UNESCAP: Green Boards Help Raise Staff Awareness

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 strategic positions around the complex. Made entirely of recycled materials, they're there to keep everyone up to date on the energy-saving and other green projects currently under way around the organization, and also feature related articles, interesting data and reports.

The Green Boards are just one sign of UNESCAP's keenness to 'green' the organization's working culture. Efforts on this front date back to 2002, but they got a fresh boost in 2005 with the formation of a 'Green Office' working group, whose mission is to identify anything that could make any aspect of the staff's work and day-to-day practices more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Raising awareness is the key theme of a number of ongoing initiatives, designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental performance by providing appropriate guidance and promoting staff engagement.

All around the complex there are reminders to staff and visitors. All internal doors carry a sign saying they should be kept closed at all times, while everyday advice is on display at office entrances on how to help cut the organization's carbon footprint.

Recycling is much in evidence too. On every floor there are recycling stations with separate bins for office paper, magazines and brochures, plastic bottles, cans and batteries. Every workstation also has two bins, one for general waste and one for recyclables, since less of the recyclable material is spoiled if people can do the separation right at the beginning from their own desks. A monthly record of how much has been recycled on each floor is posted on the intranet to keep staff informed of the results of their efforts.

To reduce individual car use, the UNESCAP online discussion board has facilities to help organize car pools and messages of encouragement to staff to join them. A special notice board for posting car sharing requests and offers has also been placed in the main entrance of the Secretariat Building. In the car parks, too, there's no let-up in the campaign, with 50 display boards bearing information on environmental friendly travel behaviour and low emission transport alternatives.

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