We're leading the world in Clean Water and amongst the very best in Europe for Climate Action and Zero Hunger
We are thrilled to have been ranked 18th in the world in the latest THE Impact Rankings 2023
The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals which provide a shared blueprint for sustainable development and a sustainable future, which set out targets to end poverty, protect the planet, and achieve prosperity for all by 2030.
At the University of Exeter, we’re committed using the power of our education and research to create a greener, healthier and fairer future for all. An integral part of this work is our commitment to the UN’s SDGs. Our strategic vision ensures they are embedded in everything we do to make an impact in the world.
The THE Impact Rankings are the first, and only, global performance tables that assess higher education institutions against all 17 SDGs.
In 2023 we have been ranked as a leader in the following SDGs:
- 1st globally for Clean Water and Sanitation
- 1st in Europe for Climate Action
- 1st in the UK and 2nd in Europe for Zero Hunger
- 3rd in UK for No Poverty
- 4th in the UK for Affordable and Clean Energy
These results show our progress towards our goals which are to:
- Lead meaningful action against the climate emergency and ecological crisis.
- Make key breakthroughs to transform human health and wellbeing.
- Lead progress towards creating a fair, socially just and inclusive society.
Discover our work.
Clean Water and Sanitation »
Ranked 1st globally, SDG6 aims to ensure universal access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all by 2030. Through a combination of partnerships, progressive policies, rigorous management systems, and research, we are proud to be leading global progress towards SDG6 and helping achieve our aim of making the world healthier.
Climate Action »
Ranked 8th globally and 1st in Europe for our progress towards achieving SDG 13 (Climate Action), we are proud to have been recognised for our leading research partnerships and collaborations, white papers, reports, trainings, and Exeter’s Net Zero by 2030 plan. Our contributions have identified real opportunities to combat climate change and its impacts.
Zero Hunger »
Ranked 11th globally and 2nd in Europe, SDG2 is about creating a world free of hunger by 2030. In 2020, between 720 million and 811 million persons worldwide were suffering from hunger, roughly 161 million more than in 2019. We are working hard to provide interventions to target hunger among our students and staff and promote sustainable food choices across our campuses.
Our approach to the Sustainable Development Goals
The University of Exeter signed the Sustainable Development Goals Accord in 2019, committing to report on the SDGs on an annual basis and embedding the SDGs in everything that we do from our curriculum and research, to wider activities at the University. This is illustrated by our conception and leadership of Future17, the Sustainable Development Goals Challenge Programme. In association with QS, we are bringing together students from across all six continents to work alongside global organisations in virtual groups to develop solutions to help meet the UN’s SDGs.
Alongside being recognised as the global leader in our work towards delivering SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) we are in the world's top 40 universities across seven more of the UN's SDGs:
SDG12 – Responsible Consumption and Production – Ranked 12
Aim: Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, which is key to sustaining the livelihoods of current and future generations.
The University has a responsible procurement policy which focuses on buying locally and supporting Fairtrade and UK producers. We have partnered with Net Positives to gain a comprehensive understating of our supply chain’s journey to achieve carbon Net Zero.
SDG15: Life on Land – Ranked 16
Aim: To conserve life on land, protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and stop biodiversity loss.
Our Biodiversity Strategy represents a continuing commitment, by the University, to preserve existing important habitats and, where the opportunity arises, create new sustainable habitats. Our Streatham Campus is a registered botanical garden with important landscape and habitat value.
SDG14: Life Below Water – Ranked 19
Aim: Conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources. Healthy oceans and seas are essential to human existence and life on Earth.
As an organisation we are renowned for world-leading research in the fields of plastics additives and marine plastic pollution and microplastics. Our research led to the ban of microbeads in cosmetics in the UK.
SDG17: Partnership for the Goals – Ranked 27
Aim: Revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development.
We have forged partnerships across government, NGOs and charities to protect our natural world. Our marine research has successfully helped to create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across the globe including the Ivory Coast’s first MPA. Our partners include the MET Office and the National Trust.
SDG1: No Poverty – Ranked 30
Aim: To end poverty in all its forms everywhere.
With just over 10% of our students receiving financial aid due to low income, the University has a range of rigorous anti-poverty programmes in place to support not only our students but also the wider community through business support, research and training.
SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – Ranked 35
Aim: Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
We’re working with the government on national policy on the active promotion of freedom of speech within the law. We’re committed to ensuring that our students and staff can discuss and debate ideas freely, and to this end, members of the Guild and SU student unions are represented on the university council.
SDG10: Reduced Inequalities – Ranked 36
Aim: Reducing inequalities and ensuring no one is left behind.
A diverse community is an essential part of our core values. We are committed to a policy of equality of opportunity and aim to provide a working, learning and social environment that is free from discrimination.