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What are sustainable universities

Know all about sustainable universities

With climate changes and constant threats to our environment, the world is slowly shifting towards sustainability. Given the same, universities across the world have begun to re-engage and educate their students on the importance of sustainability. These universities often undertake various initiatives to help better the environment and focus on green campuses. 

Sustainable universities

These are universities that are recognised for their initiatives towards reducing carbon footprint and combating climate change. The selection criteria are based on setting, energy, infrastructure, waste production, climate change, transportation, water usage, education, and research.

Who ranks sustainable universities

Introduced in 2010, the UI GreenMetric World University Rankings are an initiative by Universitas Indonesia. The objective of these rankings is to provide results of an online survey regarding the current conditions and policies related to green campus and sustainability in universities across the world.

 ui greenmetric world university rankings


Why do universities want to be sustainable

The main aim is to attract the attention of university leaders and other key stakeholders who can then invest their efforts towards fighting global climate change, waste recycling, green transportation and water and energy conservation. 

The rankings will help the university leaders in their initiatives and efforts to bring about eco-friendly policies and be able to manage behavioural changes among the thriving academic communities at their own institutions.

Why opt for a sustainable university

Choosing to study in a sustainable university is a personal choice, but a great one if you are pro-environment and want to bring a change in the world. If you want to understand how, here are some reasons:

  • Make a difference: In addition to studying, many students wish to do something meaningful or give back to the society. In a sustainable university, you’ll have various initiatives to participate in

  • Enjoy nature along with studies: Many sustainable universities permit you to work outside and enjoy nature at its best 

  • Upcoming industry: Sustainability is slowly becoming an extensive field, overtaking the food and beverages, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, transportation, and finance industry as well. It is a good idea to get your roots firm in the industry if you are aiming for it

  • Vantage point in jobs: Recently, many companies have begun to look for candidates at the C-suite level who are well aware about sustainability or have some experience in the field. Studying at a sustainable university can open attractive avenues and give you that extra advantage over others 

  • Jobs that concern environment: If you are looking for a job in the environment industry, then studying in a sustainable university is just the right thing to do 

Methodology of ranking

Here are how sustainable universities are ranked:

  1. Scoring: The score of each item is in numeric form to process the data statistically. Further, it’s the simple count of thing or responses on a set scale. 

  2. Weightage of criteria: Each criterion is classified in a general class of information. When the results are processed, raw scores are weighted to provide a final calculation.

  3. Data collection: Data is collected from the universities from May to October and only includes those who are willing to provide information. 

Top 10 universities as per Rankings 2020





Wageningen University & Research



University of Oxford

United Kingdom


University of Nottingham

United Kingdom


Nottingham Trent University

United Kingdom


University of California, Davis



Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld
(Trier University of Applied Sciences)



University of Groningen



Leiden University



University College Cork



Universita di Bologna



Sustainability is a step towards improving our environmental health along with the quality of life for our community and campus. With the increasing number of universities striving to achieve sustainability and become more environmentally conscious, it is a great idea to study in one, especially if you are someone who feels for mother nature and wants to contribute towards reducing our carbon footprint. You can always reach out to IDP and our international education specialists will help you understand about these universities in detail. 

Updated on April 17, 2021

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