HQ: Nairobi, Kenya
Number of staff: 1,275
Number of locations: 20
Total emissions: 11,883 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions per staff member: 9.3 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions from air travel: 10,456 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Air travel as a proportion of total emissions: 88%
Air travel per staff member: 8.2 tonnes CO2
Building-related emissions: 49.7 kg CO2 equivalent per square metre
N.B. The greenhouse gas emissions attributed to UNEP include that of a number of Multilateral Environment Agreement and Convention secretariats that participate in UNEP's climate neutral strategy.
“UNEP must not only promote climate neutrality – it must practice climate neutrality. Reducing our emissions is our priority, as it should be for all organizations around the world, and we will continue to lead by example.”
Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
“Climate change is an environmental change phenomenon that poses a serious threat to the health, security and prosperity of current and future generations. UNEP leads the way in supporting the entire UN system to respond to the challenge by operating in an environmentally sustainable manner.
"UNEP must not only promote climate neutrality – it must practice climate neutrality. UNEP has been climate neutral since 1st January 2008. As one of the first UN organizations to take on this challenge we are able to understand the challenges and the necessary enabling measures to become climate neutral. Reducing our emissions is our priority, as it should be for all organisations around the world, and we will continue to lead by example.”
UNEP's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
UNEP has been climate neutral since 1st January 2008. This was achieved by reducing greenhouse gas emissions as far as possible and procuring offsets to compensate for the remaining emissions. Offsets have been purchased as issued Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol.
The greenhouse gas inventory completed for UNEP for 2007 helped us understand our footprint and identify where to focus reduction measures. The biggest source of emissions is from work related flights, consequently, efforts have been made to reduce flights by using e-communication technologies.
UNEP’s Climate Neutral Strategy that also includes participation from a number of Multilateral Environment Agreement and Convention secretariats, is being reviewed in 2013 and the scope expanded to include the management of other environmental concerns such as water, energy and waste.
UNEP’s work to support Climate Neutral UN has resulted in harmonized methodologies within UN, and inspired organizations within as well as outside the UN to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve improved sustainability.
49 UN organizations and three governments have already received or are receiving support from UNEP, through provision of tools and methodologies, training, awareness raising, coordination and information sharing.
UNEP also facilitated UN inter-agency groups on travel, facilities management, information and communications technology, and procurement work for low-carbon solutions.
With the approval of the Climate Neutral Strategy in 2010, UNEP set itself a target of reducing its emissions by 3 % year on year. This ambitious target is being implemented through a voluntary reduction in air travel, arrived at by senior management policy and encouragement. Healthy competition initiated by the per capita comparison of flight emissions of different UNEP divisions as well as a tightening of UNEP’s operational budget have resulted in a 20 % drop in flight emissions in 2011 as compared to 2010 (a peak year for flight emissions that claimed 94 % of the UNEP overall GHG footprint). Furthermore, UNEP relocated to a new state-of the art green building in 2011; this move has resulted in a 50 % reduction of office emissions and a 25 % reduction of all facility based emissions despite the expansion of office areas and auxiliary buildings and plants. The new building harnesses electricity from roof-top solar photovoltaic arrays, uses light wells, passive cooling, motion and lux sensors for efficient lighting operations and low-energy lighting fixtures to achieve energy and therefore emission reductions.
The new emission reduction strategy will continue to focus on flight reductions, fine tune the new buildings operations and look at the use of biofuels in official vehicles; thereby reducing UNEP’s footprint further.
After reduction efforts UNEP offsets it's remaining emissions. It has done this every year since 2008. The scope includes all UNEP operations world-wide.
Some new initiatives are being implemented campus wide, this include:
1. Carpooling using software that coordinates rides provided and rides needed.
2. Use of biofuels in official UN vehicles
3. A quantitative approach to our waste management initiative that looks at paper/ cardboard, metal and glass.
4. Looking at our water usage and efficiency.
5. Energy analysis and optimisation of the operations of our office facilities