Published today (22 April), the Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings mark the ongoing work of the University towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Placed 11th in the world overall out of 766 institutions, the University saw an improvement on its position of 23rdin last year’s edition of the guide.
Newcastle is ranked sixth in the world under SDG 11 ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, in recognition of the impact of its research in the area of sustainability, support for the culture, arts and heritage sectors, and for sustainable practices.
The University is placed eighth under SDG 12 ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, thanks to a number of initiatives, such as its policy on ethical sourcing of food and supplies, as well as policies on waste disposal and efforts to minimise use of plastics.
The rankings also place Newcastle joint 12th under SDG17 ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, showcasing working together through partnerships and collaborations in order to achieve the 2030 agenda.
Other areas where the University scored highly include, 28th in SDG 9 ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’ and joint 36th for ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’ – SDG 7.
Making a global contribution
The rankings performance follows Newcastle University’s decision to join a number of organisations in the UK and all over the world to declare a climate emergency, as well as in December signalling a university-wide commitment to embedding UN SDGs in University activity through becoming as signatory to the SDG Accord led by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC).
Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “I am immensely proud of the massive University-wide effort and commitment to issues of social and climate justice that this THE placing recognises. It is especially pleasing to be positioned so highly in the Sustainable Cities and Communities category as this reflects outstanding work, in our research and in work with our students and with partners, in areas such as health and wellbeing, cities and place, and culture and creative arts. The UN SDGs will be central to the ways in which all universities will strive to address the worldwide ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is terrific that Newcastle University can and will make a global contribution in this way.”
Focus on sustainability
The University’s commitment to sustainable development encompasses action across education, research and stewardship, including work which has recently seen it divest all endowment funds from companies making revenue from fossil fuel extraction.
Newcastle University also recently announced that has signed an aggregated power purchase agreement, joining 19 other universities across the UK, to buy £50m worth of renewable electricity from a portfolio of wind farms.
The University is also currently developing business cases for multiple on-site renewable energy projects, including its biggest photovoltaic array to date, and a Combined Heat and Power project using renewable fuel.
The Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings capture universities’ impact on society, based on institutions’ success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. There are 17 SDGs, which were adopted by the UN in 2015 to provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way.