Sustainability Matters

Improving futures for everyone

Sustainability: A critical UNSW priority


What are the SDGs?

In 2015 all UN member states unanimously adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forward as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Created as a set of interconnected priorities and aspirations, the SDGs and their 169 targets are a call to action on the world’s most pressing challenges, such as ending poverty and hunger, climate change, the reduction of inequalities and more.

What part is UNSW playing in this global effort?

Universities have a critical role in the achievement of the SDGs globally. Our unique position as creators and disseminators of knowledge and as key drivers of innovation, economic development, and societal wellbeing puts us in a position to lead and effect change.

With a proud history as a trailblazer in issues of social justice and social impact since its establishment, UNSW has been strengthening its commitment to the SDGs and to furthering our ambitions and efforts.

More recently we have participated in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Ranking, which measures universities’ achievements against the SDGs from its inception in 2019. We have engaged many members of the UNSW community and our stakeholders in this work.

We have recognised the need to raise awareness of the SDGs throughout the University, and to highlight how much we are already doing that contributes to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To that end, we have developed this website which consolidates the efforts across the University that embody the principles captured in the 17 SDGs.

THE 2022 overall top 60

In 2022, UNSW Sydney ranked 55th in the world out of 1,406 institutions in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, securing 10 top 100 and eight top 50 places.

See more results

Explore UNSW's contributions to the SDGs

SDG 1 No Poverty
SDG 2 Zero Hunger
SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being
SDG 4 Quality Education
SDG 5 Gender Equality
SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation
SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy
SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 13 Climate Action
SDG 14 Life Below Water
SDG 15 Life on Land
SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
UN SDG Icon 17 for Partnerships for the Goals
UN Sustainable Development Goals logo

UNSW Strategy in Action

UNSW is a leading global university, and one of our three strategic priorities is – Social Impact. 

Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is playing a leading role in advancing the SDGs across four university pillars – research, education and student experience, governance and operations and external leadership and engagement.

In EDI, we will collaborate and partner with the entire university to ensure that we:

  • have systems and processes to monitor and advance SDG targets as aligned to our 2025+ Strategy
  • assess our impact based on education and student experience, research, governance and operations, external leadership, and engagement
  • broaden and deepen SDG integration across the university, with our partners and stakeholders and be an anchor to benefit our community
  • celebrates and promote all activities that advance the SDGs

Reporting on the SDGs also provides a new and integrated way of demonstrating to our stakeholders what we do and why – our impact.  Our commitment to report on and advance the SDGs aligns with the University’s vision, our UNSW values in action, provides greater transparency regarding our global responsibility. 


Download the UNSW 2025 Strategy Update


Wheel showing UNSW 2025 Strategy strategic pillars

More information

The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings measure the progress of universities working to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). See how UNSW have performed in 2020 and 2021.