What are Sustainable Universities?

“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all,”- Ban Ki-moon.

If you are someone who takes climate change and biodiversity loss seriously and if you are bothered by the social inequalities and want to know how a university can play a key role in promoting sustainability, then this article is for you.

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues and a constant threat to our environment. The solution to tackle this issue is by promoting sustainability across disciplines and sectors. So now the world is slowly moving toward the goal of sustainability, and the first step towards this can start from a university-level by re-energizing and educating the students on the importance of sustainability and having a green campus. A sustainable university will provide its student with insights into the current social challenges and the ways in which the university or an individual can reduce the environmental and social footprints. The selection criteria of a sustainable university are based on the energy infrastructure, setting, waste production, waste management, transportation, water usage, and research. A sustainable university will make sustainability a major priority and practice in teaching and research. A sustainable university should incorporate the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its curriculum and give importance to sustainability-focused projects.

The University of Indonesia has come up with a UI green metric world university ranking system that focuses on the green campus and sustainable universities around the world. Many universities have already started to work towards promoting sustainability goals and a carbon-neutral environment.

Why a sustainable university?

If you are pro-environment and care about climate change, a sustainable university will be the platform for you to make a difference. This will provide a way for you to give back to society while studying. Sustainable universities will let you work outside the university and enjoy nature at its best, so along with education, you will also get to enjoy nature and step outside. Sustainable universities make sure that the students are getting the best exposure without causing any damage to the planet, so these universities are also known as future-focused universities. Presently sustainability is becoming an extensive field that is overtaking the health care, energy, and food industry. The corporate world now gives a lot of importance to sustainable practices, and they are ready to adopt sustainability in their work life, so the skills you learn at a sustainable university will boost your employability for today and tomorrow. Companies have also started to prefer candidates with a C-Suite level, as these candidates will be very well aware of sustainable practices around the world and will adapt to them.

According to the UI green metric world university ranking, the following universities have been ranked high in sustainable practices :

Rank University Country
1 Wageningen University & Research Netherland
2 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
3 University of Groningen Netherland
4 Nottingham Trent University United Kingdom
5 University of California, Davis USA
6 Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld
(Trier University of Applied Sciences)
7 Leiden University Netherland
8 University College Cork Netherland
9 University of Connecticut USA
10 Universidade de Sao Paulo USP Brazil

Sustainable practices in the universities

  • Teaching sustainabilityOffering a course in sustainability and assessing the current impact of global warming and climate change will be one of the topmost functions and priorities of a sustainable university. Sustainability and the goals related to it will be included in the curriculum of these universities.
  • Recycling This is one of the easiest ways to save our environment and reduce the amount of waste we create every day. So a sustainable university will have multiple recycling plants.
  • Promoting a culture of sustainabilityThis will be the base of a sustainable university. The university will promote such practices and coin rules and regulations that promote sustainability on campus.
  • Reduced and more sustainable staff travelPromoting public transport and reducing international travel are a few things that are adopted by sustainable universities to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Responsibly sourced foodReplacing meat with vegetarian food items is also practiced by universities to meet their sustainability goals.
  • Online resources-Replacing papers with online resources and computers is one important practice that can now be seen in most universities.
  • Sustainable buildingsAdapting to modern architectural styles for reducing energy needs for heating is also a part of sustainable universities.

So if you are someone who wants to take action towards climate change and if you’re going to contribute to positive global change, then you should think of choosing a sustainable university.

Date added

Filed under:

Global Ed


No spam, just your favourite topics.

Choose Insight topics that you are interested in to subscribe for your personalized newsletter.

A world
of possibilities awaits.
Join the movement.
Find your perfect university,
in one of 40 countries all over the world
Prepare for the future,
whether at university, business or in employment
Secure your future,
through STEM courses
Connect with leading international companies
and unlock the potential of your team
Fill in the form, so we can contact
you and start our journey together.