The University of Helsinki has ranked 60th in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 ranking, which measures the sustainability and environmental impact of universities around the world.
The ranking examines university operations through ESG (environmental, social and governance) categories. In other words, the focus is on the universities’ environmental and social impact as well as their administration.
The University of Helsinki ranks second in the world according to the health and wellbeing indicator, which measures both the wellbeing of the University community and the impact of the University’s research more broadly in society. According to the indicator for environmental and sustainability research, the University is ranked fourth.
The total number of universities in the ranking is 1,403. In Europe, the University of Helsinki is placed 29th.
Besides the indicators for health and wellbeing as well as environmental research, the University is most successful according to the environmental sustainability indicator. In terms of the impact of education, the University of Helsinki ranks 40th, while the indicator for equality places the University 78th.
The work to promote sustainability continues
The QS World University Rankings: Sustainability ranking for 2024 is the second of its kind. In the first ranking in 2023, a little over 700 institutions were assessed. At that time, the University of Helsinki was placed 90th.
According to Anne Remes, Vice-Rector for sustainability, the University has in recent years invested a lot in sustainability and responsibility. Measures have been taken throughout the University through the sustainability and responsibility plan published in 2022.
“Among other things, we have developed and expanded the range of offerings in sustainability education and integrated sustainability expertise into the curricula of bachelor’s and master’s programmes. In spring 2023, we defined measures for achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.”
“In addition, we have invested in promoting the wellbeing of the University community as well as equality and diversity, for example, through various annual themes. Internal and external communication on sustainability and responsibility themes and measures has also been increased,” Remes says.
While efforts for sustainability and responsibility are not carried out for the sake of ranking success, such comparisons serve as one indicator of progress. The next sustainability and responsibility plan is already on the drawing board in anticipation of its publication in 2024, with many new initiatives on the way.
“In the course of 2024, we will invest in the development of the staff’s sustainability skills. We will conduct a survey on ecosystem services and natural capital on the Helsinki campuses, which we hope will provide insight for campus development from the perspective of biodiversity and on the basis of the community’s wishes. In addition, we will soon publish guidelines for organising sustainable events as well as new travel guidelines for staff, taking sustainability aspects better into consideration,” Remes says.
What does the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability ranking measure?
The QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 ranking examines the environmental and social impact as well as governance of universities.
In the ranking, university operations are examined and scored using nine indicators. According to five of these, the University of Helsinki ranks among the global top 100.
The ranking considers, besides data provided by the universities (25% of the overall score), data on, for example, reputation and alumni, as well as national statistics (75% of the overall score).
In terms of the overall ranking, environmental and social impact have the same weight (45% for each), while the share of governance in the overall result is 10%.