Assessment of ISP´s environmental impact

In 2019 ISP did an analysis of the environment and climate impact effects of the ISP activities.


At least 24 research groups and networks (out of about 60) supported by ISP are engaged in activities promoting an environmentally sustainable development, in many cases relating to climate change and the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Through the research conducted, supported groups and networks study contamination of food and environment, and provide locally adapted technical solutions to environmental issues such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste management, water treatment, improved air quality, and water purification. They are also contributing to the corresponding policy processes, national plans, and strategies.

Read more about ISP results related to the SDGs


Most of the supported chemistry partners and many of the physics partners are conducting laboratory research. This comes with many potential risks for health and the environment, mainly relating to the handling and disposal of chemicals and other hazardous waste. There is also a risk for neglect of ethical values in research.

In addition, research collaboration and dissemination of results requires travel, often by air, which has negative environmental impact.

  1. Laboratory safety: Prioritized issues include dysfunctional fume hoods (or total absence of them), poor/unsafe handling and storage of chemicals, lack of secure attachments of gas cylinders, lack or no use of protective googles and coats, lack of or no fire safety, poor or unsafe electricity arrangements, and lack of trained personnel.

  2. Laboratory ethics: Prioritized issues are adherence to the Nagoya Protocol in research involving plant genetic resources, and the Declaration of Helsinki in research involving human and animal samples, and obtaining the appropriate ethical consent for research involving humans and other animals.

  3. Environmental/Climate Risks:
    • Laboratories: Prioritized issues include poor/unsafe chemical and hazardous waste management, and poor/unsafe handling of old/non-functioning equipment.

    • Travel: When it comes to direct unfavourable environmental and climate impacts from ISP, travel is identified as the main issue. ISP’s activities require travels to visit partners, both for relation- and follow-up reasons. How and when ISP staff and partners travel is, therefore, important to consider.

Suggested actions

To address the prioritized issues ISP will:

  • Update and revise the form in the annual activity report to include a checklist of prioritized laboratory safety and ethics concerns and environmental/climate risks. This will make the form useful as a follow-up tool and a basis for dialogue questions on site visits and in the grant application procedure.

  • ISP will revise ISP “indicator m” (addressing environmental impact), to capture the effects of partners’ activities on environment and climate in a better way.

  • ISP will continue to follow Uppsala University’s Guidelines for Environmentally sound work-related travel.

Last modified: 2023-09-14