HQ: Berne, Switzerland
Number of staff: 260
Number of locations: 1
Total emissions: 732 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions per staff member: 2.9 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions from air travel: 341 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Air travel as a proportion of total emissions: 47%
Air travel per staff member: 1.3 tonnes CO2
Building-related emissions: 38.2 kg CO2 equivalent per square metre
* Total emissions in 2011 were estimated at almost 1,100 tonnes of CO₂e, when taking into account emission sources beyond those required for the inventory. Optional sources, such as paper and staff commuting, represent almost one third of the total emissions..
“In leading by example through the implementation of greener approaches, we will prove that sound environmental management makes business sense"
Bishar A. Hussein, Director General, Universal Postal Union (UPU)
“As requested by the Universal Postal Union member countries, I am determined to make the UPU secretariat, the International Bureau, a showcase for sustainable development for the sector it represents and among the United Nations agencies. Recognizing that our activities as secretariat have an impact on the environment, we will continue our efforts to achieve climate neutrality by regularly measuring and reducing our carbon footprint. In leading by example through the implementation of greener approaches to managing our activities, resources and facilities, we will also prove that sound environmental management makes business sense."
Bishar A. Hussein
Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. With its 192 member countries, the UPU fulfils an advisory, mediating and liaison role, and provides technical assistance where needed. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail, parcel and financial services volumes and improve quality of service for customers. Some 5 million postal employees and 670,000 postal offices make the postal network the largest physical distribution network in the world, delivering an estimated 380 billion letter-post items and 6.1 billion parcels annually.
The UPU has been part of the United Nations family since 1948, and as such participates in policies and actions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It provides concrete responses, out in the field, which have a direct impact on the life of populations, on business activities and on the economy of its member countries.
The International Bureau – the UPU's headquarters – provides logistical and technical support to the UPU's bodies. It serves as an office of liaison, information and consultation, and promotes technical cooperation among Union members.
The International Bureau (Berne, Switzerland), which acts as the Union's secretariat and employs some 260 people, emitted the equivalent of about 1,105 tonnes of CO₂e in 2011, 27% less than in 2008 (1,515 tonnes).
A promise made, and a promise kept: During the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the UPU Director General pledged to reduce the International Bureau's carbon emissions by 20% by 2012 (compared with 2008 levels). This was in response to the UN Secretary General's call for UN agencies, funds and programmes to lead by example by adopting greener approaches to managing their activities, resources and facilities. Emissions at the UPU International Bureau remain low.
The International Bureau took several steps to deliver on its promise, including renovating its building facade, cutting down on staff travel, investing in more energy-efficient IT equipment, and reducing paper consumption. The renovation work alone netted energy savings of 42%, as well as a 48% reduction in heating oil consumption. In addition, the International Bureau continues to encourage its staff to use more environmentally friendly modes of transport to come to work.
Efforts to further reduce the International Bureau's environmental footprint will continue.
− The vast majority of air travel by UPU staff (93%) has been in economy class since 2004.
− For short journeys with good transport links, staff are asked to opt for travelling by train. As an incentive to their choosing this option, staff may travel first class, and the UPU offers to pay for a half-fare card for them to travel on public transport in Switzerland, including on private journeys.
− The lighting system at UPU headquarters was entirely replaced in 2008, resulting in savings on electricity of 70%.
− A company offering a more environmentally friendly service was awarded the cleaning contract in 2009.
− The UPU has already benefited from UNEP expertise by jointly organizing a three-day training session on responsible procurement, entitled "Responsible procurement within the United Nations: buying for a better world".
− The "UNite to combat climate change" logo will appear on 10 million international reply coupons in circulation between 2009 and 2013.
− The UPU is fostering the use of e-communication technologies with the installation of videoconferencing rooms and the provision of teleconference and webcast tools.
− All traditional paper has been replaced with FSC-certified paper, and paper consumption is steadily declining.
− The organization has opted for greener electricity (100% hydropower).
− The price for parking spaces has been raised, to encourage employees to commute using greener means of transportation.
The UPU's reduction commitment will be achieved through new reduction actions alone. At present, there are no plans to introduce offsetting measures. The UPU seeks first and foremost to avoid emissions. It will, in due course, consider the possibility of offsetting any that cannot be reduced. Nevertheless, this option could provide an attractive means of achieving total climate neutrality, as the organization cannot avoid emitting greenhouse gases completely. The UPU would therefore be willing to be involved in any common work carried out in this field by United Nations agencies.
The UPU is planning to gradually introduce recycled paper with a view to switching entirely by 2014. It also plans to implement a "paperless" policy for large meetings and conferences in order to reduce annual paper consumption. In addition, the ERS should be updated in 2014, focusing on staff mobility.