Nov. 2, 2020

Sustainability standing soars

UCalgary ranked 29th globally for advancing sustainability
Tatenda Mambo
University is ranked 29th globally in promoting sustainable research. Riley Brandt

Whether it’s shaping the future of affordable housing, turning animal waste into fertilizer or ensuring childbirth safety in Tanzania, the University of Calgary community is answering an urgent global call to action to create peace and prosperity for people and the planet through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Times Higher Education ranks UCalgary 29th in the world for addressing the SDGs, which range from ending hunger to promoting health and wellbeing to securing clean energy and water. UCalgary is ranked 12th out of North American doctoral institutions, and second among Canadian research institutions, under the Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System — a university performance framework also known as STARS. In addition, UCalgary is also ranked 23rd out of 312 North American institutions by Sierra Cool Schools for their environmental commitments.

“UCalgary is a place where entrepreneurs and innovators are challenging the status quo to embrace global change,” says Joanne Perdue, associate vice-president, sustainability. “Through education and research, we’re committed to addressing global challenges including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. We’re dedicated to ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for all.”

The rankings are part of a series of successes outlined in UCalgary’s 2020 Institutional Sustainability Report released this week. 

2020 progress report showcases sustainability excellence at UCalgary

  • One-fifth of all UCalgary researchers across 80 per cent of departments are conducting sustainability-related research. 
  • There have been 46 sustainability-related startups launched by students, faculty and staff. 
  • In the past year, 14,600 students have taken at least one of the more than 500 sustainability-related courses offered by UCalgary. 
  • For the fourth year in a row, UCalgary was named one of Canada’s best diversity employers.
  • The university has reduced its GHG emissions by 33 per cent since 2008 and completed its first net zero carbon building, the largest to date in Canada (October 2020).
  • UCalgary was named to Princeton Review’s Green College Honor Roll, which recognizes the top 30 schools in North America from among close to 700 institutions.  

UCalgary has made achievements across all 17 of the UN’s global goals particularly in the area of SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals. 
“The SDGs are about enhancing health and well-being, working to reduce inequality and promote good governance, expanding innovation in ecosystem health and climate action, and so much more,” says Perdue. “Through innovation in research and education, modelling sustainable practices, and partnerships to accelerate change, UCalgary is rising to the global challenge to secure a better tomorrow for everyone.”  

For more information about UCalgary’s most recent sustainability achievements, check out the 2020 Institutional Sustainability Report

  • Photo above: Tatenda Mambo, postdoctoral associate, Sustainability Studies, displays his aquaponics research, a leader in sustainable food development. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a roadmap for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to be a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability.