LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) is a sector-wide framework containing a set of criteria aimed at improving the sustainability and efficiency of research and teaching laboratory spaces. Such spaces include typical wet laboratories, science teaching spaces, and IT research laboratories.

Teams taking part work to improve the environmental performance of their laboratory throughout the year. This is done by working through clear and easy to implement environmental actions in the LEAF platform, categorised into Bronze, Silver and, Gold.

Crucially, LEAF seeks to produce comparable data on efficiency and sustainability, through the use of in-tool calculators, thus allowing quantifiable baselines, targets, and measures to be developed. Calculators are completed by team members before and after participating.

The LEAF certification year runs from January to December each year, including audit and approval time. Certificates issued will include the year in which the award was achieved. Re-certification could be sought on a yearly, two-yearly or three-yearly basis depending upon the needs of the lab.

LEAF focuses solely on actions you can take in laboratory locations. We encourage individuals also based in an office to take part in our Team Actions programme.

How to get involved?

Teams are organised by themselves and can be based in laboratories or workshops and anyone can initiate and lead a team. LEAF teams can cover a research group within a lab, a whole lab or a group of labs.

Once you have registered you will be supported by the Environmental Sustainability Team throughout the year.

To take part in LEAF, simply:

  1. Register on the LEAF website.
  2. Follow the instructions on the user guide to get started.

You will automatically be added to a Microsoft Teams site for lab sustainability. If you do not want to be added, please contact the Environmental Sustainability Team.

Once you have signed up you can get started with the actions. Arrange an initial meeting with all of your team members, have a look at the criteria and decide how you want to tackle it throughout the year.

If you believe your area is missing on the structure within LEAF and would like for it to be added, please contact the Environmental Sustainability Team.

How does the scoring work?

To gain the various award levels you will need to complete all of the actions within each award category i.e. for a Gold award your team will need to complete and provide evidence for all of the Bronze and Silver criteria too.

If you believe that some criteria are not applicable to your lab, please contact the Environmental Sustainability Team.

Submitting LEAF

You can submit your assessment via the online tool anytime until the first week of November within a calendar year for review and certification that year.

All criteria completed are retained in the online system and will roll over to the next assessment year, making it easy for you to review this in future and edit and expand upon as appropriate. The completed criteria are time-stamped, so review and ensure they are up-to-date each year.

Even if you only partially complete an assessment one year, the criteria you have completed will be saved in the online system and roll over to the next calendar year allowing you to continuing working through the assessment for completion in the following year.

Audit & Award

Following submission, your assessment will be reviewed and a lab audit arranged to confirm relevant practices are in place. You will receive an email notifying you of the outcome. If your award is approved a LEAF Award Logo will appear within the online tool and you will be able to download your Award Certificate from there to share on social media or display in your lab.

Mailing list

To receive the latest information and events for LEAF you can sign up to the mailing list.


The Sustainable Labs Teams Channel provides a collaboration space for documents, information, and ideas. This is the preferred place to exchange ideas and share information. Please follow the link or contact the Environmental Sustainability Team to gain access.


A SharePoint site is a website that provides a central storage and collaboration space for documents, information, and ideas. The Sustainable Labs SharePoint contains resources and information from other teams that can be used to guide and inspire your work