The University of Sydney & UNSW have equally outperformed 33 other Australian institutions to take the number one spot in the new QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2023.
Notably, both education institutions were also ranked equally as the world’s 5th most sustainable for accelerating the pace of environmental and social change.
There were two categories to the QS Sustainability ranking: an Environmental Impact category, and a Social Impact category. Within each of these categories there were also specific indicators including Equality, Environment and Employment & Opportunity.
UNSW performed particularly well in the ‘Environmental’ indicator, showing a strong strategy and operations for an environmentally sustainable future. This reflects the University’s commitment and action taken towards environmental impact alleviation.
The University also performed well in the ‘Employment & Opportunities’ indicator, which measures a university’s success in propelling graduates into strong careers and having strong connections with employers.
UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Eileen Baldry said, “Today’s result reflects the passion of our students, staff, and university partners in having a positive impact on the world.
“UNSW has undertaken many initiatives to increase the pace of environmental and social change, such as being the first university in Australia to have 100 per cent of its electricity supplied by solar PV power, announcing it will divest from fossil fuel assets by 2025, and implementing a 2030 water-use efficiency target.”
The University of Sydney ranked fifth globally for the overall Social Impact category, the University also ranked third globally and first in Australia in the Equality indicator, with a near perfect score of 99.8 out of 100. This ranking was driven by policies and programs to address equity, diversity and inclusion, research to propel workplace gender equality and the recent appointments of several senior female executives.
In the overall Environmental Impact category, The University of Sydney placed 11th globally and is among the top 20 in two of this category’s indicators. The University’s ambitious Sustainability Strategy focuses on four areas: enriching lives through research and education; enabling resilient places and a responsible footprint; empowering good governance and coordination; and caring for the country and embracing multiple knowledge systems.
The acknowledgment comes as the University launches a new Sustainability Major exploring diverse perspectives on sustainability, open to students from 2023.
“We are building a generation of students who will learn personal, social and professional skills that contribute to the development of a sustainable future. Starting from next year, these new students will be tomorrow’s leaders, equipped to generate creative and adaptive solutions to complex socioecological sustainability problems,” said Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott.
“We put sustainability at the heart of our campus operations, environments and engagement activities and we welcomed the opportunity to participate in these inaugural rankings to demonstrate accountability and transparency in our broad and global commitment to sustainability. This commitment includes enriching lives through research and education, and creating resilient places and a responsible environmental footprint.”
All campuses are powered by 100% renewable electricity and The University of Sydney is helping Australian businesses implement net zero emissions technologies, advising governments on climate change and ‘black summer’ bushfires, and pioneering green technologies, including a novel way to turn plastic waste into an asset.
These rankings also place The University of Sydney among the world’s top five institutions for Impact of Education, where it received its second highest score, 99.2 out of 100. This result shines a light on research impact and quality in areas such as education, politics, social policy and law, as well as the institution’s commitment to academic freedom and the impact its alumni have in the education sector and in education policy.