International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

HQ: Montreal, Canada


Key figures


“If the UN is to be credible in promoting policies for sustainable environmental development, it must lead by example.”

Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Secretary General’s message

“On World Environment Day on 5 June 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged to move the UN towards climate neutrality.

"I am proud to reaffirm ICAO's total support for the success of this initiative. If the UN is to be credible in promoting policies for sustainable environmental development, it must lead by example. Dealing with environmental issues has been part of the ICAO work programme for nearly 40 years and we are pleased to support the UN objective of climate neutrality.

"As the specialized UN agency for international aviation, ICAO plays a crucial role in supporting this initiative through our work on estimating emissions from air travel. We developed the ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator so that the UN family (and the rest of the world) could calculate the carbon footprint of their air travel consistently. We are committed to continuously improving the methodology, supporting data, and special UN interface to ensure that the Calculator meets the needs of all UN users.”

Raymond Benjamin


A specialized agency of the United Nations, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was set up in 1944 to promote safe and orderly development of international civil aviation worldwide. It sets standards and regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, and for aviation environmental protection. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 190 Contracting States.

Experience so far

ICAO Headquarters in Canada has received the country's first LEED-EB Certification. This certification is recognized internationally as the benchmark in property management and construction in terms of both energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. ICAO Headquarters required major work to become compliant with LEEDS standards, which represented a significant challenge. Several modifications were made in terms of lighting, plumbing, ventilation, responsible water use, recycling, maintenance processes and methods, and operations. For example, fluorescent tubes, ballasts, high-efficiency systems and speed regulators were replaced after it was estimated that the 11.9% improvement in energy performance represented potential annual savings of USD 50,000 to USD 100,000.

Furthermore, we customized and tailored ICAO carbon calculator to the needs of the UN Climate Neutral Initiative and provided online training and direct assistance to organizations using the UN prototype interface to the ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator.

Reduction efforts

ICAO has implemented a series of environmentally friendly measures and practices such as conducting paperless meetings, using audio, video, and web-meeting services when practical, and many other initiatives aimed to reduce our energy consumption. ICAO’s headquarters in Montreal was the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified building in Canada.

In 2009, a World Environment Day celebration was organized at ICAO to sensitize ICAO staff and families on climate-change issues and carbon neutrality. Environmental green tips are addressed to staff on how to reduce their individual carbon footprint disseminated weekly through ICAO’s Secretariat website.


ICAO will consider any offset measures in the light of further discussions and decisions at UN level in this area.

Next steps

The ICAO emission reduction strategy is being prepared and will be based on the results of the verified greenhouse gas inventory and the guidance materials / recommendations to be issued by the Environmental Management Group (EMG), the Issues Management Group (IMG) and Sustainable United Nations (SUN).

ICAO and sustainability
ICAO case studies