Essex is ranked 76th out of more than 1,400 institutions across the world assessed in the highly prestigious annual rankings which show how the global higher education sector is working towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Leading universities are measured against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include themes such as: no poverty; gender equality; climate change; affordable and clean energy; and peace and justice.
Essex was ranked in the top 25 globally for three of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The rankings give universities the opportunity to showcase the work they are doing in each of these areas. Essex published its first UN Sustainable Development Goals report in November 2021 as part of a project led by Professor Dominic Micklewright, Dean of Partnerships at Essex from 2013 until 2021.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Lorna Fox O’Mahony said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the values, commitments and dedication of our community to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals has been recognised in these rankings.
“Our commitment to excellence in education and excellence in research makes a difference in so many ways and we are also determined to ensure that the many ways we help support a more sustainable world is at the forefront of our thinking as an organisation.
“We recognise the urgency of the challenges we face, and that we need to do more if we are to play our full part in reversing the harm caused by recent human history.”
Head of Sustainability and Grounds, Rob Davey, said: “For the University to have been placed 76th is really positive and shows the difference we are making.
“Our progress on the Sustainable Development Goals is critical to the University playing its part at home and globally, in achieving a more sustainable future for all.
“By annually submitting data to the Impact Rankings, we can demonstrate how well we are working towards the goals and showcase the good work we are doing.”
Professor Micklewright said: “Sustainability informs what and how we teach and research as well as how we operate as an organisation. Those who study with us, collaborate with us or partner with us can do so with confidence knowing that the University of Essex is committed to global sustainability.”
The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the UN member states in 2015 to provide a framework to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
Out of the 17 goals, Essex was ranked in the top 100 for 12 of them. The three we performed the most highly in were: Responsible Consumption and Production (16th place); Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (18th place); and Reduced Inequalities (24th place).
Essex prides itself on being a transformative university that recognises potential by providing life-changing education opportunities. Roughly a third of our students are first in their family to study for a degree and about one in ten students come from some of the poorest developing countries in the world.
The rankings recognised that Essex is a place where bringing together diversity and opportunity has a genuine impact on reducing inequalities.
In our submission, we were able to showcase how we are leading by example on what responsible and sustainable consumption should look like. We have a sustainable food policy on campus, we have abandoned carbon costly single-use bottled drinking water, we encourage everyone to recycle, and all of our rubbish is disposed of responsibly.
And as well as some of our world-renowned centres being featured in our submission for the goal on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, for example, our Human Rights Centre, we were also able to highlight the work being carried out in other areas, such as research by the Department of Government – ranked number one for politics in the UK – in collaboration with other governments.
Our online report, Sustainable Development Goals at the University of Essex, shows what we are doing through research, education, and our actions as a university, to achieve each of the 17 goals.