LEAF helps you identify practical steps to make your lab more sustainable. It is usually done in teams. You can spend as much or as little time as you like, but a good average is around 10 hours each academic year. Participants complete a set of criteria to reach Bronze, Silver or Gold standard in turn, and can estimate the carbon and financial savings their actions have achieved.
The scheme recognises all the great things you are already doing and provides a structure for planning your next steps. It covers equipment, space use, ventilation, procurement, waste, samples and chemicals.
LEAF encouraged me to create chemical lists and inventories for cold storage. This is working well now and makes me really happy! (Lab manager)
Working towards LEAF accreditation empowered me to raise and address sustainability issues in our lab. It was really helpful having the criteria as guidance. (DPhil student)
LEAF is as much about good lab management as it is about sustainability and thus fills a gap that has previously been overlooked. (PI)
You can opt to do LEAF independently or as part of our bigger Green Impact programme. Working on your LEAF accreditation will help you score points towards your Green Impact award. You can have one Green Impact team and multiple LEAF teams (usually one team per lab space) in your building.
Your achievements will be recognised and celebrated at the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Sustainability.
How to get started
- Register via the LEAF online system.
- Join an existing team – LEAF is managed locally in the lab, so you can simply join in.
- Start a new team – email us to request your LEAF User Guide.
- Decide with award level to aim for (Bronze, Silver or Gold) and work towards meeting the criteria.
- The LEAF programme runs yearly, the next submission deadline will be mid-May 2023.
- Peer-to-peer audits will take place in June 2023, either in person or virtually.
- Certificates will then be published in July 2023.
- The certification needs to be done annually to maintain the award level (or improve!)
Find out more
We are running a welcome session on 27 October, 11am which will introduce the LEAF scheme, finalise the timeline for this year and give practical tips on how to complete your submission.
Join our Sustainable Lab Leaders MS Teams group for further details.
Benefits of participating in LEAF
- Environmental sustainability accreditation through a nationally recognised scheme;
- Reduces utility costs and environmental footprint;
- Provides an opportunity for direct savings through our financial incentive schemes;
- Supports health and safety compliance within labs;
- Makes research more efficient;
- Improves chances of gaining additional research funding;
- Contributes to a bottom-up sustainability movement;
- Enables inter-lab and inter-departmental benchmarking;
- Gives recognition to individual labs and the University through a national scheme;
- Provides practical learning that improves professional skills and employability;
- Creates opportunities for students to volunteer as environmental auditors;
- Strengthens relationships between technicians, researchers, and other stakeholders;
- Aligns your lab with the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy.