Project name: Oxford Partnership for Operationalising the Conservation Hierarchy (OxPOCH)
Location: Oxford, UK
Primary stakeholders: University organisation – students, staff, academics, independent colleges, external collaborators
Primary extractive or damaging activities: Food consumption & land-use for development and farming
Affected ecosystem(s) and biodiversity: Local countryside matrix, but also global biodiversity through consumable goods supply chain
Goal: Sustainable development projects and estate management achieving biodiversity net gain, low impact food consumption
Metric(s): e.g. DEFRA biodiversity metric, habitat extent, carbon emissions, ReCiPe pressure-impact model
Mitigation & Conservation actions: Developments and land-managers can use the 4 steps to prioritise actions for their estates, and use the mitigation hierarchy to implement offsetting reactively if need be. Proactively, land owners can engaging in habitat restoration, or project existing biodiversity from potential future risks. For food systems, canteen managers can reevaluate menus to refrain from and reduce consumption of damaging products, or proactively engage the community in growing local food. In the future institutions may be able to offset their supply chain biodiversity impact too.
Stage of implementation and associated outcomes: this case study is in the process of being implemented; analysis has been done on impacts within the University and frameworks have been produced for long-term actions. The research phase of the project ran from October 2019-21.
Needs and next steps: This is the first example of the Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy being used for an institution, where the main impacts on biodiversity will be throughout the supply chain. This case study now provides a roadmap for other institutions to tackle their wider impacts in a reactive, proactive and inclusive way that accounts for the ethos of their institution and the effects on their staff. Specifically, this work is now been carried on by the Nature Positive Universities network, and the Eco-Metric project.
This research was supported for two years by a grant from the Oxford University Press’ John Fell Fund.