New Zealand's Most Sustainable Universities 2024

Last updated: 2 January 2024 Study in New Zealand Sustainability

Sustainability refers to the practices of existing on the planet without harming the natural resources and preserving them for the future; it is necessary because it improves the quality of our lives, protects our ecosystems, and conserves natural resources for future generations.

New Zealand universities promote sustainability because they are a powerful source of global, national, and local innovation and economic growth. Implementing sustainability via renewable energy, green spaces, and water treatment improves the quality of life, protects ecosystems, and preserves natural resources for future generations. 

The QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 evaluates universities based on data from the QS World University Rankings, including information from surveys and research output related to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The ranking uses more than 75 data points, grouped into nine lenses, to rank institutions in three main categories: environmental impact, social impact, and governance.

Learn more about New Zealand's best universities for sustainability below. If you would like to begin your application to study in New Zealand, contact SI-NZ for a free consultation on your future.

new zealand sustainable university rankings

Top 10 New Zealand Universities for Sustainability

1. The University of Auckland

The University of Auckland is ranked first in Oceania and fifth in the world for sustainability in the QS 2024 World Rankings and 12th in the Global Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2023. Auckland pursues sustainability via research, teaching, learning, operating practices, and capacity building. The university practices sustainability in many ways, such as Net Zero Carbon, reducing energy consumption, minimising waste, saving water, and enhancing biodiversity. 

2. University of Otago

The University of Otago is among the top 50 universities in the world in the QS Sustainability Ranking 2024 and has also been ranked 10th globally for sustainable education. In addition, the university has incorporated several measures to promote sustainability, such as reducing greenhouse emissions, conserving water, and promoting sustainable transport. 

3. Massey University

Massey University has a strong commitment to tackling climate change and governance challenges. It ranks third in the nation and 87th globally in the QS Sustainability Ranking. The university has established a Sustainability Framework that outlines its commitment to sustainability and provides a roadmap for achieving its sustainability goals. 

To initiate sustainability practice, the university implements different methods, including reducing carbon emissions, promoting sustainable transport, reducing waste, and conserving water. The popular sustainability practices are Green Impact and Zero Waste Academy. 

4. Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington ranks 81st globally in the QS 2024 Sustainability Rankings. The university puts the principles of sustainability that we teach and research into practice. It minimises carbon emissions, energy use, transport, waste, and water. Victoria University of Wellington is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Not only that, but the university has also been nominated for The Earthshot Prize 2024.

5. University of Canterbury

In 2022, the University of Canterbury ranked first worldwide for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production, and it has also received awards based on its strategic vision, sustainability policy, and values that focus on research for sustainability, teaching and learning for sustainability, sustainable operation practices, and partnerships for sustainability. The practices performed by the University of Canterbury include minimising waste, conserving water, eating and drinking sustainably. 

6. University of Waikato

Ranking 99th globally in the QS 2024 rankings, the University of Waikato incorporates sustainable practices focusing on environmental management issues and corporate social responsibility. It has also ranked 36th globally for environmental impact and 27th for environmental education. 

The University of Waikato is committed to sustainability and has implemented various initiatives to achieve this goal. These include reducing waste and energy consumption on campus, promoting sustainable transportation options, and investing in renewable energy. In addition, the university also offers courses and research opportunities related to sustainability, focusing on finding innovative solutions to environmental challenges. 

6. Auckland University of Technology

The Auckland University of Technology is committed to achieving sustainability and addressing global challenges. It aims to nurture the culture of sustainability through learning, teaching, and research. The QS has awarded the university five stars for environmental impact, and the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2023 ranks AUT in the 64th position for commitment to gender equality and economic growth. 

Regarding initiatives, the Auckland University of Technology provides tools and resources to help implement sustainable practices and reduce waste within research laboratories. It aims to consolidate power, waste, and water consumption. 

7. Lincoln University

Lincoln University has achieved impressive sustainability credentials over the past few years. It has secured the top 400th position globally in the QS 2024 Sustainability Rankings. The university has also been rated 51st out of 956 universities worldwide in the UI Green Metric World University Rankings. 

The university has been practising sustainability by reducing energy and water consumption, promoting sustainable transportation, reducing waste and recycling, and promoting sustainable food practices. The future objective of Lincoln University is to drive down greenhouse emissions by 60 per cent from our baseline of 2009/10 by 2030 and rapidly develop a deliverable plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2040. 

Study in New Zealand

Are you interested in studying at a future-focused university in New Zealand that aims to impact and protect the environment? Arrange a free consultation with SI-New Zealand today to begin your academic journey.

Universities featured in this article:

  • Lincoln University
  • Massey University
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago
  • University of Waikato
  • Victoria University of Wellington
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