LEAF at UNSW
In 2021, five laboratories in UNSW Science became the first in Australasia to receive LEAF accreditation as part of the UNSW LEAF pilot program. Following the success of the pilot, a University-wide rollout of LEAF took place in 2022. 22 laboratory groups joined the program with participants from across Engineering, Science, Medicine & Health, as well as the Children’s Cancer Institute and the RNA Institute. By the end of 2022,18 labs achieved LEAF accreditation, with 14 Bronze Awards and 4 Silver Awards.
In 2023 the UNSW LEAF program has grown again, with a record 52 registered teams. On Tuesday 21 November, 31 teams were recognised for their sustainability achievements at the annual LEAF Awards. 41 UNSW labs have now received LEAF accreditation, with 28 Bronze Awards, 12 Silver Awards and the first Gold Award in Australasia. LEAF teams achieved significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions, waste, water, laboratory expenses, as well as single-use plastics usage.
How does it work?
LEAF involves laboratory groups making small, achievable actions to cut down their environmental impact. These can include action on single-use plastic, reducing energy-intensive processes, better management of waste and saving water. To assist in achieving these actions, groups receive support from the EM Environmental Sustainability team.
When laboratory groups are ready, they can submit an accreditation request for an Institution Administrator to review and, if the group meets the award requirements, they will receive a certificate noting the accreditation level. Participating laboratories can progress through the levels from Bronze, through Silver to Gold, or directly apply to the level of their choice.
Using in-software emission calculators, LEAF produces comparable and quantifiable data on efficiency and sustainability. This enables baselines, targets and measures to be developed for each unique lab. Equipment and behaviour data is recorded in the calculators by team members before and after participation, allowing users to see the real-world impact of their hard work.
Where to start?
To take part in LEAF, simply:
- Register on the LEAF website
- Follow the instructions on the user guide to get started
Once you have registered, you will be supported by the UNSW Estate Management Environmental Sustainability team. You will also be added to the LEAF labs email list and receive regular updates on lab sustainability news and initiatives at UNSW. If you are unable to register for a LEAF team at this time, subscribe to the LEAF labs emailing list, by emailing LEAFlabs@unsw.edu.au.
Contact Liam Foster Constable (Laboratory Sustainability Coordinator) at email@example.com with any questions.