A university is called sustainable when it aims towards educating the global citizens for sustainable development and spreads awareness on urgent societal challenges. A sustainable university reduces the environmental and social footprints of its campus activities and encourages both students and staff to make sustainability their number one priority. If you choose to study at a sustainable university, you gain a better understanding of your role in a globally interdependent world, enhance both, your knowledge & skill sets and become acquainted with finding solutions to the problems in modern society. If you’re an environmentally sensible person, it makes sense to study at a sustainable university. To help you decide better, we have made a list of the top five most sustainable universities in the world as per UI Green Metric rankings. This ranking system evaluates universities based on 6 dimensions namely setting & infrastructure, energy & climate change, waste, water, transportation, and education and research to find the most sustainable university in the world.
1. Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
Wageningen University & Research tops the chart of most sustainable universities with a total score of 9150. Many of the projects of this university in the fields of energy, waste, biodiversity and mobility contribute to reducing the climate impact. WUR campus is one of the most sustainable knowledge centers in the Netherlands. The university generates renewable energy with wind turbines, thermal storage on campus and solar panels. With current projects like shut the hood, reuse revolution, seriously sustainable and student cooking corner, WUR is the greenest and most sustainable university in the world.
2. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
The University of Oxford ranks second in the Green Metric list of sustainable universities with a total score of 8875. The University of Oxford follows a strict Environmental Sustainability Policy. The university’s sustainability strategy is committed to achieving net-zero carbon and biodiversity net gain, both by 2035. This strategy is aimed at limiting transport emissions, building more environmentally sustainable working practices, reducing aviation emissions from staff and students, reducing carbon emissions due to energy consumption, identifying and addressing biodiversity impacts, making curriculum more diversity inclusive, increasing research and engagement in environmental sustainability, investing in solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss.
3. University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
The University of Nottingham ranks third with a total score of 8775. The University of Nottingham is a top global university for sustainability and is committed to environmental sustainability through its research, teaching, campus activity, investments and by working with global and local partners. For more than a decade, the university has been taking actions to support the environment and deliver research for securing a more sustainable planet. The university has achieved an overall 36% reduction in CO2 emission over the past decade. It invested heavily in installing renewable energy generators on campus. The university prevented more than 99% of wastewater from entering landfills, converted organic waste into energy and bio fertilizers, driven down single-use plastics and divested from all fossil fuel investments. The University of Nottingham joined the UK government, City Council, many other universities and organizations in their declaration of a climate emergency and committed to science-based research, teaching and campus activity to ensure that every action has a lasting, positive impact on our global environment.
4. Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
Nottingham Trent University ranks fourth in the Green Metric rankings with a total score of 8725 and is one of the best universities for sustainability. NTU has pledged to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) via research and education, engagement with partners and on-campus behaviour. NTU happens to be the only university in the UK to have scored full marks for education, which was one of the parameters in the Green Metric rankings. Nottingham Trent University started the Plastic Planet initiative under which they drive down reducing single-use plastics in places such as print shop and catering. This university has successfully diverted 99% of waste from landfill, installed beehives, planted over 18000 trees, and reduced carbon emission by 51% since 2005.
5. University of California, Davis, USA
UC Davis ranks fifth on the list with a total score of 8725, equal to that of the University of Oxford. The university imbibes sustainability pretty effectively into student life. This university promotes bus and bicycle use on campus. It is a place for all the tree lovers out there. Students at UC Davis learn how to grow food sustainably by being part of a student farm that provides coffee and other food services. The university’s Tercero Phase Three project’s strategy aims at harnessing the power of steam to manage building temperatures and reduce water consumption. UC Davis efforts make it one of the unrivalled universities in the waste management category. To reduce waste and pollution, this university uses the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester. Invented by one of the professors from the university, the digester can convert 100,000 pounds of waste into energy every day.