Francis Crick aims for net zero by 2040  

Carbon neutral concept

The Francis Crick Institute has announced goals to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, along with a longer-term target to be net zero carbon by 2040. 

The biomedical discovery centre, which is based in London, published a new sustainability strategy that it says has been developed in direct response to global climate and environmental emergencies. In its strategy, the Francis Crick Institute sets out a five-year frame-work to focus investment on tackling the climate emergency and to strengthen its own commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the organisation’s operations. 

The strategy includes six priority themes including energy, waste, nature, water, travel and materials.  

Reducing carbon emissions across themes 

The Francis Crick Institute has outlined plans on how it intends to reduce emissions across each area. On energy for instance, the organisation will implement a carbon reduction programme to reduce both carbon emissions and energy consumption in line with the UKGBC framework for Net Zero Carbon buildings.  

For materials, the organistion is committing to responsible procurement that minimises the demand for new materials, the distances travelled and the embedded energy. Part of this area include a reduction in the use of single-use plastics.  

Other steps include a reduction in water and food waste, alongside an increased rate of waste recycling, a reduction in carbon emissions from travel and the introduction of a new monitoring system for water usage.  

Rajnika Hirani, the Crick’s Head of Sustainability, said: “The need to take sustainable action has never been clearer; the world is changing, natural resources are depleting, and the climate is in crisis. 

 Against this backdrop, we must act now to reduce our environmental impact. The challenge at the Crick is how to implement a sustainability strategy now and for future generations within available financial, social, and environmental resources.” 

Progress to date 

The organisation has already made some progress towards its goals. Across 2022-2023, the Francis Crick Institute achieved a 21% reduction in carbon emissions compared to 2019-2020. This was a result of carbon reduction measures such as reducing air changes in specialist lab areas, upgrading stairwell lighting to low energy LEDs, and optimising the efficiency of the data centre cooling system. 

Sam Barrell, Deputy CEO of the Crick, added: “The Crick has always had a commitment to sustainability and to reducing the environmental impact of our operations. We are strengthening this commitment over the next five years, ensuring that sustainability and good environmental practice are integral to our decision-making at every level.  

“Our initiatives and actions need to be effective both in facilitating our science and in ensuring that sustainable development is central to our mission of driving benefits for human health.” 

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