UCL Research Domains


Sustainability and Net Zero

As climate change, resource depletion and biodiversity loss become critical the world faces an uncertain future. UCL researchers and academics are leading the way in global sustainability.

By building on our world leading research and disruptive thinking, UCL has ambitious commitments to drive positive action. This has resulted in our goal of being a net zero carbon institution by 2030. Furthermore, we have divested from fossil fuels, switched to 100% renewable energy and none of our waste is sent to landfill. 

These actions have resulted in UCL topping the University Carbon League table in January 2021

However we continually strive for more, we aim to act on our research, inspire others and show that change is possible. Find our more about sustainability and net zero at UCL below. 

Change Possible: The Strategy for a Sustainable UCL 2019-2024

The UCL Sustainability Strategy encourages and empowers all members of our community to do their part in co-creating a world where everyone can live together within the capacity of the planet. We will apply our pioneering spirit, working together across disciplines, to deliver on our commitments and make real world impact.

Our 2019-2024 sustainability strategy was developed with our community and celebrates and integrates the breadth of activity around environmental and social responsibility issues. We will use our research to inform the sustainable operation of a global university, see our estate as a test-bed for research and teaching, and inspire our community to be responsible citizens through thier education, our research impact and what they see on campus.

Find out more here.

Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework- LEAF

The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework, LEAF, is a standard for sustainable laboratory operations. LEAF contains actions which lab users can take to save plastics, water, energy and other resources. By taking part in the programme, laboratories will reduce their carbon emissions and create an environment that supports research quality. Laboratories are awarded either a Bronze, Silver or Gold level depending on how many sustainability actions they take. A key feature of LEAF is that it allows participants to estimate the impact of changes in financial and carbon terms with user-friendly calculators. 

LEAF is open to both staff and students working in laboratories, including research or teaching facilities across biology, chemistry and medicine.

Find out more and get involved here.

UCL and LGA launch net zero innovation programme

The Net Zero Innovation Programme will bring together partnerships of researchers and climate change officers from councils across all the regions in England for an initial period of 12 months.

It seeks to lead action at a local level to reduce carbon emissions, transition to net zero and ultimately improve the quality of life for local communities.

Find out more here.

UCL Grand Challenges

UCL Grand Challenges convenes and cultivates cross-disciplinary collaborations that explore interconnected solutions in six areas related to matters of pressing societal concern.
Since 2009, UCL Grand Challenges have changed the way researchers investigate the world's problems, facilitating hundreds of new connections between researchers from across the university, at all levels. Grand Challenges is an initiative of the UCL Vice-Provost (Research) which seeks to bring UCL’s academic expertise to bear on pressing societal challenges by integrating knowledge and evidence from across disciplines. 

Find out more here.

Green Champions

Currently UCL has over 150 Green Champions making UCL a sustainable and healthy place to work and study: Green Champions have catalysed new initiatives that are now being adopted across UCL, from vegetarian catering to paperless meetings and stair climbing competitions with Jeremy Bentham.

Get involved here.

Green Impact

Green Impact is a UCL-wide environmental competition and accreditation scheme that allows departments and divisions across the university to improve their environmental impact, support UCL's Sustainability Strategy and engage peers and colleagues with these essential issues.

Register online here.

The UCL Climate Hub

Now more than ever, the world looks to powerful research communities like UCL to lead the push for change, mobilising large, diverse groups of committed people, backed by excellent scholarship, to effect concrete impact in the world. 
As a community of staff, students, citizens and partners, UCL is addressing the climate challenge on multiple fronts; ranging from what we can achieve today, to pioneering future system change, and putting sustainability at the heart of our campus. 

We can all play our part. Get inspired by the extraordinary breadth of climate-focused activity taking place at UCL and find out how you can get involved.