Rankings, ratings, and assessment (RRA) organizations have significant influence - and thus significant responsibility - to guide the academic sector. As we approach the threshold of irreversible climate change, many of these have recognized the need to change their criteria for assessment of the performance of higher education institutions to include contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Numerous initiatives aimed either at improving current standards or creating new ones have emerged.
Given the scale of the issues and the deadlines involved, this is likely a paradigm shift rather than merely improvement on the surface. However, as with any paradigm shift, it is never easy to have a clear idea of what to do and what pitfalls to avoid.
HESI therefore tasked a multi-stakeholder working group of sustainability experts/practitioners with creating advice that would guide these assessments to best practice.
Leading RRA organizations who have committed to these guidelines in the lead-up to the 2021 High-Level Political Forum include:
The Association for the Advancement of Higher Education;
The Financial Times;
Round University Ranking;
Times Higher Education; and
Since then, other organizations have committed to these guidelines, including Elsevier, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and the Positive Impact Ranking.