World Food Programme (WFP)

HQ: Rome, Italy

Focal Point: Francesca Gavassini

Email: francesca.gavassini [at]


Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions

Key Figures: Waste

Key Figures: Water


Executive Director's message

“There is no doubt in my mind that the United Nations should be the leader on a cleaner environment – and we at the World Food Programme can lead the U.N. We can do this not just at Rome headquarters, but out in the field. Individually and together, WFP can and should reduce its contribution to air pollution and waste, use water more carefully and buy goods and commodities that are more sustainable. We can also work with the people we serve to rehabilitate once unusable land so they can grow food for themselves, their families and communities.”

David Beasley, Executive Director



Assisting 87 million people in around 83 countries each year, the World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.

WFP’s Strategic Objectives are: End hunger by protecting access to food; Improve nutrition; Achieve food security; Support SDG implementation; and Partner for SDG results.

Experience so far


WFP has been reporting its global GHG emissions since 2008 and been engaged in waste and water inventories from their outset. WFP has been Climate Neutral since 2014.

WFP continues to focus on reducing emissions wherever we can, especially across our facilities and vehicle fleets. Since 2008, WFP has reduced the emissions from buildings by 13% and from WFP-owned vehicles by 14%. In 2018, WFP reported 80,293 tCO2e for the UN common boundary. WFP also reports optional* emissions, which we were pleased to see fall by 29% from 2017. Unlike many other UN bodies, some 97% of WFP’s GHG emissions come from field operations. Severe emergencies, such as in South Sudan, often require desperate measures in order to save lives, including flying-in goods and people when conflict or weather conditions make roads unsafe or impassable.

In line with WFP’s Environmental Policy (2017), three tools are being rolled out to help us deliver measurable environmental gains: environmental and social standards for all WFP activities; an environmental and social screening tool to identify and manage environmental impacts from programme and construction activities; and an environmental management system (EMS) for functional areas such as premises management, logistics and procurement.

*Inhouse, WFP also tallies emissions from humanitarian air freight as well as fugitive emissions from older AC equipment, which are outside the UN boundary.

EMS and Reduction efforts


In 2019, WFP is implementing EMS in Ethiopia, Senegal and Panama, building on our experiences in WFP Kenya as part of the Sustainable UN/Government of Sweden EMS pilot. WFP’s EMS in these countries covers 28 sites, spanning permanent and temporary offices, warehouses, staff accommodation, whole compounds and standalone buildings in remote settlements, medium-size towns and capital cities. More countries are planned for EMS scale up in 2019/2020.

WFP's EMS implementation is supported by environmental guidelines, checklists, action plans and awareness raising material among others for energy, waste, water and wastewater best practice management. These help promote systematic implementation to a consistent standard.

The EMS team works side by side with other units – administration, procurement, engineering, supply chain and programme – to achieve the objectives laid out in each location’s action plan.

WFP’s recent achievements build on a decade of work including:

Supply chain waste management (re-use, re-cycling, up-cycling, reverse logistics):

  • WFP Kenya is recycling plastic food packaging, with a local recycler purchasing an initial 60 tonnes of polypropylene bags to create 600,000 new bags. Proceeds will be used to scale up the initiative and invest in environmental improvement projects.
  • WFP Ethiopia is recycling old broken plastic pallets into beverage plastic crates, having recycled 2,500 pallets by mid 2019.

Office/accommodation upgrades to achieve higher resource efficiency and reduce waste:

  • WFP is supporting interagency efforts to improve the green building performance of a new UN House in Senegal that will host 27 UN agencies.

Upgrades to generator housings to minimize risk and impacts of fuel and oil spills:

  • WFP Kenya has committed to upgrading all generator housings to include spill containment features.

Development of procurement guidelines and technical specifications for more sustainable goods and services, and assistance with technical evaluations:

  • A Sustainable Procurement guideline has been integrated into WFP’s new goods and services procurement manual.
  • In 2019, using a new global LTA for energy efficient air conditioners (ACs), WFP Kenya has purchased 45 units saving 50% on acquisition costs and 1/3 operating costs compared to local one-off purchases.
  • Sustainability provisions are included in catering contract specifications for HQ.

