UEA ranked among world’s top 50 sustainable universities in new league table

Published by  Communications

On 28th Apr 2022

Higher Times Ranking

The University of East Anglia’s (UEA’s) green credentials have been recognised at a global level after it was named in the world’s top 50 universities in one of the world’s most recognised league tables for sustainability.

The Times Higher Education (THE) Impact rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ (UN’s) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a blueprint for future peace and prosperity for the planet across all UN member states.

The rankings then take the results from the individual 17 SDGs to create an overall ranking, with UEA’s submission judged to be joint 47th out of over 1,406 institutions that entered worldwide, putting them in the top 4% worldwide and 10th out of all UK universities.

UEA Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson said: “I’m immensely proud of these results for UEA, which put us at the top table of universities worldwide when it comes to sustainability and truly show our dedication as an institution to implementing sustainable practices, in line with our ambition to be 100% net zero by 2045 or earlier.

“But results like this don’t come about just by changing policies or making pledges. It requires dedication, engagement and creativity from our student and staff community, innovative researchers and local partners. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are the building blocks for preserving a greener future for our planet and it’s evident from these results that as a University we are striving to achieve these goals.”

Organisations can elect to enter into each of the 17 individual SDG tables, with UEA placing in the top 100 worldwide in eight of the ten it entered (please see the table below for more detail). Their best finish was in SDG8: ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, where they came 13th worldwide and 2nd in the UK.

Three of these entries were in the top 20, including SDG15: ‘Life On Land’ which marks institutions on their ability to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and halt biodiversity loss. UEA ranked 15th of over 500 institutions worldwide in this category.

UEA’s 360-acre campus grounds are richly biodiverse, and home to 5,793 different species of flora and fauna, including 108 which are rare or endangered.

The area is carefully maintained by UEA’s Grounds and Site team and recent projects to improve biodiversity have included working with the Norfolk Rivers Trust to construct a small wetland with a pipe dam and placing woody debris in the river to allow nearby grazing meadows to hold more water.

Tom Everett, Landscape Manager in UEA’s Grounds and Site team, said: “UEA is unique as it is situated within in a network of very different ecosystems, which are also connected to other biodiverse rich neighbouring sites through our wonderful wildlife corridor, the River Yare.

“We’re so fortunate to have many dedicated staff and students who understand these land characters to help manage, restore and protect them.”

UEA also placed in the top 50 for SDG13: ‘Climate Action’, which assesses a university’s capacity to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

UEA student and uea(su) Environmental Officer Megan Watts is a shining example of the University’s student body taking climate action, having worked as part of a group organising student meetups for COP26 in Glasgow, supported an eco-anxiety campaign for UEA students and organised an environmental justice student alliance and environmental festival on the University’s campus.

Megan said: “In my eyes, UEA's students are integral to its environmentalism – and this university holds a wealth of knowledge, ambition and drive in its students and lecturers.

“Thanks to UEA and the Green Recovery Fund, I was also able to complete an internship for Norfolk Wildlife Trust as an equality, diversity and inclusivity and communications intern.”

A table of the SDGs where UEA ranked in the top 100 can be found below (details on what each SDG is based on are on the UN website):


Global rank

Total institutions entered

UK rank

SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing




SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy




SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth




SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production




SDG13: Climate Action




SDG15: Life On Land




SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions




SDG17: Partnership For The Goals









All the ranking tables can be viewed on the THE website.

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