HQ: Geneva, Switzerland
Number of staff: 960
Number of locations: 14
Total emissions: 3,938 tonnes CO2 equivalent*
Emissions per staff member: 4.1 tonnes CO2 equivalent**
Emissions from air travel: 2,620 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Air travel as a proportion of total emissions: 67%
Air travel per staff member: 2.7 tonnes CO2
Building-related emissions: 22.4 kg CO2 equivalent per square metre
*For 2010, ITU’s operational emissions are presented according to an updated UN-approved format. The air travel figures include the effects of overhead travelling as well as of mission travelling. The “staff” complement also includes all non-staff persons managed and paid for by ITU.
**ITU’s emissions per “staff” member, and our building emissions per square metre remain well below the average for the UN family as a whole.
““Climate change is a global challenge that the world simply cannot afford to lose — not just for our sake, but for the sake of our children.”
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
““Climate change is a global challenge that the world simply cannot afford to lose — not just for our sake, but for the sake of our children. ITU is undertaking important work into how ICTs can help prevent and avert climate change. There is a strong role for ITU in creating standards for energy efficiency of the ICT equipment on which our digital economy depends. ITU will continue to join efforts in the context of the UN system, in order to "deliver as one" with a principal focus on ICTs and climate change.”
Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré
As a global organization with Member States, industry Sector Members and academia, ITU offers its unique sectoral competences to play a leading role in developing an integrated approach to the relation between Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and climate change, focusing on technology, monitoring, adaptation and mitigation. ITU works closely with its Membership to lead efforts to achieve a climate neutral ICT industry and to promote sustainable development through the use of ICTs.
As the specialized agency of the UN for telecommunications/ICTs, ITU is committed to working in partnership with other organizations in the fight against climate change. This includes contributing actively to the work of the UN system, including to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is working within the UN High Level Committee on Programs (HLCP) to “deliver as one” in the area of climate change and work to deepen the global understanding of the relation between ICTs and sustainability.
ITU is also engaging the ICT sector to improve its environmental performance. In this regard ITU is working on Green ICT standards to improve resource efficiency (in particular energy efficiency) and to reduce electronic waste (e-waste), working very closely with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention.
As a responsible global citizen, ITU will move in close collaboration with the United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes, towards climate neutrality in its operations. ITU will continue to promote the use of ICTs to strengthen and develop scientific and industrial tools in all areas, to the fullest extent possible, to combat climate change.
All ITU’s purchased electricity for HQ use is from 100% renewable resources. Wet heating is taken from a centralized communal facility powered by gas. ITU HQ is negotiating to join an innovative building cooling project using water from the local Lac Leman.
We are already holding paperless meetings, plus remote participation and virtual meetings via the use of video and teleconferencing. The Union is reducing the use of paper in offices; for instance, salary slips and personnel movement notifications are no longer printed and mailed, but are available on-line via a secure delivery system. ITU is also contributing its expertise in ICTs to enable other organizations to use technology to become more energy-efficient.
The Union recycles consumables such as paper, plastics, toner cartridges, batteries, light-bulbs and waste food and oils from its cafeterias.
ITU Deputy Secretary-General chairs our cross-sectoral Climate Change and Emergency Telecommunications Taskforce, including. ITU’s Focal Point for Climate-Neutrality in Operations. ITU HQ provides bicycle storage for staff and visitors.
ITU has continued to advance in the use of remote participation in ITU events, to reduce GHG emissions caused by delegate travel to ITU meetings, as well as to reduce expenditures. ITU is also contributing its expertise in ICTs to enable other organizations to use technology to become more energy-efficient.
During 2011 most ITU meetings were paperless. In October 2011 ITU re-opened its main HQ conference room (the Popov Room) after refurbishment: this room has been designed to allow fully paperless meetings by the use of wired and wireless networking, and through access to all displayed materials from the room screens via delegates’ own PCs. In addition, and to further decrease environmental impact, remote participation is possible in any interpreted language used in the room. To highlight a recent example, the 2012 ITU World Radio Conference (WRC-12) generated 29,100 pages of official documentation. Only 4% of these were printed, generating savings of nearly 100 million A4 pages (or approximately 950,000 kg of CO2 equivalent emissions or sparing 850 trees of 25m height and 30 cm diameter).
ITU’s work in climate change relates to adaptation, emergency telecommunications, monitoring and mitigation through the adoption of standards for more energy-efficient ICT services and products. The Union allocates and protects radio spectrum for environmental monitoring and promotes ICT applications for e-environment and sustainable development. Work in emergency telecommunications for disaster mitigation and relief is a vital component of efforts in adaptation.
In 2011, ITU actively participated in the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, including contributing to preparatory events, the creation (with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSi)) of the Coalition on ICTs and Climate Change, and has organized side-events (with partners, including other UN agencies). This works continues in 2012 towards the Rio+20 conference.
ITU has continued to strengthen its cooperation with other UN Agencies, as well as with other international and national organizations involved in preventing further climate change. Examples of this include collaboration with WMO on the use of radio communications for meteorology or the collaboration with the UNU, UNIDO, UNESCO, UNEP and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on issues related with e-waste, among others.
Aside from reduction of its own emissions, an on-going process, ITU is evaluating technical and financial mechanisms for offsetting our residual emissions: according to an organizational boundary and via best-practice offset projects compatible with UN standards compatible with UN standards, in collaboration with UN experts.
ITU is continuing its efforts towards climate neutrality, in close coordination with other UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes. ITU has conducted annual energy audits to establish its GHG Inventory for operations since 2007, contributing to a consolidated UN report published in a standardized UN format. ITU has taken practical steps to improve energy efficiency and to reduce heat-loss. Future projects in this area are dependent on the availability of financial resources.
The Union is assessing all new facilities projects for their potential reductions in the use of electricity and heating fuel. We are cutting the use of paper in offices, publications and meetings and assessing all potential business travel options for environmental impact. ITU continues to virtualize its ICT Servers to save power and cooling load.