WUR world’s most sustainable university for fourth consecutive year

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is the most sustainable university in the world for the fourth consecutive year. This is revealed in the latest GreenMetric ranking of Universitas Indonesia (UI). GreenMetric ranks universities according to sustainability. WUR Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol accepted the award for the first position virtually.

This year, 912 universities from 84 countries partook in the Universitas Indonesia ranking, which has been in existence since 2010. Universities complete a comprehensive survey detailing how they deal with energy, climate, waste, transportation, water, biodiversity and infrastructure. Sustainability in education and research is also measured. The ranking includes the budget universities spend on sustainability.

With a 9,150 score out of the maximum of 10,000 points, it would seem there is little that can still be improved in terms of sustainability at WUR. Each year, WUR scores high on indicators for water and waste management, as well as for sustainability in education and research. However, there is always room for improvement, particularly in the areas of infrastructure (construction and green), energy, climate and transportation. Nonetheless, Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol is delighted with the results: ‘Of course, we are thrilled with the first place. And it would be great if we were surpassed because this would mean that other universities work on sustainability even harder than we do. But it won’t be easy, because sustainability is embedded in the genes of our students and employees.’

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Sustainable energy

Achieving the first place in this ranking does not mean WUR can now call it a day. There is a reason for all the digging on campus at this moment: a loop is being constructed to connect more buildings to the thermal storage installation. Moreover, wherever possible, roofs will be fitted with solar panels and measures are taken for energy conservation. In addition to generating sustainable energy, biodiversity, circularity and mobility (transportation) are central to WUR’s agenda for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Sustainable Development Goals

The UI GreenMetric focuses mainly on ‘green’ sustainability and can thus be linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In its CSR-agenda, WUR focuses on sustainability in the broadest possible sense. This includes social aspects, such as vitality, ethical conduct and chain responsibility in acquisition and collaboration with partners.

Dutch universities

Dutch universities perform well in the sustainability ranking. Next to Wageningen University & Research, Groningen University and Leiden University also feature in the top ten, on the seventh and eighth place respectively. Sustainability coordinators of Dutch universities and university colleges meet regularly to share expertise and experiences in the field of sustainability.

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International network

As a result of its high position in the GreenMetric ranking, WUR received questions on sustainability from universities in other countries over the past years. Moreover, Wageningen was invited to hold a presentation on its waste-management, during an international GreenMetric workshop this year. The workshop was planned to take place at Zanjan University in Iran but was held online due to the corona pandemic. It was precisely this switch to online that made attendance by sustainability coordinators from many countries possible without all the travel involved. Thus, they could participate and share their experiences. GeenMetric also organised special workshops on the impact of the corona crisis on universities and their sustainability policies.

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