Western Sydney University named world’s best for sustainable development

Western Sydney University has been named number one in the world for its social, ecological and economic impact in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings.

The University placed 1st overall worldwide and 1st in Australia in the prestigious annual rankings, which assess universities on their commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The rankings are based on universities’ teaching, research, outreach and stewardship.

This is the fourth year of the THE University Impact Rankings, with Western Sydney University topping the list out of more than 1,400 institutions.

The University’s work was recognised across the following SDG categories:

  • 1st worldwide for SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 2nd worldwide for SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 3rd worldwide for SDG5: Gender Equality
  • 4th worldwide for SDG10: Reduced Inequalities
  • 5th worldwide for SDG17: Partnership for the Goals
  • 9th worldwide for SDG14: Life below Water
  • 10th worldwide for SDG15: Life on Land
  • 15th worldwide for SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing
  • 15th worldwide for SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO said the University is committed to tackling society’s grand challenges and supporting a more just and equitable world.

“It is an immensely proud moment in the University’s history to see our sector-leading efforts to drive important social transformation recognised,” said Professor Glover.

“As an anchor institution we are embedded in the economic, cultural and social life of Greater Western Sydney – a region experiencing first-hand many of the sustainability and resilience challenges of the 21st century, including rapid urban growth, urban heat and entrenched inequalities.

“Beyond the region, many of our world-leading education and research programs and collaborative international partnerships are also making significant impact to reducing inequality and addressing issues like food and water security around the world.

“Social justice, inclusive education, addressing inequality, environmental stewardship and resilience – these are all core to our mission. We are committed to delivering action in all these areas and fostering the next generation of thought leaders and civic-minded citizens who can solve these complex challenges.”

Western Sydney University acknowledges and respects the Traditional Owners of the land on which its campuses stand – the Darug, Wiradjuri, D’harawal, and Eora Peoples.

The University values the generations of knowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples embed within the University, and it embraces Indigenous pathways to sustainability and the unique biodiversity of the Western Sydney region.

Also contributing to the ranking success is the University’s decadal strategy, Sustainability and Resilience 2030, which sets out an ambitious roadmap to address climate adaptation and mitigation, and social inequality.

The University’s Sustainable Energy Plan sets bold targets for its campus operations to achieve carbon neutrality by 2023, and be climate positive in 2025. The University has fast tracked these targets into action, with electricity supply across all its campuses now 100 per cent Green Power accredited – four years ahead of target.

The 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (opens in a new window) were adopted by the UN in 2016 and provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way.


28 April 2022

Amanda Whibley, Manager, Media & Public Relations

Photo credit: Sally Tsoutas