The Sustainable Lab Certification is a transparent, self-reporting tool developed by the Office of Sustainability to help lab users at McGill assess and improve the sustainability of their lab operations.
About the Sustainable Lab Certification
The Sustainable Lab Certification offers McGill's lab community concrete practices to reduce the environmental impacts of their work without compromising lab safety, financial efficiency, or teaching and research excellence.
The Certification enables lab users to assess their lab operations through eight categories of actions such as energy conservation, waste management and community-building.
For detailed information about the categories and how to tackle their related actions, consult the McGill Sustainable Labs Guide.
1. Community building
Actions that build and strengthen a culture of sustainability in your lab.
2. Waste management
Actions that reduce lab-generated waste and improve waste recycling in your lab.
3. Energy conservation
Actions that increase your lab’s energy efficiency, conserve energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Water conservation
Actions that conserve water in your lab and reduce the amount of water wasted.
5. Procurement and asset management
Actions that support the purchase of sustainable goods and services and minimize unnecessary consumption.
6. Green chemistry
Actions that reduce the use of harmful chemicals in your lab and promote the use of safer alternatives.
7. Animal research
Actions that reduce the environmental footprint of vivarium and improve animal and human health.
8. Travel and fieldwork
Actions to make travel and fieldwork more efficient and reduce its environmental impacts.
Labs receive a certification level derived from the percentage points earned for completed questions. The four levels of certification are Bronze (50-69% of points), Silver (70-79% of points), Gold (80-89% of points), and Platinum (90-100% of points).
Get the Sustainable Lab Certification
- Download the certification assessment. If you do not have an @mcgill.ca or affiliated email address, please contact labs.sustainability [at] mcgill.ca and we will send you the spreadsheet.
- Answer all the questions for Categories 1 to 5. If relevant to your lab work, you should also answer the questions for Categories 6, 7 and/or 8.
- Submit your completed Sustainable Lab Certification Assessment along with your team photo.
- Receive your certification!
Email labs.sustainability [at] mcgill.ca for any questions or to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Sustainable Lab Certification is an opportunity for all McGill lab users – from graduate students to principal investigators to lab managers – to compare their habits and knowledge with best practices for sustainable lab operations.
Completing the certification assessment provides a baseline to help lab teams identify where improvements are needed and track their progress over time. This can make it easier to determine what types of resources and support lab teams need from the University to meet their sustainability goals.
Additionally, the Sustainable Lab Certification serves as a point of entry for researchers looking to join a community of McGill lab users interested in sustainable practices.
The Sustainable Lab Certification is open to all labs at McGill University and its research institutes. All members of a lab are encouraged to participate in the process, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, principal investigators, lab managers, and research assistants.
Lab teams are welcome to complete the assessment as a group, for example, during a lab meeting. However, one person should be designated the Sustainable Lab Lead to ensure the assessment is properly completed and submitted, and to serve as a point of contact with the Office of Sustainability.
A Sustainable Lab Certification is valid for two years. During this time, Sustainable Lab Leads should help ensure their team continues to follow the practices documented in their assessment. It is recommended to review existing sustainability standards with new and returning lab members at the beginning of each academic year.
After two years, labs must submit an updated assessment and team photo to maintain their certification.
In addition to submitting an updated assessment every two years to maintain their certification, labs can attempt to boost their certification level once every six months. The purpose of this delay is to give teams sufficient time to implement changes and allow them to become habits.
If you want to go further in greening your lab, we recommend My Green Lab certification. My Green Lab® is an internationally recognised certification program for labs in academic, industry, clinical and government institutions.
My Green Lab certification would be especially valuable for well-resourced labs with a lab manager or other support to manage the certification process. For costs and other information, please contact labs.sustainability [at] mcgill.ca.
You can also read about six McGill labs certified by My Green Lab in 2023.