For the second time this year, Western has ranked in the top 10 universities in the world for sustainability.
Released today, the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds Limited) World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 positions Western 10th in the world out of 1,403 institutions, fourth in the Americas and third in Canada.
In June, Times Higher Education (THE) 2023 Impact Rankings gave Western a near-perfect score of 95.8 out of 100 and ranked the university ninth in the world among more than 1,700 universities.
Western stands as the only Canadian institution to place in the top 10 for sustainability in both the QS and THE rankings.
“It’s gratifying to see the upward trajectory Western has been climbing in recent years in the international rankings,” President Alan Shepard said. “Particularly with regard to sustainability, our teaching, research and operations are having real impact. It’s a tribute to the expertise and commitment of our entire community.”
The QS rankings provide a unique and detailed framework to assess how universities are taking action to tackle the world’s most pressing global challenges. The organization’s methodology is based on university performance across three assessment categories:
- Environmental Impact, which accounts for 45 per cent of the total score. This category aggregates three indicators: Environmental Sustainability, Environmental Education and Environmental Research. Western ranked 16th overall.
- Social Impact, which also contributes 45 per cent of the overall score. This category encompasses five indicators: Equality, Knowledge Exchange, Impact of Education, Employability and Outcomes and Health and Well-being. Western ranked 18th overall.
- Governance, representing 10 per cent of the overall score. This category focuses on factors related to good governance, including ethics, hiring practices, transparency and decision-making processes. Western ranked 17th overall.
Heather Hyde, director of Western Sustainability is proud of the steps Western has taken and its rank among the world’s top 10 universities in sustainability.
“It is wonderful for Western’s collective efforts to be recognized in this way,” Hyde said. “Over the past year, many of our initiatives have grown, including our Campus as a Living Lab program, which now supports 11 projects. This is just one area demonstrating Western’s ongoing commitment to advance sustainability across the campus community, and in our research, teaching and learning.”
Western’s sustainability efforts on campus and beyond
As a campus community, Western’s faculty, staff and students are prioritizing and promoting sustainability in meaningful ways.
–The President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment and Sustainability (PACES) upholds a mandate to design and execute a Climate and Sustainability Strategy to improve awareness of sustainability initiatives and opportunities campus-wide.
– Western has a commitment to reducing emissions 45 per cent by 2030 and then, by 2050, achieving net-zero emissions on campus. This work includes numerous deep energy retrofits and the installation of the university’s first electric boiler.
-Western recently joined the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations. This international network mobilizes expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development. As a global SDSN member, Western will take part in national and regional SDSNs, with an upcoming opportunity for Western faculty and staff to participate in 2024.
-More than 2,700 courses are available across Western’s main campus and affiliates relating to the UN’s SDGs, including Connecting for Climate Change Action, an award-winning free course accessible to the public through Coursera. Last January, the Faculty of Health Sciences introduced a new course, Special Topics on Impacts of Climate Change on Health. The faculty also recently launched a health equity and sustainability master’s program, a one-year, online offering that includes the course Environment, Health and Sustainability.
-The Faculties of Engineering, Science and Social Science and the Ivey Business School have recently developed a graduate diploma in Climate Risk Assessment and Opportunity. This multidisciplinary program allows learners to develop in-depth knowledge and discipline-specific expertise in climate risk assessment, adaption and mitigation.
-Western’s Campus as a Living Lab (CLL) initiative fosters collaborations of faculty, staff, students and community partners. CLL projects from this past year include live stake planting by students, faculty and First Nations water keepers along the banks of Medway Creek, and a buckthorn bust in which students in the Master of Environment and Sustainability program worked alongside Western’s Landscape Services to eradicate the invasive specifies from campus.
-Facilities Management has added four new electric vans to its fleet and most of landscape services’ handheld power tools and push mowers are now electric.
– Plans are underway to install 74 EV stations across campus over the next two years as part of a $1.45 million upgrade, funded by Western and Natural Resources Canada.
-Western Sustainability has recently introduced a virtual Green Campus Tour, highlighting significant sites on campus, including LEED buildings, community and pollinator gardens.
-Coming in January 2024: Green bins and compost sorting for residences. Western will also stop selling plastic bottled water, having installed more than 200 refill stations with free, accessible water across campus.
“As we look ahead to the new year and beyond, we’re excited to broaden our commitments, with the understanding that sustainability continues to evolve alongside current research, trends and societal perceptions,” Hyde said. “The UN SDGs will continue to guide our work as we seek solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time.”
|QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 – Top 20
|University of Toronto
|University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
|The University of Manchester
|University of British Columbia
|The University of Auckland
|Imperial College London
|The University of Sydney
|The University of Melbourne
|The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)
|Delft University of Technology
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
|The University of Edinburgh
|University of Bristol
|ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
|University of Glasgow
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