McGill 13th most sustainable university in the world: QS rankings

High ranking is “both a celebration of the accomplishments we have made, and a source of inspiration to continue forging forward on the path towards a more sustainable McGill," says Francois Miller, Executive Director of Sustainability
Botanical Garden flowers
Ankur Katiyar, MBA student, Desautels Faculty of Management

McGill is the fifth most sustainable institution in North America, according to the second annual QS World University Rankings: Sustainability. Across the globe, the University is 13th among 1,403 institutions.

This is the second edition of QS’ sustainability ranking, which highlights institutions’ commitment to a more sustainable existence.

“Our position in the QS rankings reflects the University’s ongoing commitment to sustainability,” says Francois Miller, Executive Director of Sustainability. “It is both a celebration of the accomplishments we have made, and a source of inspiration to continue forging forward on the path towards a more sustainable McGill.”

Evaluated by three categories – environmental impact, social impact, and governance – key metrics include institutions’ academic reputation in earth and environmental sciences, their research impact on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the dissemination of their research.

McGill’s strengths include:

  • Its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.
  • Its 29 per cent reduction in overall carbon emissions between 2022 and 2015, including direct emission sources such as building energy and indirect emission sources such as commuting and University-related air travel for faculty, staff, and students.
  • McGill’s research impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations. The University’s research output is particularly strong on the topics of climate action (SDG # 13) and sustainable cities and communities (SDG #11).
  • For-credit sustainability courses and programs offered by the University. This includes course FSCI 198: Climate Crisis and Climate Actions, which started last fall in the Faculty of Science; the Bachelor of Arts and Science’s Interfaculty Program in Sustainability, Science and Society, offered by the Bieler School of the Environment in partnership with the Department of Geography; and the Master of Engineering: Sustainability in Engineering and Design, launched in Fall 2023 by the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED).

“The commitments set out in our Climate & Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025 have helped push the University forward,” says Karen Oberer, a Sustainability Officer in the Office of Sustainability. Impending projects, such as replacing a natural gas boiler on the downtown campus with two electric boilers in 2024, are expected to further reduce emissions.

Students and staff who wish to support sustainability at McGill can explore the McGill Rideshare and pursue certifications for sustainable events, workplaces and laboratories. They’re also encouraged to participate in upcoming consultations for McGill’s next Climate & Sustainability Strategy for 2025-2030.

“The next Strategy will reflect the needs of the McGill community, outline key objectives and actions to take, and express the University’s commitment to leadership in sustainability,” says Oberer. The Office has already conducted tabling at both campuses and developed working groups for content development. Additional consultation events will take place over the next 18 months and include an online vision board.

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Peter Reid
7 months ago

In the attempt to reduce the release of carbon in the use of cement I would bring to your attention the use of graphene. The development of graphene usage is being largely advanced by a Montreal company ,NanoXplore and as such is right at McGill’s doorstep.By inserting graphene into construction cement it is determined that the volume of cement needed for a given project is 25% less and far less rebar is required.