A male and female Swansea University student in chemistry laboratory

Sustainable Labs Initiative

Academics at Swansea University have been embracing sustainability when it comes to their work.

As a research-intensive university, Swansea has a significant number of highly specialised laboratories and workshops which rely on energy, materials and equipment and generate a wide range of waste.

To reduce their environmental impact, more than 150 staff working in laboratories in the College of Engineering, College of Science and the Medical School joined the LEAF initiative alongside other leading institutions including Oxford and Cambridge universities and the Francis Crick Institute.

LEAF was created by Martin Farley at University College London as a new tool to help researchers, staff and students improve the sustainability and efficiency of teaching and research labs. 

After their second year using the tool, 17 of Swansea’s labs have achieved a bronze standard with one gaining silver after making a series of changes to how staff work.

The tool allows users to be innovative, to develop and implement their own approach and then share findings and best practice. For example, there has been a significant reduction in costs and C02 in the chemistry teaching labs simply by closing the fume hoods more.

Swansea University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle said: “It is fantastic to see the progress that our University is making in such an important area, thanks to the efforts of so many staff across our institution. These are achievements in which both our staff and our students can take great pride.”

The University is currently ranked 9th in the UK in Guardian-published People and Planet University League and Professor Boyle said it remained eager to do more to achieve greater sustainability and resource efficiency.

He said: “We are building on this excellent work by developing an ambitious Sustainability Strategy that will shape the University for the next five years and help us move towards achieving our ultimate aim of being a carbon neutral institution by 2040.”

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