Massey scores three top 15 rankings in latest Sustainable Development Goals rankings

Thursday 13 June 2024

Times Higher Education has released its 2024 University Impact Rankings for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with Massey achieving three top 15 SDG rankings overall, rising to 75th equal in the world and second in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Last updated: Thursday 13 June 2024

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings measure global universities’ success in delivering on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University has ranked second in New Zealand, with 11 SDGs ranked in the top 100 worldwide and increases for 12 individual SDGs. For the overall result, the university has risen 11 places to be ranked 75th equal in the world.

A standout success is SDG11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, where Massey now ranks fifth equal in the world. The university’s commitment to sustainable commuting initiatives, including free buses to the Manawatū campus, a commitment to the ‘5 Green Star’ building standard or equivalent and recently completed work on the restoration of Massey’s historic Refectory building, have all contributed to this rise. Continued research excellence in fields including geoheritage, disaster management and community resilience have also contributed to this increase.

Other SDGs in which the university has ranked highly include SDG15 - Life on Land and SDG2 – Zero Hunger, where Massey is ranked 12th equal and 13th respectively.

A component of both goals is promoting sustainable agriculture, an area in which Massey has made great strides. In 2022 the university launched Whenua Haumanu in collaboration with the Government. This seven-year programme, exploring regenerative farming practices alongside conventional pastoral practices in both dairy and sheep systems, is the most comprehensive study of pastoral farming ever undertaken in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The university’s Farmed Landscapes Research Centre also provides several professional development short courses on sustainable agriculture to those in the industry, such as Sustainable Nutrient Management and Advanced Freshwater Planning. These popular courses offer farmers and rural advisors the skills and knowledge needed on farm.

The university has performed well in sustainability measures for SDG15 through our conservation initiatives through the New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank and the Te Whakahaumanu Wildbase Centre. Wildbase has treated more than 6000 patients over the last 20 years, including many endangered species. These include the kākāpō, kotuku (white heron), tūturuatu (shore plover), hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) and rowi (Okarito brown kiwi). Through partnership with the Central Energy Trust Wildbase Centre, a free education programme teaches primary school children and other participants about our native wild flora and fauna. Massey’s rise in SDG15 is underpinned by world-class research focusing on endangered species, conservation management and biodiversity.

Sustainability initiatives that have contributed to SDG2 include recording food waste on each campus, hosting free public lectures for World Iron Awareness Week and numerous collaborations with local farmers and producers. The innovative cauliflower ice cream product EatKinda, co-developed by a Massey student, and which received support through the Massey Ventures Student Fund, is another example of work that addresses this goal. The rise in SDG2 is also reflected in Massey’s highly regarded research on food security and sustainable agriculture.

Other highlights from this year’s Impact Rankings include Massey being placed 35th equal in the world for SDG13 – Climate Action and 40th equal in the world for SDG5 – Gender Equality.

The university’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals has been recognised nationally with Massey recently named as the lead host of the 2024/2025 Aotearoa National Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit.

Provost Professor Giselle Byrnes says, “It is fantastic that this year Massey has one SDG in the top five in the world, three in the top 15, five in the top 50 and 11 in the top 100. These results represent the hard work of many people across the university. The Impact Ranking is important because it highlights the civic leadership of our university, showcases the benefits of knowledge exchange and illustrates the impact of our research to the communities we serve.”

Find out more about Massey’s commitment to the SDGs here.

Results for Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University:

UN Sustainable Development Goal 2024 ranking
Overall 75=
SDG1 - No Poverty 56
SDG2 - Zero Hunger 13
SDG3 - Good Health and Wellbeing 101-200
SDG4 - Quality Education 301-400
SDG5 - Gender Equality 40=
SDG6 - Clean Water and Sanitation 54
SDG7 - Affordable and Clean Energy 85=
SDG8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth 62=
SDG9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 101-200
SDG10 - Reduced Inequalities 301-400
SDG11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities 5=
SDG12 - Responsible Consumption and Production 77
SDG13 - Climate Action 35=
SDG14 - Life below Water 58=
SDG15 - Life on Land 12=
SDG16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions 101-200
SDG17 - Partnership for the Goals 101-200

How is the overall ranking created?

A university’s score for the overall result is calculated by combining its score in SDG 17 with its top three scores out of the remaining 16 SDGs. This result is averaged over the last two years. SDG 17 accounts for 22 per cent of the overall score, while the other SDGs each carry a weight of 26 per cent. This means that different universities are scored based on a different set of SDGs, depending on their focus.

Read more about the 2024 Times Higher Education Impact rankings here.

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