UC Berkeley received the top spot in the first-ever Quacquarelli Symonds World University Sustainability Rankings of 2023.
Ranked first out of 700 global higher education institutions, UC Berkeley earned a perfect score of 100, according to campus chief sustainability officer Kira Stoll.
UC Berkeley outranked University of Toronto which ranked second, and University of British Columbia which ranked third.
“We are pleased to receive this recognition and top ranking for Berkeley’s leadership in addressing the most pressing environmental sustainability issues of our times,” Stoll said in a campus statement.
Quacquarelli Symonds, or QS, is a company headquartered in London which analyzes higher education institutions around the world, according to the QS website.
Sustainability rankings are based on two sections of indicators, environmental sustainability measures and social impact measures, each worth 50% of the score, the website added.
The environmental impact section consists of three indicators: sustainable institutions, sustainable education and sustainable research, the website noted.
The sustainable institutions indicator accredits the university’s membership in officially recognized climate action or sustainability groups, publicly available sustainability strategy/emissions reports, student organizations dedicated to sustainability and commitments toward reaching net zero emissions.
The indicator considers academic reputation in earth, marine and environmental courses, as well as alumni outcomes. It also looks at the availability of courses that include climate science and sustainability in the curriculum. A university can also earn more points in the category if it has an environmental sustainability research center.
The sustainable research indicator examines a university’s action toward[s] achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The social impact category takes equality, knowledge exchange, impact of education, quality of life and employability and opportunities into account, the website noted.
Female faculty and student proportions, disability support and the availability of public equality, diversity and inclusion policies are each factored into the equality indicator.
The knowledge of exchange indicator measures a university’s inclination to work with other institutions and organizations, as well as its commitment to knowledge transfer with “less-economically-supported institutions,” the website added.
Alumni impact, the university’s research into quality education, academic reputation in relevant social subjects and the degree of freedom that students and academics have in pursuing research without censorship are measured as a part of the impact of education indicator.
The employability and opportunities indicator gives an employer reputation and employment outcomes score to each university. The university is also judged on the unemployment rate of the country it is based in.
Meanwhile, the quality of life indicator looks at the university’s commitment to wellbeing, and the health quality on campus.
The institutions in the rankings span multiple regions, including Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa and U.S. and Canada, according to a QS report.
“It is also great to be in the company of so many other higher education institutions helping to lead the way too,” Stoll said.