Category: Cities and local authorities, Policies and measures

Oxford Sustainability Index

Aether was appointed to develop a Sustainability Index for Oxford, comparing the city’s performance with others.

Aether was appointed to develop a Sustainability Index for Oxford, comparing the city’s performance with other urban areas on a range of factors such as: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Transport, Water, Waste, Air Quality, Green Space, Biodiversity, Flood Risk Mitigation and Land Quality. The analysis featured quantitative as well as qualitative analysis to benchmark and evaluate Oxford’s performance and identify cases of best practice in other cities. This analysis, originally undertaken in 2016, was updated in 2019 to reflect the latest available data. 

The Challenge

The key driver for this project was to establish a transparent, robust framework by which Oxford (and other cities in the future) could assess itself against key environmental criteria. The outputs will inform the City Council on areas of relatively good and poor performance, so that it can prioritise future resources and projects and work towards a cleaner, greener Oxford. The Sustainability Index utilises national, regional and local datasets to compile best and worst performance across a series of environmental indicators, which when combined provide qualitative and quantitative context as to how Oxford was performing in each category.

The Solution

Using our knowledge of national and regional datasets, as well as expertise in compiling and analysing complex datasets, we designed a comprehensive framework making use of existing and reliable information. For each quantitative aspect we identified a scale from best to worst performing urban areas and then mapped Oxford City on that scale. For qualitative aspects, we utilised a recognised policy analysis protocol which allowed us to evaluate non-quantitative environmental indicators. By weighting each of the indicators then combining them, overall scores across 10 environmental categories were developed. The results were summarised in a brief report, along with supplementary information on Oxford's performance and best practice case studies from other cities across the UK.

The published 2016 report is available to download here.  The Sustainability Index for Oxford (2016 results) is displayed below.

See all case studies

Kathryn Hampshire

Senior Consultant

Related case studies

Surrey Air Quality for Schools Programme

Category: Cities and local authorities

Aether, in partnership with London Sustainability Exchange (LSx), Surrey Air Alliance and Surrey County Council, has helped to create and implement a Cleaner Air for Schools Programme in Surrey.

Read case study

North East Scotland sustainable energy action plan

Category: Cities and local authorities, Emission Inventories, Policies and measures

Aether led the development of the North East Scotland Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) for Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Angus and Moray.

Read case study

Lewisham Route to Neutral

Category: Cities and local authorities, Emission inventories, Policies and measures

Support to Lewisham Council to define the route to carbon neutral for the Borough

Read case study

News

Latest news

Posted on: 02 December 2021

How changing your pension can impact the planet

It can be easy to feel powerless in influencing financial institutions' investment choices. Determined to fully align our pension pots with our company ethos, Aether has scoured the market for what we believe is the best “green” pension fund that works for our company.

Read full story

Posted on: 22 November 2021

Climate action wider impacts analysis

Actions to mitigate climate change often have wider social, economic and environmental impacts. These impacts can be both positive and negative. Aether has compiled a wider impacts database for climate actions with matrices to show the interlinkages.

Read full story

Posted on: 16 November 2021

Committing to Meaningful Net-Zero before 2050

This year Aether has joined the SME Climate Hub commitment to be carbon-neutral before 2050. Lotte Gleeson explores our 2020 carbon footprint and the impact of Covid-19.

Read full story

Posted on: 06 October 2021

Working remotely, with added secondment

Aether's Rosie Brook provides an update on her experience of working remotely and her secondment to FAO.

Read full story

Testimonial

Don't just take our word for it...

“Engaging Aether to support us to develop the first GHG Inventory System and first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for the United Republic of Tanzania has been a rewarding experience due to their high level of professionalism, creativity, timeliness and value for money. We will definitely consider Aether in our future initiatives.”

Abbas Kitogo, Programme Specialist Energy and Climate Change, UNDP Tanzania

“It is always an absolute pleasure working with Aether. I always know what is expected of me. Their work ethic is of a very high standard and projects are always handled in a very professional manner. I have learnt many skills in terms of project management, quality control and workshop training styles from Aether and I hope to carry these principles forward in my own work. I look forward to collaborating with Aether more in the future.”

Luanne Stevens, Gondwana

“Chris was excellent to work with and always very pro active in making suggestions, taking work forward and applying his considerable technical knowledge in effective ways.”

Robert Vaughan, Defra Air Quality Team

“The Aether team were a joy to work with and I would recommend the consultancy - the service provided throughout the process was exceptional. Where there were problems, they provided solutions. The team were working to very short time scales but were able to deliver a high quality piece of work within the specified time frame.”

Sefton Council - for the Merseyside Atmospheric Emissions Inventory

“Aether delivered training workshops and generated learning materials for our SSN members, providing technical content in a manageable and comprehendible format. We particularly benefitted from their extensive knowledge and ability to interpret the needs of our members into the training materials.”

Jennifer Anderson, Sustainable Scotland Network

“Saint Lucia embraces the professional approach with which this project was undertaken by Aether, particularly their ability to develop mentorship relations with local government experts. This provides a basis for ensuring that the pool of local experts remain engaged and recognized over successive processes.”

Annette Rattigan-Leo, Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer

“If we have a need for any more reports in the future Aether will be first on my list.”

Alan Hardy, Kyson Design

“Aether is a great partner for work in the area of European Air Emissions. The team was committed, reliable, well organised and had a deep technical understanding and motivated other partners with their good spirit.”

Umweltbundesamt: Environment Agency Austria

“A heartfelt thank you to all the Aether team for this very comprehensive review – this is certainly turning out to be one of the most beneficial capacity building projects I have ever been involved in.”

Saviour Vassallo, Senior Environment Protection Officer, Malta Resources Authority

“Both the face-to-face training and the online version have been of high quality, with dynamic methods and a practical orientation that have allowed students to reach a solid knowledge base. The products have been delivered within the stipulated deadlines with an excellent quality and the team has always shown willingness to make adjustments according to the requirements of CONAF. We are very satisfied with the work. ”

Javier Cano Martín, Professional Unit for Climate Change and Environmental Services, CONAF (National Forestry Corporation), Chile

Required form 'ContactES' does not exist.