York University Rises in Global Sustainability Rankings

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Graduation from High School is a positive step forward
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On June 12th, the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings were announced, recognizing universities around the world for their contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This marks the fifth year of the rankings, with the competition growing exponentially fiercer – now with over 2,100 universities evaluated on the basis of the 17 SDGs. This year, York University moved up five spots to number 35 on the worldwide list. On the basis of the first SDG alone, zero poverty, York ranks second worldwide, and first in Canada. It also tops Canadian universities for reduced inequalities (SDG 10).

This high ranking recognizes the university’s commitment to sustainability through research, outreach, and teaching. Rhonda Lenton, President and Vice-Chancellor of York University, commended the collective effort of the university: “This is a University-wide achievement by our students, staff, and faculty to demonstrably make a positive impact on the sustainable development goals through research, teaching, creativity, and innovation,” says Lenton. “We have done particularly well in SDGs that align most strongly with our values as a University, including zero poverty, reduced inequalities, and sustainable cities and communities. I am proud that we continue to be recognized for our leadership in building a more sustainable and inclusive world.”

Here are the categories in which York excelled:

– 13th for Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11)

– 35th for Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17)

– Top 50 for Gender Equality (SDG 5), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), and Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions (SDG 16)

York’s commitment to reducing poverty is exemplified by initiatives such as Osgoode Hall Law School’s Parkdale Community Legal Services and Community Legal Aid Services, which provide essential legal support to lower-income residents in Toronto. Additionally, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub are strong sources of support for the battle against homelessness.

In efforts to reduce inequality, York has committed $1 million to Indigenous research and has collaborated with the Centre for Refugee Studies for over 35 years. The university supports 16,000 students who are the first in their families to attend university.

York’s institutional values—social justice, inclusivity, sustainability, and excellence—are woven into its Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy. This includes frameworks and action plans on Black inclusion and the Indigenous Framework, featuring Canada’s first dedicated Indigenous Research Ethics Board at a post-secondary institution. To address technological impacts on vulnerable populations, York University announced a record $318 million investment in The Connected Minds initiative, promoting inclusive Artificial Intelligence.

York researchers are leaders in developing global water solutions through the UNITAR Global Water Academy and a newly organized research unit, OneWATER. The Disaster and Emergency Management program and CIFAL York, a knowledge exchange hub, together with York’s CITY institute, facilitate collaborative, interdisciplinary research that aims to address the complexity of urban development challenges and enhance sustainable city initiatives.

York University’s sustainability and diversity efforts have earned it recognition as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the 12th consecutive year and one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in 2024. York also maintains a strong presence in the QS World University Rankings, remaining in the top 400 globally.

THE Impact Rankings are a useful tool for measuring the contributions of universities worldwide in their attempts to address the UN’s goals. It’s great to see York University measure up so well.

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