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The University of Southampton

University of Southampton shines in sustainability rankings

Published: 5 December 2023
A building surrounded by trees

The University of Southampton has climbed 54 places in this year’s QS World University Rankings for Sustainability - placing it 13th in the UK and 34th in the world.

The QS World University Rankings: Sustainability , which are in their second year, look at how universities are addressing the world’s greatest environmental and social challenges. Over 1,400 institutions from around the world are assessed in the rankings, including 93 in the United Kingdom.

For one metric, Health and Wellbeing, the University achieved an impressive second in the world ranking. This metric assesses an institution’s commitment to improving the health and wellbeing not only of its students, but society more widely.

University of Southampton Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark E. Smith said: “As universities, we have a unique role to play in confronting the challenges of climate change and ecological destruction. Sustainability needs to be part of everything we do - our research, our teaching, and our engagement activities. It is fantastic to see the progress we are making in building a more sustainable future reflected in this year’s QS World University Rankings for Sustainability.”

For Environmental Impact, Southampton climbed 98 places to 32nd in the world for this area. This recognises the impact of the institution’s education, research activities and operations towards an environmentally sustainable future.

Since 2018, the University has reduced its Scope 2 emissions associated with purchased electricity by 94 per cent, Scope 3 emissions associated with business travel by 76 per cent, and those associated with staff commuting by 71 per cent. A plan to reduce Scope 1 emissions is now underway. Plans are in place to make all major decisions subject to a Sustainability Impact Assessment and the University has adopted a Sustainable Building Design Standard which is applied to all construction, maintenance, and refurbishment projects.

The University also climbed 28 places for Social Impact, putting it in the top 20 universities in the world. This encompasses what the university is doing to boost employability, equality, education, health and wellbeing, and knowledge sharing.

The University has recently launched a new Sustainability and Resilience Institute. The institute aims to bring together colleagues from disciplines across the University to work with experts from around the world to tackle the most critical challenges facing our society and environment.

Professor Simon Kemp, Deputy Director of the Sustainability & Resilience Research Institute said: “We are delighted that the excellent sustainability work across the University has been recognised in the 2024 QS World University Rankings: Sustainability. Being ranked 34th in the world and 13th in the UK illustrates the great strides we are taking as an institution, delivering on the commitments in our University Strategy. We are especially proud of our particularly high rankings for 'Social Impact' and 'Environmental Impact', and we look forward to continuing to advance in all elements of our work through the Sustainability and Resilience Institute.”

Find out more about sustainability at the University of Southampton and the Sustainability & Resilience Institute .

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