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Education Training, Environment

Western Sydney University tops global sustainability ranking for ground-breaking second year

Western Sydney University 3 mins read

Western Sydney University has once again been named number one in the world for its social, economic and environmental impact in the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings.

For the second year in a row, the University has placed first overall in the prestigious annual rankings – a first for an Australian university.

The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings is the main global ranking system that assesses universities on their commitment to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Rankings are based on universities’ teaching, research, outreach and stewardship.

Western Sydney University topped the list for 2023 out of over 1,700 institutions from 115 countries – a 21 per cent increase in participating institutions from last year.

The University’s work has been recognised in the following SDG categories:

  • 1st in the world for SDG 5 Gender Equality, SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, and SDG 17 Partnership for the Goals
  • 2nd in the world for SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG 15 Life on Land
  • 3rd in the world for SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
  • 4th in the world for SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing
  • 5th in the world for SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 7th in the world for SDG 13 Climate Action.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, said it is an extraordinary achievement for the University to be recognised as best in the world two years running.

“Achieving this outstanding result two years in a row is testament to the dedication and passion of our staff, students, researchers and community partners who have contributed to this landmark result,” said Professor Glover.

“Western Sydney University is proud to be an institution that is working with its students, staff and communities to make the world a better place. We are a young and modern university and tackling the most pressing social and environmental challenges has always been important to our core mission.

“The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings recognises that commitment and brings into sharp focus the need for urgent collaborative action to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”

Professor Glover said the University is pleased to have scored highly in a number of SDG categories, including being ranked top 10 in the world in nine of the seventeen SDG categories.

For many years the University community has worked to ensure its teaching, research and international partnerships are fully aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and embedded across all its operations.

“For example, our world-leading researchers are finding practical solutions locally and globally on important issues like food and water security in the face of climate change, and addressing housing affordability and creating more sustainable, resilient urban communities,” said Professor Glover.

“The University has also met its ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2023 – a significant milestone in our journey to becoming climate positive by 2029.

“Importantly, our innovative teaching and learning programs are encouraging students to be a force for positive change.

“We are also pleased to see our longstanding efforts in opening up access to higher education being recognised, along with our long-established equity and diversity policies that promote inclusiveness and flexibility in our workplace.”

Western Sydney University’s decadal strategy, Sustainability and Resilience 2030, showcases the University’s roadmap towards a more resilient, sustainable and prosperous future, while the strategy’s digital engagement platform provides a way for communities to participate.

The 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the UN in 2015 and provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way.

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