World Food Programme (WFP)

HQ: Rome, Italy
Number of staff: 11,335
Number of locations: 1,260


Key figures

Total emissions: 76,872 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions per staff member: 6.78 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions from air travel: 21,691 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Air travel as a proportion of total emissions: 28%
Air travel per staff member: 1.91 tonnes CO2
Building-related emissions: 9.43 kg CO2 equivalent per square metre

NB: Number of staff excludes personnel contracts shorter than 11 months.
Of 3,892 vehicles, 1% (accounting for 1% of vehicle emissions) use estimated/proxied data.
Of 1,260 buildings, 11% (accounting for 5% of building emissions) use estimated/proxied data.




Executive Director’s message

"WFP has long recognized that measuring and managing the environmental impacts of our work, including during emergencies, is an important act of stewardship. It helps us safeguard the livelihoods of people we serve: the hungry poor. Better environmental practices can also help to reduce WFP’s operating costs, allowing us to deliver better value for money as a trusted partner in the global effort to end hunger.

I am determined that, as one of the first agencies on the ground in an emergency, WFP makes the most of opportunities to lead the deployment of innovative solutions and technologies in some of the world’s most marginal environments. WFP's Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction strategy commits us to cost-effective improvements in how we use power in our buildings, manage our vehicle fleets and minimise our travel. We will measure our progress every year against our 2008 baseline in order to track results in a transparent and accountable manner.

Ensuring an effective, resource-efficient WFP starts at the top, with me and our executive management team. I am committed to making WFP more environmentally sustainable and resource-efficient at the same time, and will work with WFP staff across the globe to embed sustainability into our operations. "

Ertharin Cousin
WFP Executive Director


The World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger. In emergencies, we get food to where it is needed, saving the lives of victims of war, civil conflict and natural disasters. After the cause of an emergency has passed, we use food assistance to help communities rebuild. WFP pursues a vision in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life.

Experience so far

  • WFP has now completed five global GHG footprints (2008-2012), plus an HQ-only pilot in 2007.
  • WFP’s reported emissions for 2012 are 8.3% below the 2008 baseline year. The organization is on track to achieve a 10% reduction below 2008 levels by 2013, the goal contained in the GHG Emission Reduction Strategy approved by executive management in 2012.
  • WFP has now extended this target, seeking an 18% reduction below 2008 levels by 2017.
  • Unlike many other UN bodies, 92% of WFP’s GHG emissions are from field operations. WFP has a presence in around 90 countries: the 10 largest account for 59% of the total footprint.
  • More than half of all emissions (56%) are from fuel used to run vehicles or power generators in offices, warehouses and guesthouses in remote areas.
  • Travel emissions, approximately 28% of the total, are lower than the UN average. However GHGs from commercial flights have risen every year and are now 60% higher than in 2008.
  • In 2013, the first country-specific GHG reduction plans and environmental committees were launched by WFP Country Offices including operations in Sudan, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Ecuador.
  • WFP reduction actions prioritize cost-effective, practical actions that will reduce operating costs at the same time as reducing GHG emissions. Eight projects funded through the first round of WFP’s Energy Efficiency Programme have an average payback period of 11 months and will collectively reduce emissions by 600 tCO2e per year.
  • Increasingly, WFP seeks out projects with multiple environmental benefits, such as energy efficient air conditioning systems with “ozone-friendly” refrigerant gases, or water efficiency projects that also reduce energy needed to pump or heat the water.

Reduction efforts

  • Projects funded through the WFP Energy Efficiency Programme include interior and exterior lighting efficiency, grid connection for remote sites and battery systems allowing generators to be switched off overnight. Costing USD 272,000, they will save more than USD 300,000 and 600 tonnes of CO2e annually.
  • WFP sites in Sudan, Niger, Ethiopia, Somalia and Chad have installed low-energy solar security lighting, replacing traditional 500 watt floodlights.
  • In total, WFP has installed 170 kWp of solar panels, saving an estimated USD 50,000 and over 100 tonnes of CO2e per year. Renewable energy systems are generally most cost effective in remote areas, where mains power is not available and costs for purchasing and transporting fuel are high.
  • In Afghanistan, Sudan, Sierra Leone and Chad, WFP has invested in equipment to connect to newly established electricity grids, reducing reliance on generators and cutting CO2 emissions and costs.
  • A light vehicle driver training programme has, since 2009, trained more than 1000 WFP drivers from 31 countries in fuel efficient driving and improving vehicle maintenance, to reduce GHGs and running costs while optimizing vehicle safety. Other UN organizations have put a further 385 drivers through WFP’s programme.
  • Through a joint tender with Rome-based agencies—FAO and IFAD—WFP has purchased certified “green energy” at HQ premises since 2009.
  • Staff awareness programs in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Dubai, Nepal, Rwanda, Sudan, Italy and Laos have promoted energy-smart habits such as switching off lights, computers and AC equipment when not in use.
  • WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin launched a new travel policy in mid-2012 by pledging to reduce premium-class travel by senior management and promote remote conferencing by all personnel.
  • By rolling out new facilities management software (ARCHIBUS) using web-conferencing, WFP avoided an estimated USD 200,000 in travel costs and 75 tCO2e.


In an organization working on the frontlines of hunger, making energy reduction part of ‘business as usual’ operations is the best and most sustainable way to maximize energy savings and reduce GHG emissions in the long term. For the foreseeable future, WFP will continue to direct staff time and financial resources into realising these benefits ahead of purchasing carbon credits.


Water quality for our premises, wastewater management and preventing spills to groundwater during high-impact activities (such as construction) have been identified as priority areas for action during and Environmental Management System (EMS) Scoping Study.


Management of a range of waste streams has been identified as a priority area for action during an Environmental Management System (EMS) Scoping Study. These range from office wastes (paper, recyclable packaging and toners) in developed country locations to remote area impacts including household refuse, vehicle workshop outputs (tyres, motor oil, batteries) and end-of-life disposal of assets.

Next steps

  • WFP has committed to developing a full Environmental Management System (EMS) to optimise resource efficiency, manage environmental impacts and reduce risks.
  • A Scoping Study has identified principal areas of risk and reward. Noting that an EMS is a management framework, not just a reporting tool, the Environmental team is progressively engaging with key stakeholders (from Logistics, Finance and IT staff, to audit and inspection teams and senior management) to secure support and resources to take this work forward through 2014-15.

WFP case studies