LEAF: Join the sustainable lab movement

28 Feb 2024
LEAF lab

The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework program is back for 2024 to improve environmental sustainability and efficiency in your laboratory or workshop. 

The UNSW Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) program runs from March to December, with registrations open now.

LEAF logo


LEAF is an internationally recognised green lab accreditation that aims to improve environmental outcomes and build a culture of sustainable practice in laboratories. LEAF is used in more than 95 institutions across 15 countries.


The UNSW LEAF program began in 2021, and 2023 was the most successful year yet. A record 52 teams registered from across Engineering, Science, Medicine & Health, as well as UNSW partners like the Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF). 

UNSW labs have received a total of 42 Bronze Awards, 13 Silver Awards and the first Gold Award in Australasia. The combined effort of these laboratory teams has achieved significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions, waste generation, water consumption, laboratory expenses, and single-use plastics, an impact recognised at last years’ national Green Gown Awards.

With momentum growing, the Estate Management (EM) Environmental Sustainability team has set its sights on an ambitious goal to have 50 per cent of UNSW laboratory spaces accredited by the end of 2024. 

How does it work?

Once registered, teams gain access to an online platform where they work through a list of achievable actions to reduce the environmental impact of their lab by tackling areas such as single-use plastics, resource-intensive processes and waste management. LEAF teams receive ongoing support from the EM Environmental Sustainability team, with sustainability resources, training workshops, one-on-one coaching and up to $1000 in funding through the LEAF lab grants initiative

Using in-software emission calculators, LEAF teams can input equipment and behaviour data to see the real-world impact of their hard work.

New laboratory teams are recommended to start with the Bronze award criteria and then progress through Silver and Gold levels at their desired pace. Once teams have completed award requirements, they receive a certificate for their accreditation level at an end-of-year LEAF awards celebration. 

Who can participate in LEAF?

Anyone working in any type of laboratory or workshop at UNSW can organise a team to take part in LEAF. Your team can encompass a research group within a laboratory, a whole laboratory or a group of laboratories. If your lab is affiliated with UNSW in any way, you can register a team. The only requirement is a UNSW zID number. 

How to register

If you would like to join the movement and help improve the sustainability and efficiency of your laboratory, register using your UNSW email address or visit LEAF at UNSW

For more information contact LEAFlabs@unsw.edu.au.