Solar panels
The sun shines on the USask’s 5.12-kilowatt solar module array. Built in 2016, the array provides a hands-on renewable energy research and learning environment for students. (Photo: James Shewaga)

USask No. 9 in Canada, in top 100 universities globally in new sustainability ranking

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is among the top tier of all universities in tackling the world’s biggest environmental, social, and governance challenges, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings: Sustainability.

The rankings released Wednesday by QS is the agency’s first foray into assessing universities on sustainability, and analyzes institutions based on environmental and social impact. It evaluates the performance of each university across multiple domains in each category. 

In Canada, USask placed fourth in environmental impact and No. 14 in social impact, with a combined rank of ninth among 26 Canadian universities as well as Canada’s U15 group of research-intensive universities.  

“This new QS World University Ranking recognizes our collective, continued efforts to make our world greener and more equitable, through our world-class research.” said USask Vice-President Research Baljit Singh. “Placing in the top 10 of universities in Canada, and in the top 100 universities in the world shows our progress towards our mission of being the university the world needs.” 

Globally, USask ranked No. 91 out of 700 universities evaluated, including No. 42 in environmental impact and No. 265 in social impact.  

The ranking is a holistic measure of performance, weighing social and environmental performance equally for a combined sustainability score.  

Eight measures comprise the rankings, including research collaborations between countries that donate international aid and those that receive aid, assessments across 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and alumni who have made major contributions to address social and environmental challenges.  

According to QS World University Rankings’ published methodology information, the environmental impact category includes three performance indicators on the “outward impact a university is making when it comes to building a sustainable institution, engaging in relevant and impactful research, and embedding sustainability in the curriculum.” The social impact category consists of five dimensions that measure “how seriously institutions take their role in creating a more equal, fair, and just world.” 

USask’s placement in the QS Sustainability rankings are also consistent with The Times Higher Education (THE) sustainability and social impact ratings released in April, despite a different methodology and a larger pool of universities.  

While the first edition of the QS Sustainability ranking included 700 institutions, the ranking is not designed to be a static ranking, with goals and metrics adapted as best practices evolve and are better defined, said Leigh Kamolins, QS Director of Analytics and Evaluation, in a news release published in September. 


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