Heading: The rise of lab greening as a climate action – ‘Earth Day’ launch of Irish Green Labs

Subheading: Over 100 labs across Ireland pursuing green lab programmes and practices

A voluntary collective of lab professionals has formed an all-island network called Irish Green labs. Their shared ambition is to minimise the negative impact that laboratories on the island are known to be having on the environment.  All sectors of society are dependent on laboratory services. Similar to data centres, laboratories use constant and significant amounts of energy, additionally they contribute high volumes of waste in the form of single-use plastics and hazardous chemicals.

This evidence-based network of individuals, institutions and industries, created on the island of Ireland will be an open platform supporting green lab practices locally and globally, acting as a catalyst for the system level change that is essential for us to meet the challenges of mandatory carbon zero targets.

Following the Oireachtas approval of the national carbon budget on 6 April 2022, the breakdown of this budget into sectoral budgets is expected to be presented to Government by end June 2022.  The implementation of these legally binding targets by institutions will be crucial if targets are to be met, as public sector bodies will be required to reduce their absolute energy-related emissions by at least 51% by 2030.  With labs accounting for 30-50% of energy related emission in many institutions, they will have a major role to play in meeting decarbonisation targets in the Republic of Ireland.

(Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash)

Importantly, the Irish Green Labs initiative aligns with the UNFCCC’s ‘race-to-zero’ report, published by the 2021 UNFCCC champions Nigel Topping (UK) and Gonzalez Munoz (Chile). The champions recommended that “95% of labs across major pharma and med tech companies are My Green Lab certified at the green level by 2030” (https://racetozero.unfccc.int/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2020-Breakthroughs-Upgrading-our-sytems-together.pdf).

Current IGL member organisations include Atlantic Technological University, Foras na Mara (Marine Institute), HSE Public Analyst Laboratory (Dublin and Cork), NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast.  The initiative has also been endorsed by the Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine, Dementia Research Network Ireland, Educational Procurement Services, the HSE Estates Climate Action & Sustainability Office, Irish Doctors for the Environment, and Neuroscience Ireland.

For more information, contact info@irishgreenlabs.org.

Twitter: @irishgreenlabs.

Phone: Una FitzGerald, 087 2022013.