Overview

The Oxford programme on the Sustainable Future of Capital-Intensive Industries (OxSFOCI) supports the transition of capital-intensive industries - such as mining, oil and gas, infrastructure and construction - to environmentally sustainable modes of production. Investments in capital-intensive projects accounts for nearly one-quarter of global welfare: In 2018 alone, businesses and governments around the world invested over US$20 trillion in new mines, energy or transport megaprojects, and the construction of buildings and city-blocks.

These projects are often associated with negative environmental impacts, such as pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the world's fixed assets are failing to provide basic human needs in many parts of the world. Large segments of the global population cannot access basic infrastructure such as housing, clean water, electricity, transit, or waste disposal. Addressing this challenge while reducing the environmental impacts of these assets requires a transformation in capital-intensive industries.

Our programme is dedicated to pursuing breakthroughs to advance the sustainability of these sectors. We invite you to collaborate with us in a variety of ways:

  1. Collaborate or study with us, including by pursuing a doctoral degree
  2. Contribute data to our research
  3. Attend our events
  4. Read and comment on our research publications
  5. Donate

Marex Spectron, a world-leading commodity broker across metals, energy and agricultural markets, is the programme's founding benefactor. Dr Atif Ansar, Fellow of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, is the Founding Director.

Image: jamesteohart / Adobe Stock

Director's Welcome

A very warm welcome to the Oxford programme on the Sustainable Future of Capital-Intensive Industries (OxSFOCI), a forward-looking research programme embedded in an 800-year-old world-class university.

The building and running of capital-intensive assets - be they ancient aqueducts, Victorian railways, expansive mines, skyscrapers, energy or transport megaprojects - requires leaders "equipped with knowledge of many branches of study and varied kinds of learning" - a truth Vitruvius, the Roman master builder, discovered from a lifetime of manual labour and scholarship blended in equal measure. The art of master-building is the child of practice and reflection.

Leaders of capital-intensive industries require urgent reflection on the environmental impact of the world's assets. Capital-intensive assets are typically also carbon-intensive assets. Issues of climate, air, water, and soil pollution, and damage to socioecological systems still routinely accompany new capital projects, despite centuries of documented harm. Still, humanity needs the outputs of capital-intensive industries to advance economic welfare and to promote a better future for communities across the globe. But realizing the gains of human ingenuity must not exhaust the Earth at the same time.

The OxSFOCI has been established at the Smith School to reflect on the transition to net-zero facing the capital-intensive industries. The journey ahead is situated at the confluence of the environment, technology, and enterprise. We all look forward to engaging with you to find solutions, grounded in data and rigorous research. Advances in technology such as remote sensing, modularity, the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence offer 21st Century opportunities to reimagine the world's built capital.

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Information forthcoming.

Further Information

OxSFOCI is hosted at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, with global commodity broker Marex Spectron as its founding backer.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Dr Atif Ansar.