Note: This page refers to the pilot edition of our Sustainability Ranking, published October 2022.
For the 2nd edition methodology pages, please visit here.
The QS World University Rankings: Sustainability provides students with a unique lens on which institutions are demonstrating a commitment to a more sustainable existence. More than just the commitment, it looks for outwards evidence of this - from the impact that alumni are making in science and technology to solve climate issues, to the impact of research being done across the UN's 17 sustainable development goals. It evaluates the social and environmental impact of universities as a center's of education and research, as well as a major employers with the operational sustainability challenges of any large and complex organization.
This pilot ranking has two categories: Environmental Impact and Social Impact, and a governance boost. Each of these categories is worth 50%, which is then combined.
The governance boost is then added, and the results are rescaled from 1-100 to form the overall score and rank. Within each category are different performance lenses. Click below to explore these.
Eligibility and Inclusion
To be eligible for this ranking in its current form the following condition was applied:
|1||Eligibility for QS Rankings||
Institutions had to be eligible for QS World University Rankings, QS Regional Rankings or QS Subject Rankings.
To be evaluated in the first edition (2023) of Sustainability Rankings institutions had to be previously published in the QS World University Rankings 2022 or QS Regional Rankings 2022.
To be included in the analysis for the ranking, two further criteria were applied:
|1||Commitment to mitigate climate crisis||We have looked for evidence that a university has a policy or strategy on how they will mitigate the impact of their operations on the climate and the environment. From our experience, this typically takes the form of a standalone policy document, or a significant addition to their overall mission and strategy documents.|
|2||Evidence of a research culture aligned with the UN's SDGs||A minimum threshold of SDG research was set. Institutions must demonstrate a non-zero score in 'Research Impact into SDGs for Sustainable Research' (Environmental Impact category) and in at least 2 out of 4 SDG research metrics in the Social Impact category (see the individual lenses for this category).|
To be included in the analysis for the first edition of Sustainability Ranking institutions, additionally, had to be previously published in the QS World University Rankings.
Publication vs. Evaluation
As with any QS Ranking, we are typically able to evaluate a much larger set of institutions than we publish. The decision on which threshold to publish depends on a variety of factors, but most importantly on the data breadth and depth as well as the maturity of the ranking. In the inaugural Sustainability Ranking, we were able to score more than 700 institutions based on e.g., Scopus and reputation data (which we can collect independently and without direct participation), as well as country-level data - and so even if an institution has not made the publication threshold for the standalone ranking, institutions have a chance to be featured in the QS World University Ranking's Sustainability Metric.