WHO staff "choose to reuse" for a greener HQ

Wed, 26/09/12

The “choose to reuse” campaign, run by the Green Group at WHO HQ, has succeeded in cutting use of paper cups by 20,000 between June to August this year.

The “Choose to Reuse” campaign succeeded in getting 1,600 staff members to switch to environmentally-friendly reusable mugs.  This resulted in an 80% reduction in the use of disposable cups in all cafeterias and across all buildings in WHO HQ and UNAIDS, thereby reducing the HQ’s carbon footprint.

The WHO HQ Green Group is an informal team of volunteers comprising staff from different departments.  Jennyfer Wolf of the PHE (Protection of the Human Environment) Unit in the Health Security and Environment (HSE) Cluster at HQ, and an active member of the Green Group said:

We think this is an important reduction in WHO’s carbon footprint and would like to say a big thank you to all for participating! We are sure the trend will continue.”

Encouraged by the success of this campaign, the small but dedicated group is now embarking on a fresh round of initiatives to make WHO even greener.  A survey is being carried out to consult staff on a roadmap for future campaigns. The survey will capture staff opinion on how to set the agenda on future green actions that can be implemented and sustained.

Anaïs Legand, of the Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases Unit, explains: 

“Even small actions and concrete changes would make a real difference. But we must first hear from colleagues their ideas for making WHO HQ more environmentally friendly. Therefore, we came up with the survey.”

Not only will the survey seek the views of staff on possible green initiatives. It will also solicits staff opinion on the possible range and impact of proposed initiatives, including a proposal for a vegetarian day every month in the restaurants or for introducing organic coffee in the cafes.

Those who take part in the survey will be entered into a raffle to in win one of a selection of prizes including five vouchers which can be exchanged against vegetarian meals at the WHO Main Building cafeteria or at the Red Ribbon Café in the D building, and another five vouchers which can be exchanged against bio-juices at the Bar à Café.

The Green Group’s long-term goal is to catch up with other Geneva-based UN agencies which have already gone greener, and bring HQ closer to the green goals embraced by the global UN community.

The Group also invites interested staff to attend its meetings and contribute to its activities. They welcome members to foster sustainability initiatives in WHO. To know about their next meeting and to get involved with the HQ Green Group, send an email to: [email protected].


Take the survey (NB: this link will only work for WHO HQ staff)

Categories: Staff Engagement