The University of Aberdeen has been ranked 31st in the world in terms of the impact it has on society.

The new Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, which are based on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also places Aberdeen as 5th in the world for responsible consumption and production.

The rankings, which considered more than 500 institutions in total, provide a showcase for the work being delivered by universities in their communities, and are an opportunity to highlight institutional activities and efforts not covered in other rankings.

Among the initiatives understood to have contributed to the University’s ranking include:

  • An annual Energy Report detailing energy usage, including carbon impact, energy efficiency projects, and water consumption management
  • An Environmental Sustainability Policy with associate annual Waste Reports
  • A Sustainable Travel Plan
  • Collaborations in health sector
  • Elphinstone Institute for local culture promotion
  • Equality & Diversity Policy
  • Gender Action Plan
  • Admissions Policy for students to ensure fair and equal access
  • Free access to a variety of buildings and facilities (e.g. King’s College Chapel and Sir Duncan Rice Library) for the public
  • Aberdeen Sports Village

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the UN in 2016 to provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way. The first Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings considers data on 11 of the 17 goals from participating institutions.

These include:

  • Ending poverty and hunger
  • Promoting good health and well-being and quality education
  • Achieving gender equality and economic growth
  • Providing access to clean water and sanitation and affordable and clean energy
  • Fostering innovation
  • Reducing inequalities
  • Building sustainable cities and communities and achieving responsible consumption and production
  • Tackling climate change
  • Managing sustainably life below water and life on land
  • Promoting peaceful societies
  • Revitalising global partnerships

Each institution’s overall ranking was based on the mandatory goal of ‘revitalising global partnerships’, plus each university’s best three Sustainable Development Goals, which in the University of Aberdeen’s case were: Responsible Consumption and Production; Good Health and Wellbeing and Gender Equality.

Aberdeen’s highest ranked goal was Responsible Consumption and Production, for which they were ranked 5th in the world. This goal considered the University’s action towards responsible consumption and production through its policies and practice on ethical sourcing of food and supplies, waste disposal and use minimisation of disposable items.

The University of Aberdeen was ranked within the world’s top 50 for four of the eight Sustainable Development Goals it was assessed on, with the other four ranked comfortably within the top 100.

Professor George Boyne, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised in these new THE University Impact Rankings which show how the global higher education sector is working towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“We are committed to important global issues such as sustainability, equality and promoting health and wellbeing, to name but a few. These rankings shine a light on some of our institutional activities and efforts not covered in other rankings and showcase the work being carried out within our communities.”

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