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Our approach combines academic excellence with a deep understanding of real-world impact

Decisions made this decade will determine the future of our planet – to stop the climate crisis, we must shift global economic and financial systems towards sustainability. This transition must happen quickly, but it must not leave anyone behind.

Through solutions-focused research, and by bringing enterprise into the conversation, we can help build this cleaner, fairer and more prosperous future.

HIGHLIGHT

Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting (revised 2024)

Key highlights include urgent calls to accelerate emission reductions, close the carbon removal gap, and harness the power of nature-based solutions. With a focus on transparency, durability, and innovation, this research charts a course for organisations to navigate the evolving landscape of carbon markets and offsetting practices.

Introduction to the Smith School

The Oxford Smith School was established to bring business and enterprise into the climate change and sustainability conversation. Our vision of a Net Zero future is supported by our research, teaching and partnerships. But, at the heart of the Smith School, there are people - people that drive forward the conversations and bring a fresh perspective to the table.

Video transcript

We find ourselves now at these critical points in human history we are pushing up against the limits of the planet in a way that is by definition not sustainable.

The decisions that we make in the next decade are going to be incredibly important to address the ecological, but also the social crisis that we face.

If we are to get to Net Zero and sustainable development and reorder the relationship between nature, society and economies, business is an absolutely critical component. it's the cause of, but also solution to this mess that we find ourselves in.

The idea behind a School of Enterprise and the Environment is helping private enterprise and public enterprise identify the things that they have to change to address the climate change problem. Basically, it is an industrial revolution and we're trying to advise on that revolution.

The school is a bit of a haven for those of us who share this passion and this interest, and who want to apply the best and the most rigorous tools of academic inquiry to unearth new knowledge that can help us.

So, we are always asking: what's the application of those research? how can we innovate? how can we change the system? how can we do better? what are the tools that we need? As well as ensuring that our research gets out of the university and into the hands and minds of the people you need to use it.

So, we have people working in water, in energy, in finance, in law, in food and infrastructure all of which has this collective focus on thinking about enterprises and sustainable development.

The Smith School's work is extremely important because it is striving to address the climate change issues, the environmental challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. You can really make a change if you drive these ideas into a practical reality. No single discipline can solve these problems alone, so we need to collaborate. 

So for example the Smith School’s work on water security in some of the most fragile areas of the planet has already helped millions of people and is on course to help possibly even 100 million people. And then of course our students are critical in this.

We launched this new masters in Sustainability, Enterprise and Environment which tries to be realistic rather than the idealistic about the world and we give students the broad knowledge base and skills that they need to go out into the world and lead impactful change.

It takes a systems level view of really looking at the complex economic ecological and social systems that we operate in.

All the research in the world is only effective if it's then implemented in terms of what people do, how they think about things, are they invest.

What we're trying to do is to define best practice, to define the future of sustainable finance and investment. But we’re also trying to translate that, and so we spend a lot of time working with practitioners to turn theory into practice.

Our links span industry, government, public enterprise, policymakers, non-governmental organizations. so, we can really take our research to the people who need to adopt it.

I had a career in finance it was a lucrative career, but I never felt anything at the end of the day. what I do now I feel something.

Research is meant to change lives, seeing the impact of research translating into the policy documents that's very exciting to me.

Honestly, I think this is the challenge of our time, we need some really committed people who can be inspired and in turn can inspire others, and that's the central we're trying to create.

So, if you're listening to this and you think you have something to contribute to the Smith School, please let us know

Our research

Our ground-breaking fundamental research drives real-world change, working with partners in public and private activity, business, markets and government.

The SSEE is home to the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group and Oxford Sustainable Law Programme.

OUR CORE DISCIPLINES

HIGHLIGHT

World Forum on Enterprise & the Environment

Disruption. Collaboration. Action.

The World Forum is Oxford University ís annual high-level, high-impact flagship event on enterprise and the environment. 

The latest World Forum took place in September 2023, on the theme of Climate Synergies. 

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment brought together world leaders in policy, business and academia to embrace bold ideas, identify priority solutions to get their firms, industries and countries to net zero and investigate how real progress can be made. 

news

Dr Laurence Wainwright wins Teaching Excellence Award

Dr Laurence Wainwright has been presented with a Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Oxford’s Social Sciences Division. Dr Wainwright is a Departmental Lecturer at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and Director of its MSc in Sustainability, Enterprise and the Environment.

IN THE NEWS

'A good deal': UK climate goals can be delivered at 'minimal cost', study finds

The UK could meet its 2030 emissions targets by mobilising between £6bn and £8bn of public investment annually, a new analysis from University of Oxford researchers has calculated. "A focus on only the initial costs of adoption denies households and businesses significant savings that low-carbon technologies offer, for example when a household has to replace an ageing boiler or vehicle in the coming years as millions of businesses and homes will be doing," said Dr Anupama Sen. 

IN THE NEWS

Can We Solve Climate Change by Suing Polluters?

"Climate litigation is not just growing — it’s snowballing," writes The Daily Upside. However, international courts have been slow to catch up. Dr Ben Franta of the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme comments:  “It’s a well-known challenge [with] international courts: Because they don’t have independent police power, they must persuade member states to comply with their orders.”

IN THE NEWS

Vice-Chancellor’s Awards Honour Outstanding Achievements in Smith School

Two Oxford Smith School programmes were awarded in the recent Vice Chancellors awards. The Global Youth Climate Training programme - a Smith School, School of Geography and Global Youth Coalition initiative - won the Environmental Sustainability Award. REACH, a global research programme to improve water security led by Professor Rob Hope, won the VC's Research Engagement Award.