THE Impact Rankings 2020 by SDG: responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) methodology

April 17, 2020

Browse the full Impact Rankings 2020 results

This ranking focuses on the efficient use of resources and minimising waste. Universities must play their part in ensuring that their consumption is minimised, especially where resources are not renewable.

Please view the methodology for the Impact Rankings 2020 to find out how these data are used in the overall ranking. 


Research on responsible consumption and production (27%)

  • Proportion of papers in the top 10 per cent of journals as defined by Citescore (10%)
  • Field-weighted citation index of papers produced by the university (10%)
  • Number of publications (7%)

This focuses on research that is relevant to responsible consumption and production. The field-weighted citation index is a subject-normalised score of the citation performance of publications.

The data are provided by Elsevier’s Scopus dataset, based on a query of keywords associated with SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production). The dataset includes all indexed publications between 2014 and 2018. The data are normalised across the range using Z-scoring.

Operational measures (26.7%)

  • Policy on ethical sourcing of food and supplies (4.8%)
  • Policy on the appropriate disposal of hazardous waste (4.8%)
  • Policy to measure amount of waste sent to landfill and amount recycled (4.8%)
  • Policy on minimising the use of plastic (4.8%)
  • Policy on minimising the use of disposable items (4.8%)
  • Evidence that these policies also apply to outsourced services (1.35%)
  • Evidence that these policies also apply to outsourced suppliers (1.35%)

The data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The evidence was evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and is not normalised.

Proportion of recycled waste (27%)

  • Proportion of waste that is recycled (13.5%)
  • Proportion of waste that is not sent to landfill (13.5%)

The data were provided directly by universities and normalised across the range using Z-scoring.

Publication of a sustainability report (19.3%)

We asked whether the institution published a university sustainability report between 2017 and 2019 and whether this was a stand-alone document or part of a larger annual report. Publication of a sustainability report is a direct requirement of SDG 12 by the United Nations.

The evidence was provided directly by universities. It was evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and was not normalised.


When we ask about policies and initiatives, our metrics require universities to provide the evidence to support their claims. Evidence is evaluated against a set of criteria and decisions are cross validated where there is uncertainty. Evidence is not required to be exhaustive – we are looking for examples that demonstrate best practice at the institutions concerned.


Unless otherwise stated, the data used refer to the closest academic year to January to December 2018.


Universities must teach undergraduates and be validated by a recognised accreditation body to be included in the ranking.

Data collection

Institutions provide and sign off their institutional data for use in the rankings. On the rare occasions when a particular data point is not provided, we enter a value of zero.

Please Login or Register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments