The OUSU E+E Divestment Campaign believes that by investing in fossil fuel companies the University of Oxford contradicts its own ethical investment policy, which requires that the University ‘makes investment decisions responsibly and with integrity’ and takes ‘into account social, environmental and political issues in order to maintain its ethical standards.’ The campaign report can be downloaded here: https://oxfordunifossilfree.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/averting-a-climate-crisis.pdf

The charitable aims of Christ Church consist in ‘the advancement of religion, education and learning’ and ‘the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage and science’. The Christ Church endowment fund exists to advance these aims ‘in perpetuity’. Christ Church GCR believes that, since climate change threatens the perpetuity of humanity as a whole, Christ Church has an ethical duty to ensure that its investments are in accordance with a low-carbon future. We welcome the adoption by Governing Body in Michaelmas 2015 of the University Council’s position on investments in fossil fuel companies, which can be found here: http://www.ox.ac.uk/staff/news-listing/2015-05-19-council-statement-representations-concerning-fossil-fuels-0

We are grateful to the Investment Committee at Christ Church for taking a proactive stance on fossil fuel investments and look forward to further discussions as global trends in this crucial and exciting chapter of human history unfold over the next few years.