THE University Impact Rankings 2019 by SDG: responsible consumption and production methodology

April 2, 2019

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.

View the methodology for the University Impact Rankings 2019 to find out how these data are used in the overall ranking.

Metrics

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). It includes all indexed publications between 2013 and 2017. The data are normalised across its range using z-scoring.

Operational measures (26.7%)

  • Policies on ethical sourcing of goods (4.9%)
  • Policies on the appropriate disposal of hazardous waste (4.9%)
  • Policies on minimising waste sent to landfill/maximising recycling (4.9%)
  • Policies on minimising the use of plastics (4.9%)
  • Policies on minimising the use of disposable items (4.9%)
  • Evidence that these policies also apply to outsourced services (1.1%)
  • Evidence that these policies also apply to outsourced suppliers (1.1%)

We asked for evidence of approaches to the sustainable use of resources and looked for evidence that these approaches are passed on to outsourced services and to suppliers.

This 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%)

This data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The data are normalised across its range using z-scoring.

Publication of a sustainability report (19.3%)

We asked whether the institution published a university sustainability report between 2016 and 2018 and whether this was a standalone document or part of a larger annual report. Publication of a sustainability report is a direct requirement of SDG 12 by the United Nations.

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

Evidence

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.

Timeframe

Unless otherwise stated, the data used refer to the closest academic year to January to December 2017.

Exclusions

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.

The methodology was developed in conjunction with our partners Vertigo Ventures and Elsevier, and after consultation and input from individual universities, academics, and sector groups.

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