St Andrews ranked in top 100 in QS Global Sustainability Report

Thursday 7 December 2023

The University of St Andrews has been recognised for its sustainability work in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability report, leaping an impressive 57 places to rank joint 86th.

The QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 features 1397 institutions across 95 countries and territories, more than double the number featured in last year’s pilot edition.

Evaluating universities based on social impact, environmental impact, and governance, the ranking provides a unique and detailed framework to assess how universities are taking action to tackle the world’s most pressing global challenges.

The University of St Andrews’ score has improved in every performance lens over the last year, jumping 57 places from 143 to 86, with increases across Environmental Research, Social Impact, Health & Wellbeing, Knowledge Exchange, and Equality.

The QS methodology for the World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 is based on university performance across three assessment categories:

  • Environmental Impact (aggregating three indicators: Environmental Sustainability, Environmental Education and Environmental Research)
  • Social Impact (aggregating five indicators: Equality, Knowledge Exchange, Impact of Education, Employability and Outcomes, and Health and Wellbeing)
  • Governance (considering factors related to good governance: such as ethics, hiring practices, transparency, decision making).

Derek Watson, University of St Andrews Factor and Quaestor, said: “This result demonstrates the thoughtful and intentional engagement with sustainability right across all University operations. We are incredibly proud of this achievement and, while we have more work to do, this is an encouraging indicator that we are moving in the right direction.”

Jessica Turner, CEO of QS, highlights the role of the QS Sustainability Rankings as a cutting-edge tool for gauging the progress and collaborative efforts of universities globally in tackling pressing existential challenges. Turner draws attention to the increasing importance of these considerations for students, noting that their choices in academic pursuits are guided not only by career prospects but also by their personal values and beliefs.

Turner says: “For this generation of brand-conscious students, their chosen university represents a lifelong affiliation, deeply intertwined with personal identity, and social awareness.

“Our 2023 Sustainability Survey revealed a striking trend: 79% of prospective international students view an institution’s sustainability practices as extremely or very important. Additionally, 82% actively seek information on these practices while researching universities.

“This demonstrates a clear shift in priorities among today’s students who are increasingly weighing the social and environmental impact of their future alma mater alongside academic excellence.”

Full details of the methodology for the 2024 rankings can be found on the QS World Rankings website.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

Category Sustainability

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