QS Introduces Environmental Impact Rating
The Quacquarelli Symonds (or more popularly known as QS) Stars university rating system rates over 600 universities globally in three criteria – core criteria, specialist criteria and advanced criteria, which includes the new environmental impact rating.
The new category for the QS World University Rankings focuses on environmental impact & will aim to evaluate policy aspects such as sustainable investment, procurement, and donations and funding.
It will also examine individual staff members “dedicated to fostering sustainability or addressing climate change”, as well as the university’s climate action plan.
Operationally, it will finally focus on the consumption of each institution, including their water consumption and carbon footprint.
The decision comes after 94% of prospective international students wanted universities to be environmentally sustainable as per a survey.
As a result of Quacquarelli Symonds’s survey, Gen Z’s worries about climate change led to the institution adding the new rating in the rating system.
According to the survey, around 76% pointed to climate change as “one of their major societal concerns”, while 37% of the students ranked the highest among other options.
Leigh Kamolins, Head of Evaluation at Quacquarelli Symonds, highlighted the importance of the new parameter for institutions around the world, further adding that universities are pivotal in satisfying social changes like environmental impact, climate change and sustainability.
“QS is committed to shining a light on the work done by universities around the world to embrace sustainability and to address it, from an operational, educational and research perspective”, said Kamolins, in her official statement.
Ben Sowter, Research Director at Quacquarelli Symonds, stated that the parameter had been introduced to the QS Stars Rating system as a response to higher education institutions keen on measuring their environmental impact to an international standard while also meeting the requirements of the millions of students that engage with the institution.
Ben further added that a large number of universities have either already aligned themselves or are in the process of aligning themselves to the Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG, criteria, thus satisfying students’ stances on environmental sustainability as well.
Most students across the globe rely on QS World University Rankings to evaluate and shortlist the universities they want to study abroad in. With the addition of environment rating, it adds an additional layer to the ranking system. While this is not a wrong approach to shortlist and select universities, it is important to evaluate different factors and look beyond just rankings.
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