According to the 2022 GreenMetric ranking of Universitas Indonesia (UI), Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is again the most sustainable university in the world. The ranking compares the sustainability of 1050 universities in 85 countries.
The GreenMetric ranking compares the impact of academic institutions around the world on energy, climate, waste, transport, water, biodiversity and infrastructure. It also analyses the sustainability of these institutions’ education and research programmes. In a repeat of last year’s performance, WUR achieved more than nine out of ten for sustainability (9,300 out of 10,000 points) and so prolonged its title of ‘most sustainable university in the world’ for the sixth year in a row.
“I am really proud that I work for such a sustainable university,” says Erna Maters, WUR sustainability policy officer. She accepted the award during an online event on behalf of the University’s Executive Board. Maters is often asked by colleagues and students what it is that makes WUR so sustainable. “And then they give a few examples of reasons why we are not. It is good that our staff and students continue to question what we do and offer ideas for making our university even more sustainable,” Maters says.
Alliance of Nature-Positive Universities
WUR joined the new global Alliance of Nature-Positive Universities. This alliance was launched on the first day of the UN Biodiversity Summit in Montreal. “The Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative was behind the idea to join the alliance,” says Maters. Universities who participate in this network are bound to a ‘nature-positive pledge’ to prevent or repair all damage to nature caused by the activities and operations of the institution, and to encourage positive change.
This year, 1050 universities in 85 countries participated in the Universitas Indonesia ranking, which was held for the first time in 2010. Universities do not only have to complete the ranking questionnaire, they also attend workshops and meetings throughout the year. The international network of universities has been able to expand now that most meetings are held online. WUR is a participant in the annual Workshop on UI GreenMetric World University Rankings (IWGM), which focuses on universities’ best practices. “For example, during the 2022 edition, WUR gave a presentation of our progress in the field of water management,” says Maters. “In previous years we gave a presentation and presented an article on sustainable mobility and waste management.”
Three Dutch universities participated in the ranking this year. The University of Groningen achieved fourth place this year (last year it earned a top-three ranking). Leiden University made 12th place this year, and so lost its place in the top 10.
The UI GreenMetric ranking focusses on ‘green sustainability’, although the themes are also increasingly linked to the broader UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To measure its progress in terms of these SDGs, WUR started participating in the THE Impact Ranking two years ago.
WUR is also among the top scorers in national sustainability rankings, consistently making the top three in SustainaBul, the Dutch sustainability ranking for higher education institutions. The University achieved third place in the 2022 edition. In November 2021, WUR came 36th in the Transparency Benchmark, which analyses how transparently institutions report on social responsibility and sustainability.