Themes / Sustainability


Sustainability has always been a major focus of attention in the laboratory. In a laboratory, sustainability is reflected in the careful handling of materials, the precise adherence to work instructions and procedures, keeping the work environment clean and the general attitude to work and the environment. What is different than before, however, is the integral approach to sustainability and the measurement of the extent to which work is done sustainably. These two changes reinforce each other and cause some complexity in greening the laboratory.

Increasing sustainability in the laboratory involves several stakeholders, each of whom can individually or together positively influence sustainability. Apart from influencing their own processes, these developments also offer plenty of opportunities for the laboratory sector given the current importance of circularity and the consequences for our living environment.

Customer Requirements

Customer influence on laboratory sustainability issues has grown. Customers attach increasing importance to environmental awareness. Customers, including research institutions, governments and corporations are making demands on laboratories to embrace sustainable approaches. This includes a desire for environmentally friendly products, energy-efficient equipment and processes, as well as adherence to strict environmental requirements. Customers can enforce sustainable procurement practices, which encourages laboratories to explore green technologies and reduce their carbon footprint. Waste management becomes a priority, with clients expecting laboratories to strive for waste minimization and effective recycling. Adoption of green technologies, such as renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly chemicals, is encouraged.

All in all, customers can encourage laboratories to integrate sustainability into their daily operations not only as an ethical imperative but also as a strategy to gain competitive advantage in a market where sustainability represents a growing value. 


Laboratory suppliers have a significant influence on sustainability in he laboratory. Instrument suppliers largely determine which technologies and materials are used in the production of their instruments. Suppliers of chemicals and supplies can offer sustainable alternatives to traditional chemicals, such as environmentally friendly solvents and green reagents. 

By investing in the development of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly products, suppliers can help laboratories reduce their carbon footprint. In addition, suppliers can promote sustainability by providing information about the origin and impact of their products. Transparency and the ability to recycle helps laboratories make conscious choices when selecting and using chemicals and instruments. Laboratories also have the opportunity to promote and even require sustainability standards. Setting environmental certification requirements can encourage suppliers to introduce sustainable practices and align their processes with established sustainability standards.

ICT vendors provide efficient integrated laboratory systems that reduce the need for paper documentation. The implementation of data analytics and optimization algorithms in laboratories leads to more efficient use of resources and optimization of processes. In addition, the increasing reliance on data-intensive technologies, such as cloud computing and big data analytics, increases the demand for energy-efficient and sustainable data center infrastructure. The use of green data centers, which use renewable energy sources and energy-efficient cooling systems lowers the integral footprint of laboratories. 


Governments play a role in making laboratories more sustainable through regulations, policies and incentives. Environmental standards and legislation force laboratories to meet specific standards, such as reducing waste, minimizing environmental pollution and promoting safe disposal of chemicals. In addition, governments can encourage sustainability through financial incentives, tax breaks and subsidies for laboratories that adopt green technologies.

Education and awareness are also tools that governments can use. By educating laboratories and making them aware of the environmental impact of their activities, governments promote an environmentally conscious culture within the laboratory community. Implementing sustainability standards in procurement and government projects can also have a significant impact. Laboratories involved in government procurement are encouraged to integrate sustainability practices into their practices in order to qualify for such projects.

In addition to governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) also have significant influence through advocacy, awareness raising and guideline development. They can exert pressure to embrace environmentally friendly practices through lobbying and campaigns. NGOs also influence public opinion. These social pressures can encourage laboratories to proactively pursue sustainability initiatives and demonstrate transparency about their efforts.

Measurement Standards

The development of measurement standards for sustainability in laboratories is in its infancy, but is extremely important for establishing guidelines and measurable criteria. Organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are developing standards that address environmental management, energy efficiency and sustainability in laboratories. These standards provide laboratories with guiding principles for improving their environmental footprint and implementing green practices. 

Measurement standards promote uniformity and facilitate comparison of sustainability performance between laboratories. They force laboratories to pursue specific sustainability goals and provide a measurable basis for evaluation. Certifications based on sustainability standards, such as ISO 14001 for environmental management, play a role in encouraging laboratories to embrace sustainable practices. Achieving such certifications can not only recognize sustainability, but also serve as a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Standards also provide a common framework for collaboration among laboratories, suppliers and government agencies. They create a shared language and expectations regarding sustainability, which facilitates the exchange of best practices and the development of green initiatives.