Environment Management Systems in the UN

Sun, 05/06/16

World Environment Day is an ideal moment to reflect on the positive action UN agencies are taking to reduce their impact on the environment.
A new animation, launched today by the Sustainable United Nations (SUN) team and the Swedish Environment Protection Agency, explains the role of Environment Management Systems (EMS) in monitoring and managing an organization’s environmental impact.
The animation draws parallels between financial management and environmental management. Every day UN organizations use budgets, financial review processes and documentation to ensure accountability and to make transparent and fair financial judgements. But it’s just as important that other resources – particularly environmental – are used efficiently, responsibly and transparently.
The short animation explains more about measuring environmental performance and says that several UN agencies have already implemented Environmental Management Systems to monitor and improve their performance.

An EMS allows us to continually improve environmental performance by institutionalising sustainability actions and accountability. The benefits are multiple and include:
·      Improved environmental accountability throughout all staff of UN agencies – from top management to contractors
·      Improved efficiency and reduces waste and therefore costs
·      Help in moving towards renewable energy sources and therefore improving energy security at risk from crime and accidents
·      Improvements in the health and well-being of our staff and reductions in the environmental impact in communities where we work
Isabella Marras, SUN Facility Coordinator explained that:
“The UN is a role-model, and as such we need to change in the ways we measure our use of environmental resources. This video clearly communicates the reasons behind, and positive impacts of, Environmental Management Systems and we hope more UN agencies will be implementing them in the near future”
Kristina von Oelreich, Deputy Head of Department of Operational Support, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency says:
"With measures like the EMS in place, the UN is taking strides towards achieving the intended outcomes of its environmental management system, which provide value for the environment, the organization itself and interested stakeholders. Ultimately, ensuring the mainstreaming of the environmental system into the UN`s organization’s business processes and increase the awareness among the staff reinforces its leadership in realizing the Sustainability Development Goals."

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is supporting the Sustainable United Nations facility in developing and implementing Environmental Management Systems in UN agencies.