LEAF - A Sustainable World Starts in the Lab
The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF), is an internationally recognised accreditation that aims to improve environmental outcomes and build a culture of sustainable practice in laboratories around the world. LEAF was developed by University College London and is hosted on an online platform.
LEAF is now used across 15 countries and growing fast, with over 95 institutions registered it has quickly become one of the largest green lab accreditations globally.
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. On December 1 2022, at the awards ceremony, 18 labs achieved LEAF accreditation, with 14 Bronze Awards and 4 Silver Awards. LEAF teams achieved significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions, water, laboratory expenses, as well as single-use plastics usage.
In 2023, Estate Management (EM) aims to expand LEAF even further by recruiting more laboratory groups from across UNSW faculties and achieving the first Australian Gold LEAF award.
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 throughout the program. Contact us via LEAFlabs@unsw.edu.au.
Current LEAF Awards status
- Burns Laboratory – School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
- Ferrari Laboratory - School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
- Lessio Laboratory – School of Chemistry
- Microfluidics Laboratory Group – School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
- Synbiote – School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
- Wich Lab – School of Chemical Engineering
- Children’s Cancer Institute – School of Clinical Medicine
- Cornsters Laboratory – School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
- G005 Teaching Prep Area – School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Lan Laboratory – School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
- Ground floor Teaching Labs 1-4 – School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Beves / Peeks Laboratory – School of Chemistry
- Field / Ball Laboratory – School of Chemistry
- Hunter Laboratory – School of Chemistry
- Synthetic Teaching Laboratory 262 – School of Chemistry
- RNA Institute – School of Chemistry
- Smart Materials and Surfaces Laboratory – School of Chemistry
- Decision Neuroscience Laboratory – School of Psychology
- Nanoporous Materials Laboratory – School of Materials Science and Engineering