Top 10 Australian Universities That Promote Sustainability

Last updated: 9 January 2024 Study in Australia Sustainability

Sustainability is crucial because it represents a responsible and ethical approach to meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

By embracing sustainability, universities can mitigate the negative impacts of human activities on the environment, promote social equity, build a more resilient and harmonious global society, and provide a world-class education for many. And as we head towards a greener future, Australian universities are making an impact.

To recognize universities' contributions worldwide, the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 has ranked over 1,400 on their ability to solve environmental, social, and governance challenges through a special methodology. Universities have been ranked for their efforts and achievements, and Australia's best universities impacting the world positively through their sustainability initiatives are discussed below.

If you want to apply to study in Australia, contact SI-Australia today for a free consultation.

most sustainable universities australia

Top 10 Australian Universities for Sustainability

1. University of Sydney

The University of Sydney ranks 7th globally in the QS 2024 Sustainability Ranking, addressing some of the world’s most complex issues by putting sustainability at campus operations, environments, and engagement activities. The University of Sydney focuses on reducing energy emissions from non-renewable energy sources, managing water and waste sustainably, growing and supporting flora and fauna to protect ecosystems, and integrating sustainability considerations into our investment practices. 

It was awarded to the top 25% of over 75,000 companies assessed globally and was the Winner of the “Creative Impact” award in the Green Gown Awards Australasia 2022. 

2. The University of Melbourne

Ranking 9th overall in the QS Sustainability Rankings 2024, the University of Melbourne is a globally recognised and public-spirited research institution to act on the critical challenges of worldwide sustainability in a changing climate. 

The university is committed to fostering biodiversity, increasing the quantity and quality of habitats on campus, reducing energy emissions, and reusing landfill waste. The University’s Sustainability Framework governs sustainability at the University of Melbourne. Besides, the university has been awarded the Sustainability Institution of the Year and the Circular Economy Award at the Green Gown Awards 2023. 

3. The University of New South Wales Sydney (UNSW)

With three campuses in Kensington, Randwick, and Paddington, the University of New South Wales aims to reduce and manage waste to reduce environmental impact. The campus has a Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF), an internationally recognised accreditation involving laboratory groups taking practical actions to cut their environmental impact. This includes taking action on single-use plastic, saving water, and waste management. 

The University of New South Wales Sydney won a Bankasia 2022 NSW Sustainability Award in the “Net Zero Action” category. Besides, it has also implemented low-emissions and fossil-free investment strategies. 

4. Monash University

Monash University ranked 23rd in the QS 2024 Sustainability Rankings, is committed to social and environmental sustainability. The university aims to build a clean power, water, and air-filled future. Also, Monash University is completely transforming how to utilise energy by keeping a clear goal: Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2030. 

5. Australian National University

We all know that humanity faces three major challenges - climate, pollution, and biodiversity loss. Considering that, the Australian National University ranks 30th in the QS 2024 Sustainability Ranking, among the best Australian universities. The university integrates practical action to manage environmental impacts with world-leading research and teaching. It uses its expertise to drive innovation as a living lab and demonstrator. Some actions include emissions reduction, circular economy, carbon removal, and conservation. 

6. The University of Queensland

The University of Queensland (UQ) is another Australian National University that promotes sustainability. UQ's sustainability strategy focuses on reducing the university's carbon footprint, improving energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable transport. The university has also developed a sustainability curriculum integrated into many courses across all disciplines. 

In addition, UQ has implemented several sustainability initiatives on campus, such as installing solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and bike-sharing programs. UQ has been recognized for its sustainability efforts and was awarded the 2021 Green Gown Award for Carbon Reduction. UQ has also achieved an International Silver STARS rating for its sustainable performance. 

7. Griffith University

Griffith University is a public research university in South East Queensland, Australia. The university is known for its commitment to sustainability and has been ranked 40th globally in the 2024 QS Sustainability Rankings. The university's sustainability initiatives include reducing carbon emissions, implementing sustainable water management practices, and promoting sustainable transportation. 

Griffith University is also a signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and has pledged to work towards achieving these goals. Additionally, the university offers a range of sustainability-focused courses and research opportunities to promote sustainable development and environmental conservation.

8. University of Technology Sydney

Ranking 43rd in the QS 2024 Sustainability Ranking worldwide, the University of Technology Sydney stays at the forefront of sustainability research, delivering solutions to improve the environment and climate change. The university has several research sustainable centres like the Centre for Clean Energy Technology, Centre for Green Technology, and Design Innovation Research Centre. 

9. The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide is one of the top universities in Australia for sustainability and the university has set ambitious goals to reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices across campus. It aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and has implemented various initiatives to reduce energy consumption and waste. 

The University of Adelaide ranks 49th in the QS 2024 Ranking and has implemented some sustainability initiatives such as solar panels on buildings, sustainable food practices, and vehicle charging stations. 

10. Macquarie University

Macquarie University, which is one of the best Australian universities, has developed a vibrant and sustainable campus by making informed decisions around sustainable practices. The commitment includes researching to solve global challenges, reducing the negative impact on society and the environment, responsible consumption of water, energy, food, and transport, and ensuring students contribute to an environmentally healthy and equitable society. 

Other Green Australian Universities

Charles Sturt University 

Charles Sturt University is committed to achieving sustainability outcomes in the University Strategy and LiFe framework. It is an active member of the Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) and maintains a status as Australia’s first certified carbon-neutral university under the Climate Active Program. 

The university aims to maintain consistency toward sustainability by encouraging its students and staff to walk instead of riding a bike and switch off equipment like lights when not required. Charles Strut University has received many notable awards, such as the “Green Gown Awards,” which aim to recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives undertaken by the universities and colleges. 

Study in Australia

Do you want to study at a future-focused university in Australia that aims to impact the environment? Arrange a free consultation with SI-Australia and get all your information regarding the benefits of studying at a green university.

Universities featured in this article:

  • Charles Sturt University
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Melbourne
  • Monash University
  • University of Queensland
  • Griffith University
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • University of Adelaide
  • Macquarie University
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