Sustainable UCL



Got a question about LEAF, find the answer here.

Can an individual lab sign up for LEAF?

LEAF works best when an institution signs up, then any lab from that institution can participate.

Is LEAF international?

LEAF is used across at least 15 countries and growing fast, with over 95 institutions registered it has quickly become the largest green lab certification globally.

Where can I see what which labs from my institution have signed-up?

If you’re already using LEAF, you can click “View Institution Structure” in the “Manage Lab” tab to see which labs from your institution have signed-up. If a new user, simple login for the first time and you will be met with a visual map of labs at your institution.

Which type of institution or lab is LEAF applicable to?

LEAF is only available for publicly funded institutions.

What support do LEAF users receive?

Administrators are given registration access to LEAF and are given a demonstration of the platform, typically lasting 30 minutes. Subsequently, lab users are offered a 1 hour workshop outlining why sustainability is relevant in science, a brief background to LEAF, what actions labs will be asked to take, and how the platform works. Technical assistance is offered throughout, as well as support on finding sustainability solutions. Throughout the year, workshops are provided on a variety of topics, including LEAF content, assessment, calculators, and implementation.

How long does a LEAF submission last for?

LEAF submissions are run annually. The LEAF platform will save answers, allowing laboratories to build on their efforts each year.

How much time does it take to implement LEAF for a lab?

This varies on the size of te lab, and how it is set up. LEAF has been designed to minimise administration, whilst maximising action. Surveyed labs have indicated that they may spend 1-10 hours in the first year, though this can vary. At an institutional level, LEAF has a tailoured platform which helps administrators manage a large number of labs at once.

Who should be managing LEAF at an institution?

This can vary depending on the institution, but successful LEAF managers are typically composed of technical or lab managers, sustainability leads, researchers, energy managers, and / or administrators.

How does LEAF comply with Health & Safety?

Safety for staff is paramount to operations, and LEAF takes into account safety requirements. Many LEAF criteria align perfectly with safety targets, e.g. keeping fume cupboard sashes lowered when not in use, or tracking chemical stocks.

How are LEAF submissions assessed?

LEAF provides tools to assess criteria, including a Criteria Assessment Guide, which provides an outline of what a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ would look like for each criteria. Institutions can organise assessments to be conducted either by their own administrators, or the peer-audit function in which laboratories can assess each other (with final approval from the administrators).

Once the submission is approved, then what?

LEAF produces a certificate for laboratories to access and print to acknowledge their efforts. Some universities organise Sustaianbility Award Ceremonies to reward their lab teams.

What’s next for LEAF?

We’re developing new features and content for LEAF constantly, and you’re welcome to input in this process. LEAF is a user-led initiative, and we look forward to hearing how we can improve.

How much does LEAF cost?

Institution research income p/a (for UK HESA reporting institutions)

Employee Count (for non-UK institutions)

Price p/a (excl. VAT)

Between £25,000,000 – £60,000,0002,000-3,000£2,000
Between £2,500,000 - £25,000,0001,000-2,000£1,600


Next steps


Two women in a lab doing an experiment

LEAF impact

Find out how the LEAF programme makes an impact. 

Cut out of non haz lab posters

LEAF Resources and Materials

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


LEAF in the media

See what others are saying about LEAF in the media.