Labs in Antarctica and Cambridge Receive Sustainability Award

British Antarctic Survey

Scientific labs at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in their Cambridge headquarters and at Rothera Research Station in Antarctica have achieved a sustainability award from the Laboratory Sustainability Efficiency Assessment (LEAF) for taking action to reduce carbon emissions and laboratory waste.

LEAF Bronze Award for BAS 2021
LEAF Bronze Award for BAS 2021

The LEAF Framework assessed labs in Cambridge and the Bonner Lab at Rothera Research Station in Antarctica and awarded the Bronze standard. The framework audited the laboratory practice against criteria such as segregation of waste, sustainable procurement, and maintenance to ensure optimal equipment operation. The latest sustainability award for BAS is part of their ambition to reach net zero in their Cambridge headquarters and five Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations by 2030.

Elaine Fitzcharles, Senior Lab Manager and Micro Molecular Lab Suite Manager at British Antarctic Survey said:

“We’re delighted to achieve this sustainability standard by LEAF for our labs in Cambridge and at Rothera. The award aligns with our existing work on environmental sustainability, including reaching net zero carbon emissions, sustainable procurement, effective waste management, and Environmental Management System Targets (ISO14001).

This award is the start of a valuable step in our journey to embed sustainability in lab practises and we hope to achieve Silver and Gold awards in the near future. We are also targeting Bronze for our labs at King Edward Point, Bird Island and Signy Research Stations in the sub-Antarctic islands of South Georgia and South Orkney. We will continue to promote sustainable science and look at new ways we can reduce our environmental impact.”

The LEAF bronze assessment includes checking against 16 criteria, including inductions for new staff with sustainable practice, identifying lead for lab sustainability and ensuring equipment is turned off when not in use. The framework was developed by University College London and has now been adopted by over 23 universities and institutes across the UK.

The Bonner Laboratory at Rothera Research Station in Antarctica is an excellence centre for the study of terrestrial and marine biology, with state-of-the-art research facilities, an aquarium and dive facility. During the Antarctic summer research teams from British Antarctic Survey, UK universities and international partners use the facility. Laboratories at BAS Cambridge include specialist equipment to analyse Antarctic ice cores, storage for preserving Antarctic biological specimens and studying diversity of microorganisms.

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