United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)


HQ: New York

Focal Point: Alex Heikens

Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions

Exective Director's message

"We’re taking these steps because we believe we must all contribute to the battle against climate change. We must all lend our voices and support to growing movements of citizens, communities, governments, and non-governmental organizations to advocate for and effect real change"

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF


UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress. UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children. UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. UNICEF aims, through its country programmes, to promote the equal rights of women and girls and to support their full participation in the political, social, and economic development of their communities.

Reduction efforts

UNICEF is committed to improving the efficiency of its operations in a number of ways:

  • Rolling out the Greening and Accessibility Fund, which finances/co-finances selected energy and resource efficiency projects across UNICEF offices, in addition to accessibility improvement projects.
  • Technical support to offices in identifying the projects that contribute most to improving their eco-efficiency. (E.g. conducting energy audits; installation solar power in offices; improving insulation and energy efficiency of UNICEF facilities)


The 2015 Environmental Footprint Assessment captured emissions data from all offices, covering all HQ, Regional Offices, Country offices, in addition to 230 Zone Offices (also known as Field Offices or Sub-national Offices).


UNICEF has offset its emissions for 2015 through purchasing carbon credits via the UNFCCC.

Other environmental measures

Several offices systematically started to monitor and reduce water use and waste production, and/or encourage behavior change among staff through regular events, briefings or information campaigns. The Environmental Footprint Assessment also gathered information on backup generators, vehicles, type of lighting used at offices, water, and paper use to facilitate office-specific recommendations for reductions of the Environmental Footprint. In addition, UNICEF staff are participating in knowledge exchange regarding greening UNICEF through internal communication networks and/or office greening committees.

Next steps

UNICEF is in the process of finalizing an action plan to improve the efficiency of its global operations. This action plan will be submitted to senior management for endorsement, and is inclusive of acton points to be undertaken during 2017 and the upcoming quadrennial. For example, UNICEF is planning on applying a fleet management system covering all vehicles across the world, in addition to installing energy and water meters across all HQ, Regional and Country offices by the end of 2017.