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The basics
Australia: Destination Guides

Australia's top green universities

Taking care of the planet is important to the people of Australia, including its universities. We take a look at those that are really making a difference.

Green Australia

Australia is one of the most naturally diverse countries in the world. It is also one of the countries that has already seen some natural disasters influenced by climate change. It’s for this reason that the country takes the environment and its sustainability very seriously. 


Universities take the lead on climate action


The Australian government has already done a lot to help deal with climate change and many Australian companies are also promising to make a difference. Of all the organisations trying to move towards a greener way of doing things in Australia, the universities there are some of the best. 


Students studying at these universities, or many of the others in Australia, will be pleased to know that where they are studying takes the environment seriously. 


These universities were rated highly in the ‘climate action’ and 'sustainable cities and communities' measures of The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings (THE). The 'climate action' measure mainly focuses on:   


“a university's research on climate change, their use of energy and their preparations for dealing with the consequences of climate change”.  


THE Impact Rankings are evaluated using the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Each university is judged by its performance against these goals, showing its commitment to creating a much greener future.  


Here are just a few of the greenest universities in Australia. 


Charles Sturt University 


THE Climate Action ranking: 2nd in Australia 


Charles Sturt University has five campuses across the country, all of them in great locations. Students here can go from the classroom to a beautiful part of the natural world in moments and are encouraged to protect the environment around them.  


The university has a lot to be proud of when it comes to sustainability. The biggest of these, is arguably their title as Australia’s first carbon neutral university. While many governments and institutions made promises to hit the goal of being carbon neutral by a certain year, Charles Sturt has already surpassed this and isn't stopping there. 


The university received special mention in the Green Gown Awards which aims to “recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges”. Charles Sturt won this award for continuous improvement as they constantly try to become greener in their way of working. 


University of the Sunshine Coast 


THE Climate Action ranking: 4th in Australia 


The University of the Sunshine Coast is located on the East Coast of Australia, in the Sunshine Coast region. Given its name for the natural beauty of that coastal region, it’s no wonder that the university wants to protect that part of the world, as well as the rest of the planet.  


Those at USC have made a great number of changes when it comes to operating more eco-consciously. These include small things, like offering free filtered water to all staff and students in order to encourage the use of reusable water bottles. However, there are also bigger movements towards sustainability taking place there.  


Their research into aquaculture/agriculture, forestry and sustainability overall is an example of this. The university wants to learn more about the country and planet around them as they understand that this is the best way to begin protecting it properly. 


Western Sydney University 


THE Climate Action ranking: 5th in Australia 


In the exciting and international-student friendly city of Sydney, you will find Western Sydney University. The university has a great deal to offer students with incredible courses, an exciting location and great weather. 


They also offer students the peace of mind that their university is helping lead the way in terms of sustainability and creating a greener future. Western’s approach towards helping the planet includes travel and transport. They have invested in electric vehicles on campus as well as offering EV charging points for students and staff. When it comes to international travel, the university looks to offset the carbon where they can. 


They don’t just stop there, their research into this field is extensive, including environmental health which is “seeking to manage risks to human and ecological health from chemical or biological toxicants.” 


Griffith University 


THE Climate Action ranking: 12th in Australia 


Griffith University is in the Gold Coast area, just a short journey from Brisbane. The university is popular among domestic and international students and has plans to grow in the coming years. 

The university’s plan for the future doesn’t just involve growth; it incorporates a more sustainable way of working. Griffith takes a very energy-focussed approach to their greener future, from the seemingly smallest changes to the biggest.  


Whether that’s changing over 30,000 light bulbs at the university to energy-efficient LEDs or already reaching their goal of having fifty per cent of campus energy being generated from sustainable sources, they truly are going above and beyond. 


Those at the university have also wasted no time in putting changes in place after making a promise to reduce their emissions. These are already down by fourteen per cent and continually dropping. 


University of Canberra 


THE Climate Action ranking: 15th in Australia 


Canberra is the capital of Australia and where much of the country’s pledges for a greener future have come from. It’s only natural then, for the University of Canberra to be one of the greenest universities in the country. 


The university “commits to the pursuit of the highest standards of environmental and energy sustainability, water conservation, physical accessibility, and sustainable and active modes of transport”. UC delves into almost every avenue of sustainability to see what they can do to improve things for Australia and the rest of the world. 




Staff and students there are expected to follow the university’s Environmental Sustainability Policy which has a clear vision for the future of the institutions. Some of the main focus areas for the UC are sustainable design and development in urban areas as well as conservation in rural ones, as they understand the importance of looking at the whole picture. 


If you’re a student who likes to live in an environmentally friendly way, it’s great to know that there are universities in Australia that share this with you and want to help you create a more sustainable world with them. 


Find out more about the top universities in Australia and see where you could study. 

Study in Australia


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