Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

HQ: Rome, Italy

Focal Point: Tina Mittendorf


Key Figures: Greenhouse gas emissions


Key Figures: Waste


Key Figures: Water


Director-General's message


"Small things, small changes of habit. If we continue to do the same as we did until now we will not be able to avoid this 2 degrees increase. We need to change our personal habits. This is a small contribution, but it will help a lot. If everybody does something, we together can do a lot.”

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO

(source: Corporate Environmental Responsibility in FAO)




Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO's efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

Our three main goals are: the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.


Experience so far


FAO dedicates a significant amount of resources assisting in the agricultural development of areas that are often those most vulnerable to climate change. We as an organization must effectively play our own part in combating climate change through GHG emissions reductions and sustainability management. Failing to do so would be hindering the efforts towards fulfilling FAO’s primary mandate for sustainable agriculture. 

Since around 2008, the organization has incorporated many in-house sustainability initiatives, primarily related to facilities, travel, and procurement. Many efforts have been made towards being more energy efficient and improving waste management, especially at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy – where an Environmental Management System has been developed in 2014 and a new waste separation system has been introduced in 2018. Thanks to the Corporate Environmental Responsibility Policy and Strategy 2017-2020, FAO is further committing to lower its environmental impact by more systematically expanding the scope of its activities to Decentralized Offices as well. In the past two years, energy meters were installed in 17 FAO Decentralized Offices (Chile, Cuba, DRC, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritania, Thailand, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Jordan, Haiti, Niger, Sierra Leone, Cabo Verde, Ethiopia) and two solar PV systems have been installed at the FAO Representation in Djibouti and the UN House Nepal.


EMS and Reduction efforts

  • EMS under development in key pilot decentralised office (Bangkok)
  • Feasibility study for hybrid PV system in Uganda, Mauritania, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Haiti
  • Grid tied 14 kWp PV system installed in Djibouti and hybrid sytem (120 kWp PV + 204-kWh lithium batteries) the UN House Nepal in collaboration with other UNDP, WHO and UNICEF.



FAO has purchased Adaptation Fund Certified Emission Reductions from the Clean Development Mechanism for the purpose of compensating the unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions from the operations and travel of the Food and Agriculture Organization since 2014.


Waste management


FAO HQ has an advanced system of estimation of waste production, which contributes to the development awareness raising campaigns and ultimately progressive waste reductions.

Other 98 Decentralised Offices also report waste production through the FAO Country Office Information Network, COIN.


Other environmental measures

  • Development of the UN Common Services Package for LED lighting Solutions Version 1.0
  • Study of UN Practices for Waste Management in field offices, in collaboration with UN Environment

Next steps


FAO has produced a Strategy for the time period 2017-2020 to further reduce its environmental footprint by committing to:

  1. 5.4% CO2 emissions overall;
  2. More energy efficiency projects in Decentralized Offices (DOs);
  3. Sustainable water use;
  4. Circular Economy: more sustainable procurement and better waste management;
  5. Environmental Management Systems for key Decentralized Offices.

Corporate Environmental Responsibility website

Corporate Environmental Responsibility Policy

Strategy 2017-2020

FAO Strategy on Climate Change 

Greening FAO HQ Video

2016 Report

2015 Report



FAO case studies