Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

HQ: The Hague, Neth

Focal Point: Rutger van den Hoven 


Key Figures: Greenhouse gas emissions


Key Figures: Waste




The mission of the OPCW is to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in order to achieve the OPCW’s vision of a world that is free of chemical weapons and of the threat of their use, and in which cooperation in chemistry for peaceful purposes is fostered.

In doing this, our ultimate aim is to contribute to international security and stability, to general and complete disarmament, and to global economic development.To this end, the Secretariat proposes policies for the implementation of the CWC to the Member States, and develops and delivers programmes with and for them. These programmes have four broad aims:

  • to ensure a credible and transparent regime for verifying the destruction of chemical weapons and to prevent their re-emergence, while protecting legitimate national security and proprietary interests;
  • to provide protection and assistance against chemical weapons;
  • to encourage international cooperation in peaceful uses of chemistry; and
  • to bring about universal membership of the OPCW by facilitating international cooperation and national capacity building.

Experience so far

The OPCW has reduced its carbon emissions in the past years with close to 2,000 tCO2eq. A series of measures and sustainability initiatives have laid the foundation for this considerable reduction.

Reduction Efforts

The implementation of a methodology to measure greenhouse gas emissions and the insights this generated has inspired the OPCW to organically reduce its emissions in the course of the past years. Examples of such emission reduction measures are:

  • Sustainable procurement has become part of official procurement policy, procurement staff received sustainable procurement training, inclusion of sustainability criteria in technical scopes, e.g. catering contract and paper supply contract,
  • Video conferencing has become an accepted alternative to travel, notably all job interviews are conducted online,
  • Business class eligibility on official duty travel was changed from flights longer than 9 hrs to flights longer than 11 hrs,
  • Electricity is supplied by a sustainable and green energy supplier with a low carbon footprint (hydroelectric), excluding the use of non-sustainable resources,
  • The office building has been upgraded to meet the strictest local energy standard, i.e. by installing movement sensitive light switches, renovation of the HVAC installations and elevators, limiting heating/cooling to 3 degrees Celsius difference from regular inside office temperatures, and other measures,
  • New centralised multifunctional copiers/printers will introduce follow-me printing, and limit the number of printers and usage of paper,
  • All HQ waste is managed by a certified sustainable recycling company for the recycling of re-useable materials. 


The OPCW will offset all of its greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. To this end, the OPCW has concluded an agreement with UNFCCC for the purchase and cancellation of emission reduction certificates for all of its 3,583 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Waste Management

The waste management company which collects the OPCW HQ waste reports yearly to the OPCW on the per year collected waste per category. See the waste inventory spreadsheet for OPCW.

Next Steps

Possible next steps which will be considered are:

  • Investing in staff awareness
  • Paper smart conferencing
  • Staff mobility scheme, facilitating green commuting initiatives