5 May 23

Science Creates pilots the UCL LEAF programme for commercial businesses to improve the sustainability of its laboratories


Science Creates is one of the small number of businesses selected to take part in UCL’s LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) programme for commercial businesses to improve the sustainability and efficiency of laboratories. The LEAF programme offers online tools that guide users through sustainability actions to save plastics, water, energy and other resources in their laboratory, including calculators to help measure financial and carbon impact, as well as guides and a tailored workshop to educate laboratory staff on sustainable science.

LEAF aligns perfectly with Science Creates’ mission to progress innovations that have a positive impact on the environment, healthcare and quality of life. Core to this is the drive to reduce our impact on the planet while increasing our impact on technologies that benefit the planet. The startups within our ecosystem offer a wealth of expertise and knowledge to draw from, and collectively, we are working towards reducing our carbon emissions and creating an environment that supports research quality at the same time.

Invivo Healthcare’s Business Analyst and Sustainability Lead, Katharina Child chairs our internal Sustainability Working Group, supported by our Laboratory and Sustainability Manager, Holly Fisher. Since the group started in April 2022, over 65% of the Science Creates members who rent our laboratory spaces are participating in this group. These include  Anaphite, Carbometrics, CytoSeek, Extracellular, FluoretiQ, Folium Science, Glaia, Imophoron, Invivo HealthcareKelpi, Rosa Biotech, Scarlet Therapeutics, STL, WASEand Zentraxa. The team meets regularly to review individual and group usage of energy, waste, water, plastic and green chemistry. We also look at business travel, commuter travel, our carbon footprint and supply chain carbon footprint.

Katharina says “We are well aware of the impact our practices have on the environment and feel we have a responsibility to review and modify our business operations to make them more sustainable. Invivo has already achieved B Corp status and these group sessions are hugely beneficial to our team as we get to meet like-minded individuals from all walks of science, share ideas and help each other work towards a more sustainable future.”

A number of initiatives have already been implemented within the Science Creates’ incubators such as a traffic light system that helps staff identify which pieces of kit within the labs can be turned off after use. Our community shared freezer temperature has been changed from -80C to -70C and the air flow within our laboratories goes to eco mode overnight where possible. We have replaced our old exterior lighting with new LED bulbs, added compost bins where our community food waste will go towards fertilising our site grounds and installed tap aerators around the buildings to reduce water usage. Our decontaminated laboratory plastics are now recycled by RecycleLabs, a new startup who we have partnered with to pilot new projects and ideas. 

Nearly a year on since the sustainability programme was launched, the Science Creates ecosystem has saved more than 8,410kWh of electricity, the equivalent to running two UK average households for a whole year. We’ve saved more than 700kg of waste going to landfill, and cut down water usage by ~25%.

Holly says “These stats are encouraging and show that we’re making a difference. The support and expertise offered by the LEAF programme has contributed to these improvements and also helped me think about how I can make positive changes outside of the workplace. As we progress from Bronze to Gold, I will be using this framework to reduce our energy usage, waste production and water usage within the lab spaces, sharing these learnings with the group and wider world as I go. This is just the start of our sustainability journey – watch this space.”

Find out more about UCL’s LEAF certification programme here. If you’d like to find out more about Science Creates’ sustainability journey, or would like to share best-practices with the group, contact Holly Fisher. We’d love to hear from you. 

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Science Creates Ventures LLP “trading as SCVC” (FRN: 933134) is an Appointed Representative of Kin Capital Partners LLP “KCP”, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 656789).