A hand reaches into a pile of small plastic pieces, that are about to be sorted and recycled. 
The University of Plymouth has been named among the top universities worldwide for its commitments to sustainability and its work to influence sustainable policies and action.
The 2024 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, published today, are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Overall, the rankings – which have expanded significantly in 2024 – continue to place the University within the top 10% of almost 2,000 universities globally.
In relation to SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production, the University was listed 6th out of 825 universities worldwide. This is in recognition of a long-held commitment to sustainability which has seen it influence local and global policies linked to the circular economy, while significantly advancing resource usage on its own campuses.
The University also placed 17th out of 628 universities worldwide – and 4th in the UK – in relation to SDG14: Life Below Water. This highlights its world-leading marine and aquatic research, as well as innovative teaching and facilities that are benefitting the highest number of students on marine courses of any UK university.
Elsewhere, the University was ranked 3rd in the UK and 38th worldwide in relation to SDG2: Zero Hunger, highlighting its efforts to address food waste and its research into food motivations and sustainable agriculture.

These rankings demonstrate the University is continuing to have positive global impact, and are achievements of which everyone at the University can be proud. Over many years, we have made a concerted effort to minimise our environmental impact, and our staff, students and partners have enabled us to deliver on that. Through our world-leading research in areas from plastic pollution to marine conversation and soil health, we have also been able to inspire organisations and individuals right around the world to take their own actions.

Judith Petts DBEJudith Petts DBE

This is the latest acknowledgement of the University’s sustainability expertise and achievements, and the third time it has been ranked in the global top 10 among elements of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.
It recently retained its PAS 2060 verification, having been independently certified carbon neutral for the second time, and in 2023 it won its 7th Green Gown Award.
Its continued work to embed sustainability excellence in all areas of the University has also been recognised through the awarding of triple gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework, while 78% of its research was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.
SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production graphic
6th in the world
SDG 14: Life below water graphic
17th in the world
SDG 2: Zero hunger graphic
3rd in the UK

Sustainability: on the path to net zero 

The University is recognised as an innovative leader in higher education for sustainability, across teaching and learning, research and our University operations. We have three main goals:
  • to have a sustainable campus
  • to enable learning about sustainability and to pioneer research solutions to the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges
  • to motivate the next generation of students to go out and tackle the sustainability challenges they'll find in their workplaces.
Drakes Place