Climate talks cut paper usage year on year

Wed, 17/07/13

In recent years UNFCCC have been implementing a number of paper-reduction initiatives as part of ongoing efforts to make climate talks more sustainable. The most recent meeting succeeded in reducing total paper usage by a staggering 72%.

A total of 1,188 meetings were held, attended by almost 2,500 participants.

In total 271,117 sheets of A4 paper were used last month in Bonn, a 72% reduction from the 962,500 used at the 2012 Bonn sessions. The reduction was achieved by making more documents available electronically and thus reducing the need for reams and reams of paper to be printed and distributed.

At the 2013 June sessions, official documents accounted for approximately 60% of all the paper used at the conference. For official documents only, the decrease on the amount used in Bonn in 2012 is still a sizable 66%. This was primarily achieved by further reducing print runs and providing the daily program as an electronic-only version. Unfortunately, more than one third of all official documents were left over after the session.

The decrease in paper usage during UNFCCC sessions is particularly striking since the number of sheets had already been reduced by 44% (overall) and 62% (official documents only) between the Bonn talks in June 2011 and June 2012. As a point of comparison, at COP 18 UNFCCC’s paper-reduction initiative (introducing the PaperSmart system) led to a reduction in paper usage of 78% (89% for official documents only), as compared to COP 17.

Salwa Dallalah, Coordinator Conference Affairs Services, UNFCCC: "In our efforts to bring down paper usage, and wastage, at UNFCCC sessions, it is paramount that the reduction in paper must not disadvantage negotiators. Rather, for us at the secretariat it is a matter of principle that any paper-reduction actions should always be accompanied by measures to improve access to documents, thereby ensuring that negotiations are conducted in a transparent manner and not jeopardized in any way."

Reducing paper usage while further improving accessibility to official documents will continue to be a focus as UNFCCC prepare for the Warsaw talks in November 2013.

Categories: Meetings