United Nations Environment

 HQ: Nairobi, Kenya


 

 



Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions
 

Key Figures: Waste



N.B The greenhouse emissions attributed to UN Environment include that of a number of Multilateral Environment Agreement and Convention secretariats that participate in UN Environment's climate neutral strategy.

Mission
 

UN Environment's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Experience so far
 

UN Environment has been climate neutral since 1st January 2008. This was achieved by reducing greenhouse gas emissions as far as possible and procuring offsets to compensate for the remaining emissions. Offsets have been purchased as issued Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol.

The greenhouse gas inventory completed for UN Environment for 2007 helped us understand our footprint and identify where to focus reduction measures. The biggest source of emissions is from work related flights, consequently, efforts have been made to reduce flights by using e-communication technologies.

UN Environment’s Climate Neutral Strategy that also includes participation from a number of Multilateral Environment Agreement and Convention secretariats, is being reviewed in 2013 and the scope expanded to include the management of other environmental concerns such as water, energy and waste.

UN Environment’s work to support Climate Neutral UN has resulted in harmonized methodologies within UN, and inspired organizations within as well as outside the UN to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve improved sustainability.

49 UN organizations and three governments have already received or are receiving support from UN Environment, through provision of tools and methodologies, training, awareness raising, coordination and information sharing.

UN Environment also facilitated UN inter-agency groups on travel, facilities management, information and communications technology, and procurement work for low-carbon solutions.

Reduction efforts


In August 2015, UN Environment Executive Director signed the Environmental Policy Statement establishing an Environmental Management System (EMS) for UN Environment HQ and main offices around the world.

The EMS has identified as main environmental aspects to be systematically monitored and reduced i) GHG emissions (buildings + air travel); ii) Waste generation and management; iii) Fresh water use and management; iv) Staff awareness; v) Energy use and management.

The EMS is an important step forward towards greater environmental sustainability and management of UN Environment operations after the approval of the Climate Neutral Strategy in 2010, by which UN Environment set itself a target of reducing its emissions by 3 % year on year. Further progress in air travel emissions reduction is expected for 2015 based on the 5-10-15 UN Environment Executive Director’s Initiative.

The initiative aims at reducing by 5% air travel emissions in 2015 compared to 2014. This ambitious target is being implemented through a voluntary reduction in air travel, arrived at by senior management policy and encouragement. Healthy competition initiated by the per capita comparison of flight emissions of different UN Environment divisions as well as a tightening of UN Environment’s operational budget have resulted in a 23 % drop in emissions in 2014 as compared to 2010 (a peak year for flight emissions that claimed 94 % of the UN Environment overall GHG footprint).

Furthermore, since 2011 UN Environment HQ are located in a state-of the art green building (NOF); this move has resulted in a 50 % reduction of office emissions and a 25 % reduction of all facility based emissions despite the expansion of office areas and auxiliary buildings and plants.

The NOF building harnesses electricity from roof-top solar photovoltaic arrays, uses light wells, passive cooling, motion and lux sensors for efficient lighting operations and low-energy lighting fixtures to achieve energy and therefore emission reductions.

The EMS will focus on flight reductions, fine tune the NOF buildings operations, improve water and waste management at the compound in collaboration with the organization in charge of facilities management (UNON) and look at the use of biofuels in official vehicles; thereby reducing UN Environment’s footprint further.

Reduction achievements

 

  • 2010 Climate Neutral Strategy Goal: UN Environment met its goal of 3 % year on year reduction of emissions from 2010 - 2012 (in line with Kyoto)
  • Decline in business class travel from 25 % of all travel in 2009-2010, to 15 % in 2012, and now 6 % in 2014.
  • A data-gap for flights of UN Environment Office in Bangkok was closed in 2013. Overall, including the data- gap, UN Environment has reduced its climate footprint by 23 % from inception of its Climate Neutral Strategy in 2010 to 2014 (included).
  • Further progress in air travel emissions reduction is expected for 2015 based on the 5-10-15 UN Environment Executive Director’s Initiative. The initiative aims at reducing by 5% air travel emissions in 2015 compared to 2014.

Boundary
 

UN Environment IMP includes all emission produced by air travel (both for UN Environment Staff/consultants and participants sponsored by UN Environment to attend meetings) as well as building-related emissions. Emissions are reported for all UN Environment offices around the world including actual facilities data for the offices of more than 10 staff and extrapolated building emission data for smaller offices. The extrapolation is carried out based on the average per capita emissions across UN Environment larger offices (>10 staff) and multiplied by the number of staff in smaller offices. 2014 GHG inventory data included also information on waste. The overall amount of waste produced at the UN Gigiri compound level was normalized per capita and multiplied by the number of UN Environment staff in order to provide UN Environment share.

Offsetting


GHG emissions reduction efforts are followed by annual offsetting. In late 2012, UN Environment purchased 50,000 CERs to cover the emissions from 2010 to 2013 operation, and additional 25,000 CERs were purchased in 2014 to cover 2014, 2015 and part of 2016 emissions. Below detailed information on CERs usage from 2010 to 2014:
 

Operational year No. of CERs used
2010 13,505
2011 11,733
2012 9,877
2013 10,828
2014 10,313

Other environmental measures


Waste data for UN Environment HQ were obtained from the overall UN Gigiri Waste data. The overall amount of waste produced at the UN Gigiri compound level was normalized per capita and multiplied by the number of UN Environment staff in order to provide UN Environment share.
 

Waste type Amount Unit Method of disposal
Paper/cardboard 7,607 kg Recycled
Plastic 669 kg Recycled
Metal 115 kg Recycled
Other 45,045 kg Landfill

Next Steps
 

  • Implementation of the EMS Action Plans in the field of waste, water, energy, air travel and staff awareness.
  • Promotion of Green events such as the Green Week on the occasion of World Environment Day
  • Partnership with Facilities Managers at UN Environment HQ and in the offices around the world for improved Environmental Management and Sustainability.
  • Focus on Green meetings (see MAP/UN Environment)

 

UN Environment case studies
UN Environment and sustainability