The responsible way in which Brunel University London researches, sources, uses and disposes of materials has resulted in its being ranked as the 15th best university in the world for delivering against the United Nations’ goal of Responsible Consumption & Production, according to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021.
The goal is SDG 12 – one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which together constitute a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Since being launched in 2019, the THE Impact Rankings show how research-intensive universities around the world are performing against the SDGs, and the social and environmental impact they achieve. Brunel has this year been placed in the 101–200 ranking category, out of more than 1,100 universities that entered.
Evidence submitted to demonstrate Brunel’s responsible consumption and production included:
- how food and supplies are ethically sourced, through a responsible procurement strategy
- how use of plastic is minimised through an updated environment policy, and through the research of the Partnership for Sustainable Food Future
- policies on reducing the waste sent to landfill, through elimination, reduction, reuse and recycling – and how the proportion of waste recycled has increased
- the tracked way in which hazardous and toxic materials are handled.
This strong showing reflects the importance of sustainability and responsibility to the University's plan – and of tackling global challenges, front and centre as part of the Brunel 2030 Research Strategy, which prioritises interdisciplinary research for the benefit of individuals, societies, economies and the planet.
And this progress so far is only part of the journey. Brunel’s academics and professional services staff are working together to collaborate, collect and disseminate information on SDG-related projects, such as:
- better water management through the use of water sub-metering on campus
- near-Zero energy: as part of ReCO2ST European research project, we hope to demonstrate how buildings can be renovated so that they use near-zero energy, and an academia–industry project funded by Horizon 2020 is resulting in a ‘retrofit kit’ to reduce energy consumption by 60–95% in renovated buildings
- the landscape management plan 2018–2023, which promotes sustainable cities, protects enhances the natural green infrastructure and various ecosystems, and protects species.
Prof Geoff Rodgers, Vice Provost for Research at Brunel, said: “I welcome this external recognition of the impact achieved by our research programmes, which are focussed on many of the most pressing challenges facing the planet, and are making a clear difference – and indeed of Brunel being an ever more environmentally sustainable and responsible institution."
Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
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