WUR world’s most sustainable university for fifth consecutive time

December 15, 2021

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is once again ranked the most sustainable university in the world in the 2021 GreenMetric ranking of the Universitas Indonesia (UI). This ranking compares universities’ sustainability in relation to their energy use, climate, waste, transportation, water, biodiversity and infrastructure. Sustainability in education and research is also measured. This year, extra attention was paid to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the universities’ sustainability policies.

This is the fifth consecutive time WUR has been ranked the most sustainable university in the world. WUR was awarded 9.300 out of 10.000 points on the GreenMetric ranking. "The reward for our many years of including sustainability in our decisions", says Erna Maters, policy officer sustainability at WUR.

"This does not mean we will cease our efforts. There is still sufficient room for improvement in the domain of sustainability, particularly with regard to infrastructure indicators (construction and vegetation), energy, climate and transportation."

Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol accepted the award online and stated he is very pleased with the result but expects steeper competition. "It is time for another university to take over! We challenge other universities to step up and take strides towards a more sustainable world."

International network

No fewer than 956 universities from more than 80 different nations participated in the Universitas Indonesia ranking, which first appeared in 2010. Universities complete a questionnaire for the ranking and attend workshops and meetings throughout the year. Thus, an extensive international network has emerged. Forced by the pandemic, GreenMetric switched to digital meetings, enabling many sustainability coordinators to share their experiences without the need for extensive travel.

Dutch universities

Dutch universities do remarkably well in this ranking. Groningen University was ranked third this year, while Leiden University also reached the top-10. Tilburg University showed the greatest growth.

Sustainable Development Goals

The UI GreenMetric focuses primarily on 'green sustainability' and can thus easily be linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. WUR aims for sustainability in the broadest sense of the word, which includes many topics related to social aspects such as vitality, ethical conduct and chain responsibility in procurement and collaboration with partners.

WUR also achieves high scores in national sustainability rankings. In the Transparancy benchmark WUR was ranked 36 last November, staying in the lead with regard to record-keeping on societal responsibility and sustainability within the category universities and knowledge institutes. Moreover, WUR ranked first in the 2021 edition of SustainaBul, organised by Students for Tomorrow.