International Trade Centre (ITC)

Geneva, Switzerland

Focal Point: Alexander Kasterine

Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions


Executive Director's message:

"Climate change is a critical development challenge and an increasing threat to SMEs in developing countries. In response, ITC has developed our Strategy on Mainstreaming Environmental Sustainability, providing an Aid for Trade approach for our SME clients to strengthen their resilience to climate change. Under this approach, ITC promotes sustainability, transparency, and harmonization in supply chains to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. ITC has also made substantial changes to our own operations. We have invested to increase the energy efficiency of our facilities. Furthermore, ITC continues to pursue new approaches to mitigate emissions in every element of our operations."

Arancha González, Executive Director, ITC


ITC's mission is to foster inclusive and sustainable growth and development through trade and international business development. To achieve this, ITC aims to:

  • Strengthen the integration of the business sector of developing countries and economies in transition into the global economy
  • Improve the performance of trade and investment support institutions for the benefit of SMEs
  • Improve the international competitiveness of SMEs

Experience so far

ITC is actively working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from buildings and facilities management are continuously being reduced through a number of ongoing projects related to the building’s heating/cooling systems, IT equipment and policies, lighting systems and recycling facilities.

Regarding travel, ITC is working to raise awareness among ITC staff and consultants. Each time a flight reservation is made at ITC, the staff or consultant is informed of the carbon footprint associated with the proposed trip.

ITC staff and consultants have been provided with a desktop guide with practical tips on how to green their missions, their commute to work, their office, and their lunch and coffee breaks.

ITC is also working to promote climate-friendly behaviour for the commute to work. The capacity for bicycle parking has been increased and an annual survey monitors staff commuting habits.

Reduction efforts

ITC is taking a number of actions to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the key mitigation efforts include:


  • Introduction of videoconferencing as an alternative to travelling to meetings,
  • Instruction to travel agents to report on the CO2 emissions for each ticket booked to increase awareness among staff,
  • Launch of online platforms to enable the deployment of experts regionally to reproduce ITC knowledge and skills.

Building and facilities

  • Installation of a mixed gas/fuel heating system which is more environmentally friendly than traditional fuel heating systems,
  • Installation of a dedicated device for the regulation and optimization of heating during winter time,
  • Optimization of the cooling system in offices and the building’s ventilation system,
  • Renovation of ITC lifts to optimize energy savings,
  • Systematic replacement of current lighting with low energy light bulbs,
  • Nightly checks of office space to make sure lights and equipment are shut off,
  • Reduction of the number of standalone printers and replacement with more efficient models,
  • Introduction of a smart-card system for printing,
  • Configuration of printers for default two-sided gray scale printing,
  • Selection of FSC and 100% recycled paper.
  • A revolving door has been installed at the ITC entrance, helping to regulate the building’s temperature and reduce energy use;
  • Increased efficiency of the server room;
  • Installation of an automated system to completely switch off all electronic devices when not in use at night;
  • Installation of a new energy efficient lighting system.

Reduction achievements

Between 2012 and 2014 ITC reduced its facilities related emissions by nearly 45%. In addition, most of the remaining facilities related emissions are offset through a utility-based programme. 


ITC purchases fully offset natural gas and electricity from the Geneva utility, SIG. SIG offsets its emissions with projects regional programmes and international Gold Standard offsetting projects. As a result, all electricity use and most heating is carbon neutral.

Next steps

TC has a number of projects planned to improve the environmental sustainability of the organization:

  • Increased efficiency of the server room;
  • Installation of an automated system to completely switch off all electronic devices when not in use at night;
  • Installation of a new lighting system.

For more information visit the ITC website