Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

HQ: Montreal, Canada

Focal Point: Paulo Tagliari  


Key Figures: Greenhouse gas emissions*

*CBD’s total and per capita emissions fluctuate considerably between consecutive years. This is because its air travel related emissions are heavily affected by its biannual cycle of activities, in particular the biannual meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention and the Parties to its Protocols (COP and COP-MOPs), and related precursory meetings, for which the CBD Secretariat, through dedicated Trust Funds, successfully facilitates the travel and participation of a large number of participants from developing-country Parties.  

Executive Secretary's message


"Climate change is having a major impact on biodiversity, with negative consequences for our future well-being. However, biodiversity and the ecosystem services it supports, provides major solutions to mitigating climate-change and adapting to its impacts. The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity is committed to fulfill its mandate to assist Parties to conserve, sustainably use and benefit from biodiversity, whilst at the same time reducing its carbon footprint."

Ms. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, PhD
Executive Secretary, CBD



The objectives of the Convention are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding.


Experience so far


The CBD's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint are part of a wider strategy to green its operations.  The plan for this was originally presented at CBD COP 9 in 2008 and includes a number of measures which have subsequently been increased and modified to improve environmental management.


Reduction efforts


The Secretariat has undertaken measures to reduce the emissions that result from its activities.  The Secretariat has also worked on a number of measures to improve its environmental performance such as: 

  • The CBD adopted video conferences and online workshop practices. This policy is prioritized during the formulation of capacity building activities and for representing the CBD at the international fora.
  • Since 2014, with the implementation of the PrintSmart Initiative, all meetings’ documents are distributed on demand only, with a download option, resulting in over 80% reduction in paper consumption during CBD’s COPs, COP-MOPs and Subsidiary Bodies’ meetings. We keep working to achieve Zero Paper meetings.
  • Decision 23, COP 13, recognized the need for a more integrated and coherent approach to capacity-building and technical and scientific cooperation in supporting the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols as well aiming to reduce air travels for organizing the workshops.
  • The CBD follows the UN policy for air travels. The decision about the venues for organizing the CBD meetings considers the cost of the tickets (round-trip air tickets on the most economical and direct route) and distance between the participating Parties to minimize GHG emissions. 

In the location of the CBD Secretariat (Quebec, Canada), electricity is primarily generated by hydro-electric generation. 98% of Hydro Quebec power is generated by renewable sources, which leads to relatively low emissions for electricity usage.

  • In addition, the building management in charge of the Secretariat offices (World Trade Centre, Montréal) has specific reduction efforts in place, including: Measures to reduce exchange of temperature for better insulation such as double glazing is introduced to the building.
  • The office is equipped with automatic energy savers such as timers for light control, thermostats for temperature control inside offices, etc.

The building is using relatively improved traction elevators to reduce energy consumption. The number of elevators is relatively low (only two elevators giving access to CBD’s offices) which also help in reducing energy consumption.


Inventory Management Plans


The building in which the Secretariat is located has a green building certification.

BOMA BEST Certification level: Platinum

BOMA BEST is Canada’s largest environmental assessment and certification programme for existing buildings. It is a unique, voluntary programme designed by industry for industry; it provides owners and managers with a consistent framework for assessing the environmental performance and management of existing buildings of all sizes. 




Since 2008, the State Government of Paraná in Brazil committed to offset all carbon emissions arising out of the CBD Secretariat's operations since the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP), including the travel of funded Party representatives to attend official CBD meetings. The commitment was made at the CBD COP 9 in Bonn, Germany, in a memorandum of cooperation signed on 27 May 2008. The off-setting programme is still in operation and the agreement is expected to cover CBD’s carbon emissions until at least December 2020. 

The Reforestation Programme supports the restoration of ecosystems associated with the original Atlantic Rain Forest, protects river borders from erosion, and creates a buffer zone for the protected areas around Foz do Iguaçu National Park.

In light of the above, no offsets were purchased though the CDM 2016. The carbon emissions of the CBD are largely below the amount of Carbon eq. generated from the above mentioned programme.  


Waste management


Major meetings of the Convention have begun to use a Print Smart approach to document production. The Secretariat has developed a PrintSmart application which allows meeting participants to download in-session documents or to print on demand and collect their copies at a central kiosk. Furthermore, pre-session documents are no longer made available at the meetings in paper format but are available online for downloads or distributed in USB keys when requested. These practices have resulted in reductions of more than 60% in paper usage compared to previous practices and have also impacted in the reduction of paper waste. Staff members are encouraged not to print and printers set to double-sided printing.

Other measures to manage and reduce waste include:
  • Take-back clauses included in procurement contracts.
  • Provision of mains-fed filtered water to reduce plastic bottle use.
  • The building management in charge of the Secretariat offices has reliable monitoring and reporting of waste types and amounts and has adopted a waste management policy that takes advantage of opportunities for recycling and re-use. World Trade Centre Montréal, will be expanding waste management program in order to work toward our 70% waste diversion target for 2018. Note that current rate stands at under 40%.
  • Polystyrene packaging and containers were eliminated from restaurants in the food court.

CBD case studies