An international ranking which examines sustainability practices in universities across the world, has ranked University College Cork (UCC) today at ninth, the only Irish university to make the top 10 of the ‘greenest universities’ in the world.
The UI GreenMetric World University Ranking was set up in 2010 and examines universities around the world and their work towards reducing their carbon footprint and helping combat climate change. The educational, research and operational activities of 912 institutions across 84 countries were examined and UCC was ranked ninth best in the world for sustainability. Wageningin University & Research was ranked first in the world, with the University of Oxford in second place.
“Over a decade ago we embarked on a course to inspire and educate our students and our community towards sustainability. We are proud to be Ireland’s greenest university and this ranking is due to the hard work of students and staff” commented Professor John O’ Halloran, Interim President of UCC.
Ireland’s greenest university
Over a decade ago UCC students first embarked on the Green Campus programme, this programme is now central to university wide operations.
In 2020, UCC celebrated 10 years since becoming the first University in the world to be awarded a Green Flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education. Green Campus involves a seven-step programme and a cycle of continual improvement.
"Our Green Campus Forum continues to work on all aspects of sustainability under our ‘Student-led, Research-informed and Practice-focused’ principles. We are delighted to consistently lead on these metrics," commented Mark Poland, Director of Buildings and Estates at UCC.
The University is home to Ireland’s first plastic-free café, which has prevented more than 20,000 disposable items going to waste since it opened at the University’s Biosciences Institute in 2018.
UCC aims to make every student aware of sustainable development through both formal and informal learning. UCC has a University Wide Module on Sustainability and all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are covered within its curriculum. UCC is one of Ireland’s leading research universities and 15% of all researchers in UCC are engaged in research that is directly related to the SDGs.
In 2018 UCC was ranked as the first third level institution outside the US and Canada to win the gold Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).