Leicester’s commitment to sustainability leads to world rankings rise

The University of Leicester has shot up more than 100 places in a league table which ranks the sustainable credentials of universities around the globe.

Leicester rose at least 116 places to 185th in the world, and went up two places to 37th in the UK, in the 2024 QS World University Rankings: Sustainability. The rankings provide students with a unique insight into which institutions are demonstrating a commitment to a more sustainable existence. It assesses universities across three key metrics: Environmental Impact, Social Impact and Governance.

The rise demonstrates Leicester’s commitment to put sustainability and social change at its heart.

Students at Leicester benefit from a raft of courses and programmes which can equip them with the skills for a successful environmental career, as explained in our blog from Dr Moya Burns, Associate Professor Ecology and Environmental Science and Dr Sarah Gretton, Education for Sustainable Development Academic Lead.

Research is taking place across the institution to help tackle the issues of climate change, some of which is being showcased at COP28 in Dubai, this week.

University of Leicester academics have been involved in measuring and monitoring the impact of climate change since the 1980s and many are now at the forefront of such technologies, influencing global policy and informing decision makers.

The Institute for Environmental Futures carries out transformative and transdisciplinary research into human-environment systems through discovery science and applied research with stakeholders, including from industry. The Institute co-develops policy solutions and innovations towards an environmentally sustainable future.

Our Earth Observation Science group uses data from sophisticated instruments in space to tackle today’s greatest environmental challenges, such as climate change and air pollution. Our researchers work to tackle low quality of air in urban areas, protecting peatlands and reduce methane emissions. The University also hosts the headquarters of the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).

The University was also one of the first in the United Kingdom to sign up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in September 2017, and it plans to be net zero by 2040

Sarah Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Science and Engineering, said: “Our rise in the QS World University Rankings is testament to the strides the University of Leicester has made in creating environmental and societal change.

“We are committed to protecting, creating and enhancing space for a diversity of human and non-human life and to help others do the same through our academic and operational expertise.

“Environmental sustainability is one of the University’s four strategic guiding principles that are used to inform our decision-making. As Citizens of Change, our approach is holistic – from reducing our negative environmental impacts to increasing our positive handprint by engaging with local, national and international policymakers at all levels.”