Sustainable UCL


LEAF - Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework

LEAF is a standard set by UCL to improve the sustainability and efficiency of laboratories. Join the 85 global institutions already taking part and help address the climate and ecological emergencies through your science.

What is LEAF?

Laboratory-based research is essential for advancing society but it is also extremely energy and resource intensive. It’s estimated that laboratories are responsible for around 2% of global plastic waste and use 3-10 times more energy per meter squared than a typical office.

By joining the LEAF programme, laboratories 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.

The LEAF programme comprises four elements:

  1. The Framework: An online tool that guides users through sustainability actions to save plastics, water, energy and other resources in their laboratory.
  2. Online calculators: To help measure financial and carbon impact. You can estimate how sustainable your lab is now and track improvements.
  3. Toolkit and Resources: From guides to sustainable lab equipment and consumables to induction and exit procedures. 
  4. User Engagement & Training: We offer each institution a tailored workshop to engage laboratory staff and students on sustainable science, and to introduce LEAF.

> Read about the impact of LEAF 
> Read LEAF FAQs

How to make your Lab more sustainable


Overview of LEAF Bronze, Silver and Gold Criteria

Take part in LEAF

Find out how the LEAF programme works and how to get involved.

Cut out of non haz lab posters

LEAF Resources and Materials

Look through our technical guides and other resources for a sustainable lab.

Photograph of Rupali and Clare


Got a question about LEAF? Find the answer here.

Green Impact 

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Green Impact is a UNESCO award-winning sustainability awards framework. Run by Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), it contains a set of frameworks for offices, residences, catering, and more. UCL employ Green Impact, alongside our LEAF programme. Green Impact and LEAF complement each other to ensure you are embedding sustainability into everything you do within and beyond the lab.

While doing both Green Impact Labs and LEAF is feasible, we recommend selecting a single programme for your lab spaces.

Email SOS-UK to get involved​ →