UNSW Sustainable Development Goals Steering Committee

In line with our Strategic Priority for Social Impact, UNSW embedded the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all United Nations States in 2015, in its Strategy 2025 - under Theme 3, Sustainable Development:

Our 2025 Vision is to tackle real-world problems through partnerships that bring together our students, staff, alumni and the community, aligning our efforts with UNSW’s expertise and research strengths, Australia’s aspirations and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Division of EDI established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Steering Committee in 2020 to provide explicit accountability for developing, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating, and communicating the University’s engagement with the SDGs, as well as an annual working group to organise UNSW’s submission to the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. The THE Impact Rankings are the first global attempt to measure university progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Steering Committee serves as a forum to facilitate information sharing about SDG related activities across the UNSW community. Through information sharing, combined efforts and problem solving the group can support UNSW’s progress to achieving the goals by creating an SDG engaged university.


Professor Rita Henderson, Deputy Dean (Societal Impact & Translation), Faculty of Engineering, chairs the SDGs Steering Committee.  

The Steering Committee has undergraduate and postgraduate student representatives, who serve yearly terms. Membership includes representatives from all faculties and most divisions at UNSW, including UNSW Environmental Sustainability, colleagues from Centres and Institutes and subject matter experts. Additional attendees are invited to participate in specific meetings in line with the agenda focus.

The Division of EDI provides secretariat support and coordinates membership, contact: Rebecca Martin, Project Manager Sustainability Reporting.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Steering Committee meets quarterly, with discussion at each meeting focused on one of four pillars of UNSW’s engagement with SDGs: Education and Student Experience, Research and Enterprise, Operations, and External Leadership. The Steering Committee is a sub-committee of UNSW’s EDI Board, to which the Chair gives a quarterly update.

The Steering Committee oversees the pan-University coordination of engagement with the SDGs and more explicitly:

  • Provides a platform to discuss and develop the indicators used for monitoring the SDG targets in an open, inclusive and transparent manner, involving the main stakeholders.
  • Identifies and leverages the opportunities for alignment of the SDG principles into our existing policies, strategies and practices through an integrated approach.
  • Identifies and prioritises a marketing and communications strategy that promotes the SDGs and increases internal and external stakeholders' awareness of the SDGs.
  • Champions faculties collecting and collating information about SDG activities at the local level for upload to the Sustainability Matters web platform, Newsroom, and Inside UNSW.
  • Promotes internal and external partnerships and collaborative research to advance the SDGs.
  • Reviews current UNSW SDGs performance trends and discusses how to benchmark UNSW performance and practices with leading Australian and international peer organisations.
  • Provides guidance and input to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings Working Group as required in the lead up to the annual submission.
  • Makes recommendations back to faculties and divisions on the necessary actions to improve data quality and availability to improve performance in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings
  • Provides support to UNSW’s Environmental Sustainability Plan 2022-2024.

In support of these duties, the Steering Committee may form subcommittees, working groups and task groups as needed, for example the annual THE Impact Rankings Working Group and, where relevant, bring together additional specialised agencies and expert advisers.