Energy assessments aimed at ensuring generators are correctly sized, fossil fuel consumption is reduced, and renewable energy systems are installed where appropriate:

  • 11 countries where WFP operates were awarded an Energy Efficiency Programme (EEP) grant in 2018 for installing energy efficiency improvement systems including Afghanistan, Chad, Ecuador, Ghana, Haiti and Liberia.
  • At headquarters, through a joint tender with other Rome-based agencies—FAO and IFAD—WFP has been procuring electricity from renewable energy, certified by guarantee of origin, since 2009.
  • An energy assessment of WFP Djibouti has been conducted by a UN joint team coordinated by UNITAR as part of the Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy Solutions in Situations of Displacement.

Staff training and awareness on environment to foster behavioural change:

  • Regional teleconference calls were held for country operations in Latin America to facilitate technical advice and support for environmental projects and initiatives.
  • World Environment Day activities encouraged staff to #BeatAirPollution with a 10-point action plan for cleaner travel, better indoor air quality, and advice for colleagues in developing countries on avoiding open burning of waste.

Screening tool

As part of its Environmental Policy implementation, WFP continues to conduct field tests of our recently developed environmental and social screening tool on construction projects and Food Assistance for Assets projects in different countries including Mozambique, Congo (DR) and Zimbabwe among others.

Inventory Management Plans


WFP reports GHG emissions from all its global operations, according to the ‘Operational Control’ approach, as defined in the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, Revised Edition, 2004, (page 18), for the following scopes:

Scope 1: Stationary Combustion (generator fuel, heating fuel) for all premises; mobile emissions for vehicles; refrigerant emissions from AC systems
Scope 2: Purchased electricity, heat and steam for all premises
Scope 3: Business travel including commercial air travel and public transport for duty travel; WFP aviation services (UNHAS, airfreight, airlifts and airdrops); WFP’s Environmental inventory has been expanded to include footprinting of waste, water and wastewater management.



Since 2014, WFP purchases Adaptation Fund carbon credits through UNFCCC to offset all emissions within the UN common boundary: global emissions from WFP vehicles, generators, refrigerants, purchased electricity and steam, passenger air travel and public transport.

Waste Management


WFP has been collecting data on waste since 2015, initially targeting all Regional Bureaux, UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD), Liaison Offices and volunteer Country Offices. In 2018, 29 countries reported their waste practices and/or data.

  • WFP has published pictorial guides to hazardous waste management for motor vehicle workshops, to support colleagues in 11 countries including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Chad and Uganda
  • WFP offices in Myanmar are reducing their plastic use while WFP Nairobi and HQ have already completely banned the use of single-use plastics within their premises
  • Recycling of tyres has been practiced in WFP offices in Uganda, Sudan and the Central African Republic

Water Management


WFP has been collecting data on water use and wastewater disposal and received 2018 data from 60 countries.

  • Water saving actions in HQ include water saving aerators in restroom taps, water efficient appliances in the commercial kitchens and drought-resistant garden plants
  • Rainwater harvesting has been implemented by offices including in Nepal, DRC, The Central African Republic and HQ
  • Water use reduction and efficiency improvement plans are built into EMS roll out to country offices.

Other environmental measures


As noted above, WFP has completed new guidelines on sustainable procurement, waste, water and energy management. Environmental safeguards are being integrated into standard operating procedures and manuals (emergency preparedness and response, construction, administration). New integrated and interactive sustainability reports detailing GHG emissions, waste and water results by country to all staff have been published inhouse, making them accessible to all staff.

Next steps


Implementing EMS at WFP HQ will facilitate waste management upgrades to optimize waste differentiation, support implementation of recent energy audit findings and deliver further sustainable procurement and water management savings.

A regional upscale of the Kenya-based PP bags recycling project is planned, to include neighbouring countries that don’t have recycling facilities.

WFP is contributing to a US AID-funded study to review all forms of packaging waste, globally.

WFP Kenya is planning to join an ICRC-Red Cross coordinated waste recycling project in Dadaab involving local communities, where WFP’s compound waste is segregated, locally processed and recycled.


WFP Environmental Policy

WFP case studies