New international sustainability ranking: The University of Freiburg ranks third nationwide

The University of Freiburg demonstrates convincing commitment to sustainability in strategy, research, education and knowledge transfer

The British company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has published the "QS World University Ranking: Sustainability 2023" for the first time. The ranking evaluates universities worldwide with regard to their sustainability work in research, teaching and society in an overall ranking as well as according to two categories: the "Social Impact" and the "Environmental Impact". In a nationwide comparison with 38 other universities, the University of Freiburg takes third place in the overall ranking. The University of Freiburg is particularly strong in the "Environmental Impact" category: in a national comparison, it ranks fourth. “Environmental Impact” measures the extent to which an institution incorporates environmental and sustainability aspects into its strategy, research and education. In the “Sustainable Education” metric, which accounts for 40 percent of the "Environmental Impact", the University of Freiburg ranks third in Germany. "Sustainable Education" takes into account, for example, the academic reputation in the environmental sciences, the existence of research facilities with a sustainability focus, and the possibility of obtaining a university degree with a climate and environmental focus.

The University of Freiburg scores high in knowledge transfer and research partnerships

In addition, the University of Freiburg ranks second nationwide in the “Knowledge Exchange” metric from the “Social Impact” category. The ranking thus attests to the University of Freiburg's great contribution to knowledge exchange and educational growth through strong partnerships in science and with business. The distinctive international research network of the University of Freiburg is also decisive for the evaluation.

In the overall ranking of the 700 universities considered worldwide, Freiburg is ranked between 221 and 240. The worldwide comparison also underscores the strength of the University of Freiburg in the "Knowledge Exchange" indicator: here it is ranked 73 out of 700.

QS-Ranking methodology

The “QS World University Ranking: Sustainability 2023” compares universities in two categories: environmental impact and social impact. The ranking is based, among other things, on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN) and takes into account the extent to which the institutions conduct research on these goals or contribute to achieving them.

In the Environmental Impact category, QS uses metrics such as university commitment to sustainability, reputation in the environmental sciences, presence of environmental research centers, available curricula on climate-related topics, and research on the Sustainable Development Goals. The Social Impact category, for example, assesses a university’s ability to secure the future of environmental, social, and human capital; its research in areas that affect the health and welfare of people and other living things; research partnerships with other countries and industry; and equity and gender relations in the university.

Data sources used by QS include reputation surveys, alumni surveys, bibliometric analysis on publications from the academic publisher Elsevier, and the Academic Freedom Index.

About the QS World University Ranking: Sustainability 2023


Dr. Michael Kolander
Contact person for Benchmarking, Performance Analysis and Rankings
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-95396

Franziska Becker
Office of University and Science Communications
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-54271