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Sustainability at the ICR

Sustainability at the ICR means acting now, in line with the UN Sustainability Development Goals, to manage economic, social and environmental issues within our organisation and globally, so that both now and in the future, we can continue to make the discoveries to defeat cancer.

Video: Meet some of our staff who were involved in the sustainability action plan. | Video transcript

Sustainability matters to us

Sustainability has significant consequences for cancer research – the link between the poor air quality and certain cancers, the importance of a healthy natural world and biodiversity for discovery of new compounds for innovative cancer drugs and treatments.

The climate and biodiversity crisis are the main challenges of the 21st century, bringing pandemics, extreme climatic events and putting life, as we know it, at risk. We believe that the scientific research and education sectors should be leading the way to ensure a liveable planet for future generations. In 2020, following many other organisations, we declared a climate emergency which marked our first step in accelerating climate action.

Our action plan

Sustainable Discoveries is the ICR’s action plan for how we will respond to the climate crisis and other sustainability challenges. The plan reflects how we integrate sustainability principles into our research and teaching practices – aiming to develop lower impact ways of undertaking laboratory science, developing more efficient buildings and facilities, reducing our impact on the planet and ensuring our people have the requisite skills and knowledge to make a difference.

We have mapped our plans against the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals - a global programme for sustainability covering themes from health and wellbeing to climate action, with each goal supported by a number of targets running through to 2030. The ICR is working towards 14 of these targets.

'Sustainable Discoveries' has 4 pillars:

Sustainable Foundations

To achieve our sustainability goal, we must address key issues such as governance, accountability, training, awareness and other systems to support sustainability - which we lay out in the first pillar of our action plan.

Sustainable Operations

In the Sustainable Operations pillar of our action plan, we lay out how we plan to transform our estates facilities and support our people across the ICR to be more sustainable.

Sustainable Science

The Sustainable Science pillar outlines how we aim to undertake our research to defeat cancer whilst reducing environmental impacts.

Sustainable Procurement

In the final part of our action plan, we define how we aim to improve the environmental and social impacts from our supply chain – the largest share of our carbon footprint.