4 steps to elevate your university's sustainability rankings

4 steps to elevate your university's sustainability rankings
Image Source: Li-An Lim/Unsplash

When deciding which university they should apply for, prospective students often go straight to a university’s graduate employability rates.

However, an emerging wave of climate-concerned students are keeping a sturdy eye on their prospective university’s sustainability rankings.

As a result, UK universities are now competing to get acknowledged by sustainability rankings and organisations such as People and Planet. While some are already ahead of the climate curve through implementing effective environmental policy and strategies, sustainable staff members and investing in ecological auditing systems.

According to the 2021 People and Planet rankings, climate-aware universities for last year were:

♻️ Manchester Metropolitan University
♻️ King's College London
♻️ Nottingham Trent University
♻️ De Montfort University
♻️ Cardiff Metropolitan University

Yet as we move further into 2022, other universities are eager to get into the top percent of these types of rankings.

Suppose you’re part of one of those eager universities and you’re trying to encourage students and staff to get involved with more sustainable Knowledge Exchange activities, you’re probably wondering, ‘where do I start?’

It’s hard to transform into a net-zero campus overnight, so take it step-by-step via the new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Sustainable University Framework.


For institutions just beginning to address sustainability, you could:

♻️ Connect with local universities and sustainability networks
♻️ Engage, excite and listen to staff and students
♻️ Increase understanding and keep listening
♻️ Recruit champions
♻️ Establish a sustainability committee
♻️ Make a commitment
♻️ Draft informal plans


For institutions making advances in formalising their sustainability progress, you could:

♻️ Know what best practice is
♻️ Formalise plans and policies
♻️ Back up plans and policies with agreed objectives and targets
♻️ Agree roles and responsibilities
♻️ Provide training and support


For institutions with an established approach to sustainability and structures in place to support it, you could:

♻️Integrate and align sustainability and corporate plans and policies
♻️Measure and review progress
♻️Communicate performance regularly


For institutions that are sustainability models to others, you could:

♻️Routinely report on performance and improvement
♻️Model best practice, share your learning and be a change agent to others
♻️Embed your sustainability strategy as a research and curriculum resource
♻️Establish a continual improvement process
♻️Revise and raise your ambition and vision of sustainability

The fifth step? No need. By taking these steps, you'd already be evolving into a sustainable campus.

For further information on the new UNEP Sustainable University Framework, click here!



KEVRI is a collaborative software platform and consultancy that helps you surface innovation at your organisation and support impact pipelines. Email us at info@kevri.co to find out more!