EXECUTIVE SECRETARY’S MESSAGE
"The current global environmental crisis – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution - requires all of us to urgently shift our ways of doing things towards more sustainable production and consumptions patterns.
Since 2012, the BRS Secretariat has been climate neutral for all of its meetings and operations. We are committed to continuing our reduction efforts and enhancing our sustainability performance in other areas, such as reducing waste being produced by promoting paperless and plastic-free conferences and offices, and through a systematic approach."
Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are multilateral environmental agreements that share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes. These Conventions provide a framework to ensure the environmentally sound management of hazardous chemicals and wastes through a life cycle approach. There are 191, 165 and 186 Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, respectively, as of 1 October 2023.
ALIGNMENT WITH THE STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM, 2020–2030
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has progressed in its work to integrate the Environmental Management System of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In accordance with the UNEP methodology, an environmental risk register has been filled out in consultation with staff from different working areas. The Secretariat is now in the process of finalizing an action plan identifying activities and tasks to be implemented to mitigate the significant environmental aspects in line with the EMS risk register.
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has also initiated internal discussions to operationalize UNEP Environmental and Social Safeguards in its programmes.
Over the period from 2010 to 2022, the estimated emissions generated by the Secretariat have decreased by approximately 29%. In 2022, the estimated emissions amounted to 656 t CO2 eq. due to resumption of face-to-face meetings of governing bodies and subsidiary bodies of the Conventions after two years of travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has also been an improvement in the calculation of the carbon emissions that now includes the transport of participants to the airport. This change in the methodology also contributes to increasing the total carbon emissions.
The Secretariat continues taking measures to reduce wastes, in particular plastic waste, generated during the meetings of the Conferences of the Parties. The 2019, 2022 and 2023 COPs have been plastic free.
EMS AND REDUCTION EFFORTS
The Secretariat is in the process of integrating UNEP's EMS. It is expected that this integration will be completed by the end of 2023. For the 2022 reporting year, BRS's EMS status is: Does not meet.
ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL SAFEGUARDS AND STANDARDS IN POLICIES, PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has initiated discussions on how to operationalize the Environmental & Social Safeguards and Standards (ESS) already developed by UNEP in its policies, projects and programmes. For the 2022 reporting year, BRS's status on ESS is: Yes.
ENVIRONMENTAL TRAINING FOR PERSONNEL
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions encouraged all staff to complete the Greening the Blue Tutorial. As of 1 October 2023, 25% of the staff have completed the Greening the Blue Tutorial and reported back to the sustainability focal points. For the 2022 reporting year, BRS's status on environmental training for personnel is: Yes, but it is voluntary.
ENVIRONMENTAL INVENTORY APPROACH
The Secretariat inventory report covers energy purchased, share of renewables and fossil fuels, refrigerants, water use and different types of waste and recyclables produced. Our results have been calculated through estimates, with data provided for the building, and considering the Secretary occupies 20% of the building. GHG emissions are also calculated using estimates from the building and number of travels funded by the Secretariat in 2022, in economy and business class.
The Secretariat of Basel, Rotterdarm and Stockholm Conventions has been climate neutral in 2022 by offsetting 100% of its net unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. This marks a decade of climate neutrality efforts by the Secretariat.
Offsetting has been done, in part, through the purchase of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the Adaptation Fund from the Clean Development Mechanism, through an agreement with the UNFCCC secretariat; and through the UN Voluntary Cancellation Platform.
The landlord has a systematic method for measuring, reporting and managing waste for the whole facility where BRS offices are located. This includes making available bins for waste separation in each floor. BRS calculates its waste generation by dividing the waste produced in the building by the surface it occupies in the building.
There has been an improvement in the procedures for waste management, with a larger number of materials being collected for recycling. For instance, the landlord is also now separating other types of plastic for recycling (soft plastics and sagex). However, with the gradual return to the office after the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the amount of waste generated.
WATER AND WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT
Water consumption is measured and informed by the landlord through the water bill. Each entity in the building calculates its own water consumption by dividing the water consumed in the building by the surface it occupies in the building. The method has no impact in water management.
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES
To facilitate the sharing of information and green tips in BRS offices, the Green Board Initiative has been in place since October 2013. Staff members are regularly informed via bulletin boards and through electronic communication on selected environmental sustainability topics and practical tips on how to go green at work. New topics are regularly addressed.
The Secretariat will continue encouraging staff to complete the Greening the Blue Tutorial.
Other activities may be identified once the EMS action plan is finalized, which will happen in 2023.