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Awards and recognition

SFU ranked No. 1 in Canada on climate action, sustainable cities in 2024 Impact rankings

June 21, 2024

Simon Fraser University has been recognized as a world leader on climate action and sustainable cities and communities, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) 2024 Impact Rankings.

The annual rankings, released today, assess universities’ strengths in advancing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs). SFU placed third worldwide on climate action and sustainable cities and communities and is No. 1 in Canada for both categories. 

Overall, SFU is among the world’s top 20 universities in terms of its impact, placing 17th among 2,150 universities. SFU also placed highly for its action on peace, justice and strong institutions (22nd overall) and partnerships for the goals (57).

"Year after year, SFU has established ourselves as a leading research university in the areas of climate action and sustainability, not just in Canada, but in the world," says SFU president Joy Johnson. "As students, faculty and staff continue to engage in critical global challenges, we are more committed than ever to advancing a more inclusive and sustainable future for everyone."

“At SFU, our community partnerships at the local, national and international level are key to mobilizing our research impact,” adds Dugan O’Neil, vice-president research and innovation.  

“Grounding the good work we have done over the past several decades within the wider framework of the UN SDGs ensures that our scholars can engage in research that matters to them, and makes a positive difference in the world.”

In addition to SFU’s ongoing research and climate action initiatives, students continue to benefit from related programs including resource and environmental management, environmental science, sustainable business development and the new Climate Action Certificate program launched by SFU Continuing Studies last summer.

SFU remains well-equipped to achieve its sustainability and climate action goals and priorities through the renewed 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, and continues to develop meaningful initiatives and partnerships along the way. 

Last year, SFU partnered with Aga Khan University (AKU) on the Arusha Climate and Environmental Research Centre (AKU-ACER), which will provide opportunities for research partnerships on community-centred climate innovation between the two institutions. 

Earlier this year, SFU announced the launch of the Clean Hydrogen Hub, which will help B.C. and Canada become world leaders in the production of clean hydrogen products and technologies, while reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs in the hydrogen sector.

SFU is among universities committed to the UN-backed Race To Zero campaign, dedicated to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and its Board of Governors formally declared a global climate emergency in 2022. The university also remains committed to fully divesting from fossil fuels by 2025.

In its 2024 World University Rankings, Times Higher Education ranks SFU tied for 11th in Canada. SFU is one of the top 251-300 universities in the world. 

SFU’s latest THE impact rankings follow top placements in the last week’s World University Rankings for Innovation, which for the fourth consecutive year ranked SFU as number one in Canada for overall innovation.

In October, SFU retained the top spot as Canada’s top comprehensive university in Maclean’s annual rankings, which it has held for 15 of the last 16 years.