1 November 2023

First GOLD LEAF Certificate at ISIM

GOLD LEAF Certificate

Congratulations to Substrat og Steril Centralen (SSC) at the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, who are the first at the Department and in the Top 3 at the University of Copenhagen, who have just achieved GOLD in the LEAF certification program, thus contributing to reducing our CO2 footprint in the finest way

Screen with GOLD LEAF Certificat

Reducing our climate footprint

Laboratories play a key role in research and education in areas such as medicine, biology and chemistry, and they are indispensable for an academic institution such as the University of Copenhagen.

However, they also contribute to a significant climate footprint due to the high consumption of electricity, water, reagents and materials as well as the large amount of waste resulting from laboratory work.

The international certification program LEAF is a tool for reducing the climate footprint of laboratories without compromising the quality of research and education. Both SUND and SCIENCE use the tool to support the work of reducing UCPH's climate footprint by 50% by 2030 compared to 2018. UCPH's laboratories play an important role in achieving this goal, as laboratories make up more than 25% of the total climate footprint.

ISIM’s first Gold Team

Substrat og SterilCentralen (SSC) is located on the ground floor of the Maersk Tower and carries out, among other things, glass washing and sterilization of utensils, disposal of GMO 2 waste, and produces media and substrates for both teaching and research at ISIM and at Panum.

When the long-standing and experienced Head of Section at SSC, Ditlev Jan-Finn Ditlevsen, heard about the LEAF program at SUND, he had no doubt that it was something that Substrat og Steril Centralen (SSC) would like to contribute to in the daily work. Both the ISIM Leadership Team and SSC employees fully supported the green transition.

The LEAF criteria were reviewed one by one and small things were changed little by little. Bronze became Silver and after just over 8 months with focus on sustainability, the Gold certification was in place.

Working with the LEAF certifications

Now, the work continues, and all SSC employees have during the certification process become much more aware of and reflective on where and how to further optimize workflows to reduce the climate footprint.

"It shouldn't be difficult. We change small things step by step," Ditlev says about the process.

There has been and continues to be a lively discussion over the lunch table, but everyone in the section has surprisingly quickly embraced all the new initiatives, even if it was a little annoying at first.

The waste sorting is thorough, and they have phased out a lot of plastic. For example, a recycled lid has now replaced hundreds of plastic bags placed over a medium.

And Ditlev in particular even uses old playing cards, he buys used, for weighing instead of the small, black plastic boats.

SSC would also like to promote Freeshop at SUND, where the section is a frequent guest. In the parking lot under Panum is a small exchange station where you can, among other things, donate and adopt functioning equipment, metal utensils, glassware, plastic goods and IT accessories (mouse, keyboard, cables).

Read more here:

Just do it

"It is a positive and good experience to go through the LEAF certification," Ditlev thinks. "Both our closest colleagues and all the people we serve here at Panum are very open and curious."

Of course, there is a lot of work in living up to all 48 LEAF criteria towards the GOLD certificate. A lot of inspiration has been drawn from all the background articles available on the LEAF portal, and there is an ongoing dialogue with SUND's LEAF consultants.

"For example, when we have an audit with the LEAF people, we use their questions as reflection to optimize our processes," says Ditlev.

In addition, the Maersk Tower's modern infrastructure provides a good starting point in general, and close dialogue and collaboration with Campus Service are also essential, they say in Substrat og Steril Centralen.

"It has to be made simple, and then you just have to do it," says Ditlev Ditlevsen, who experiences an increased awareness from all employees of sustainability and green transition. And the LEAF program is a great opportunity to introduce more sustainable workflows in everyday life.


Ditlev Ditlevsen and his employees are happy to share their experiences with anyone interested.

You can find all the information about LEAF on SUND

Or contact the LEAF consultants here

Read more about SSC