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12 June 2024

King's ranked in top 2% of global universities for social and environmental impact

King’s recognised in assessment against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2024 THE Impact Rankings

Guy's Campus with the Shard in the background, a King's sign and several trees.

King’s has been ranked in the top 2% of global universities and 6th in the UK in recognition of the University’s environmental and social impact. The University has also achieved first in the world for SDG 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production.

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are a set of 17 goals approved by the 193 member states of the UN which aim to transform the world by 2030. The 2024 Impact Rankings is the sixth edition and comprised 2,152 universities from 125 countries and regions.

King’s ranked in the top 40 globally in 7 SDG categories: Gender Equality (SDG 5), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), Climate Action (SDG 13) and Life on Land (SDG 15).

Professor Rachel Mills, Senior Vice President (Academic) and Executive Sponsor of the King’s Climate & Sustainability Initiative, said:

At King’s, we serve society by enabling change within our community and across the globe. We are proud that our efforts have been recognised by the 2024 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, where we are ranked as a top university for impact across the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is a testament to the dedication of our community of students, staff, alumni and partners, who share a determination to make the world a better place.

Professor Rachel Mills, Senior Vice President (Academic)

King’s position as the number one university in the world for SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, recognises the efforts made by the entire King’s community to make the University more sustainable and reflects the strength of our commitments on Sustainable Food, Socially Responsible Procurement and Waste & Resources Management.

Activities at King’s relevant to SDG 12 include:

  • The new Centre for Sustainable Business brings together researchers, industry, the public sector and civil society to provide insights into what businesses need to do to transition to socially and environmentally sustainable practices. Sustainable consumption is one of the research themes.
  • Academics in the King’s Business School Marketing research group are focusing on consumer ethics and loyalty, tackling paradoxes between consumerism and sustainability.
  • The new Net Zero Centre at King’s is supporting decarbonisation for society, including designing and developing processes and products to reduce and reuse waste and minimise environmental impact from new designs to retrofitting.
  • The University applies the waste hierarchy of 'Prevent, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recovery, Disposal', working with our procurement team and suppliers to prevent and reduce waste, and has adopted a zero waste to landfill policy.
  • King's Food initiatives aim to reduce food waste generated on campus, for which they received a Public Sector Catering Award in April 2024. Examples include a 50@50 scheme that sells food that is about to go out of date at a 50% discount 50 minutes before closing; food is placed on the Too Good To Go app to ensure it is not wasted at the end of the day; and a Love Your Leftovers campaign.
  • All staff are encouraged to consider using Warp It, a furniture re-use platform internal to King's before purchasing any new item of furniture.

Steve Large, Senior Vice President (Operations) and Executive Sponsor of the King's Climate & Sustainability Initiative, said:

We are delighted that King’s has been recognised as a globally leading university on SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production. This is an enormous achievement for our staff, students and partners who are working together to purchase and consume responsibly, reduce our waste and address impacts arising from food. But we want to go further and I’m excited to see what we can achieve through our increasing ambitions.

Steve Large, Senior Vice President (Operations)

King's is proud to support the worldwide effort to build a better future for people, planet and society. Through our education, research and commitment to serving society, we are supporting the ambitions of the UN SDGs.

Our community has identified five Impact Priorities to strengthen our collective impact on local, national, and global levels:

The One King’s Impact Fund will invest £1,000,000 over the next two years in transformative impact initiatives across research, education and service that align with these priorities.

Additionally, the King's Impact Changemakers Network will create deep-rooted connections across King’s students, academic and professional staff, alumni and external partner community to advance positive change, whilst the Impact Leaders Board is uniting public, private and third sector experts to guide our ambitions.

As a university committed to serving society and tackling its most pressing challenges, we are making a step change in our contribution to climate and sustainability. Informed by the SDGs, our Climate & Sustainability Action Plan sets out 14 key impact areas to guide the University’s approach to sustainability and climate change.

To build on King’s success in the area of SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, the King’s Climate & Sustainability team is planning a two-year behavioural change campaign focusing on waste, starting in autumn 2024. The aim is to double down on efforts to reduce single-use plastics and improve recycling rates on campus through an extensive series of communications, educational and informative events, working with both internal and external stakeholders to maximise impact and engagement.

King's staff are encouraged to apply for One King's Impact Fund, in collaboration with students, alumni and external partners.

Applications for One King’s Impact Fund close on 21 June 2024 at 12:00pm. To find out more and apply, visit