The University of Auckland has ranked first in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings for the second year in a row.
The rankings, which were launched in 2019, assess the broader impact of the work of global universities against each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way.
These goals included affordable and clean energy, quality education, climate action and gender equality.
Out of 850 institutions from 89 countries that participated, the university was ranked second globally in achieving the ‘Life Under Water’ goal, which aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”, fourth in ‘Good Health and Well-being’, which ensures “healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages”, and fifth in ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’, which “ensures access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.
This follows the university deciding to divest from fossil fuels last August, reducing their investment to 0.5 percent or less by December this year after a five-year student campaign involving lobbying, protests and an occupation of the Vice-Chancellor’s office in May 2017.
Student group Fossil Free UoA had estimated the university donated a total of $3.3 million to coal, oil and gas companies.
Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater said the rankings reflect the world-class outcomes achieved by the university, and demonstrate why focus on sustainability is important.
“There is a growing call for countries to use this (Covid-19) crisis to radically rethink economic and social models.”
“This includes concerns about increasing reliance on fragile global supply chains, dependence on single countries for essential manufacturing, precarious health systems, and placing too much emphasis on economic growth that puts unsustainable pressure on the environment.”
“In the post-Covid world we will be building on this in collaboration with our many stakeholders and communities.”
“The ranking positions us and New Zealand very positively for the strengths and abilities that we offer alongside our partners.”