Case Studies

Over the last two years power outages in Eritrea have been very erratic, thus adversely affecting the operations of the UN system in Eritrea. Though some UN agencies own standby generators, this has not helped to alleviate the problem. The reason is...
WFP's Armenia office had a dilemma. Their ageing, inefficient air conditioning system needed replacing. On offer were a cheap unit that uses the coolant Freon, which causes holes in the Ozone layer of the Earth's atmosphere, or a more expensive unit...
In one sense at least, the Copenhagen conference on climate change was a big success. The 13-day gathering in the Danish capital in December 2009 ended with an international accord that arguably fell well short of expectations in terms of a new...
You can hardly fail to notice the Green Boards at the Bangkok headquarters of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). There's one at the main entrance, another in the lobby by the lifts, and others in...
Videoconferencing is becoming a key resource in the drive to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), where a climate neutral initiative has set the goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2020...
Signing up to become climate neutral, and starting with a 'green' global conference, is like learning to swim by diving in the deep end. But that didn't deter the secretariat of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (...
Personal engagement at the top can be crucial in making an organization's policies, its staff behaviour and its whole ethos more sustainable. As Executive Coordinator of United Nations Volunteers (UNV) since February 2008, Flavia Pansieri has not...
When travel is by far your biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions, how much can be cut? At the UNAIDS programme the Executive Director has committed to reducing travel by 25% over the next biennium across the whole organization – where it...
Across the United Nations, agencies are finding that travel policies first introduced to control costs are a valuable tool for delivering environmental benefits too. That is certainly what is happening at the International Organization for Migration...
You would expect it to be green, and the International Environment House (IEH) doesn't disappoint. A recent USD 3.1 million retrofit has helped gain it the coveted MINERGIE certificate – a Swiss standard for building materials and energy efficiency...
After four years of preparation, in June 2008, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) moved into its new headquarters in Rome, uniting the formerly three IFAD locations to one. The aim was to reduce the organization’s impact on...
Turning its need to relocate to maximum advantage, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) now has a refurbished 'green' office suite it can be really proud of. Housed in an 11-storey building in...
The United Nations is getting a grip on the greenhouse gases (GHG) it generates. In an unprecedented joint effort, the whole UN system has compiled an inventory of its annual emissions. The total – the equivalent of 1.7 million tonnes of carbon...
The newest addition to the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) should be a real showcase of sustainability. Destined to host the global headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat, it has the distinction of...
Operating on only a small budget, an easily replicated 'green' awareness-raising initiative at the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) could serve as a showcase for the entire UN system.
A lot of the UN's work is done through conferences, and they're obviously meant to have an impact. Their environmental impacts, on the other hand, are rightly under critical scrutiny. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has made it a...
Alireza Ghaemi is head of Building Management Services (BMS) at the Vienna International Centre (VIC). More to the point, he's the man responsible for leading on the making this massive complex more sustainable, and pioneering an innovative special...
Something had to be done about the UN Vienna International Centre (VIC). To put it bluntly, after 20 years of operation, it no longer came up to scratch. Its environmental performance left a lot to be desired.
When UN agencies were asked to identify the biggest element in their environmental footprint, the World Bank's answer was paper. All those reports and exchanges of written information at the core of the Bank’s work use tonnes and tonnes of it.
Aware of its exposure to climate change and the need to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the World Bank Group has set up a detailed GHG inventory system to track emissions across its worldwide operations. This not only tells it precisely...
One of the first UN organizations to get to grips with greenhouse gas emissions accounting, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has pioneered a procedure for offsetting the emissions it can't avoid. Having committed itself to become...
The United Nations is currently engaged in a five-year project to renovate its headquarters in New York.  This so-called Capital Master Plan (CMP) is a massive undertaking. How the CMP team went about raising and running the USD 1.9 billion...
Thanks to a renovation programme carried out to the highest environmental standards in the summer of 2008, the 10th floor of an office block occupied by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) became the first UN office in New York to win...
A UN office in Slovakia became a real powerhouse  of renewable energy when its solar system of 170 photovoltaic (pv) panels went live in October 2009.
Podgorica has never had anything like it. And the ultra-green UN building that is going up in the city is an exciting new project for the United Nations too. Designed to be completely self-sufficient in energy, it's the first zero emissions office...
Plans for a Green One UN House in Hanoi say a lot about the aspirations of the United Nations. The energy-saving and wider environmental credentials of the building itself, the future home for all 16 branches of the UN family working in Vietnam,...
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal obtained Canada’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification for Existing Buildings (LEEDEB) in 2007. ICAO’s headquarters is the first UN premise...
The new World Meteorlogical Organization (WMO) headquarters building reflects the organization’s commitment to environmental protection and energy efficient management. A system of Canadian wells runs vertically through the building, through which...