United Nations University (UNU)

www.unu.edu

HQ:
Tokyo, Japan

Focal Point: Nobuyuki Kawade

 

Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions


 

Key figures: Waste


 
 

Under-Secretary-General's Message

 

"The environment and the sustainable use of natural resources is at the heart of the work carried out by the United Nations University. Nearly half of the University's research institutes focus principally or exclusively on environmental protection, and all UNU's postgraduate programmes either centre on environmental protection or feature it prominently. Complementing UNU’s research and training in the area of sustainable development are working practices that seek to limit emissions and contribute to a greener workplace.”

Dr. David Malone, Under-Secretary-General & Rector, UNU

 

Mission

 

The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States.

 

Experience so far

 

A significant reduction in CO2 emissions was achieved through the combined efforts undertaken in connection with the environmental certification process ISO 14001, such as utilities consumption monitoring and the Cool UNU Campaign.

The mileage travelled by individual personnel using international fights has been steadily decreasing from 2006 to 2011. While there is a conscious effort to reduce CO2 emissions from this source, the decrease in the distance travelled was found to be closely linked to the cut in the budget allocated for international travels.

One impediment hindering the emission reduction efforts from this source is the preference of people to face-to-face meetings over facing a computer monitor when discussing issues. The UNU has implemented the Cool UNU campaign in July to September 2011 and temperature monitoring data had been collected, analyzed and interpreted.

The UNU Headquaters, being located in Tokyo where summer weather is characterized by high relative humidity and high atmospheric temperature, incurs the highest energy consumption levels in the summer months mainly due to air-conditioning. This is seen as a major obstacle in the campaign as people are less willing to work in warm and humid environment.

 

Reduction efforts

 

UNU’s reduction efforts have been made in connection with maintaining ISO 14001, the environmental certification that requires environmental management system to achive sustainability.

  • The UNU-Centre has carried out the Cool UNU campaign every summer (setting of air-conditioning thermostats at 28°C, promotion of wearing light business casual clothing, and using electric fan instead of air-conditioner, etc.) and warm UNU campaign every winter (setting of air-conditioning thermostats at 20°C, promotion of wearing suitable indoor winter clothes and thick socks, and using lap-blanket, etc.)
  • Monitoring of utility consumption (water, gas, and electricity) and the consumption of copy paper.
  • Monitoring of CO2 emissions from international travels of university administration and staff.
 

Reducation achievements

 

A significant reduction in CO2 emissions has been achieved at UNU through the combined efforts undertaken in connection with the environmental certification process ISO 14001, such as utilities consumption monitoring and the Cool UNU Campaign.

The emissions have been on a declining trend year by year. The total CO2 emissions from electricity, gas, water, copy paper, and travel were 1,329 tons in 2014, which showed a significant decline from 1,826 tons in 2007.

Emissions from the consumption of copy paper were 3.2 tons in 2014. Even though this amount is slightly higher than the previous years, it is largely lower than 2007 when 7 tons of CO2 were emitted from the paper consumption.

Emissions from international travels were 402 tons in 2014, which showed a large decrease from the previous year’s 590 tons. However, this amount is higher than that of 2011, when the emissions from this source were only 273 tons and the smallest in the past few years. While the mileage travelled by individual personnel using international fights was steadily decreasing from 2006 to 2011, it went back to the 2008 level in the recent years. One of the impediments hindering the emission reduction efforts from this source is the preference of people to face-to-face meetings over facing a computer monitor when discussing issues.

Reduction of utility consumption has been successful since 2011 by the energy saving campaigns in reaction to the electricity shortages in Tokyo. Emissions from electricity, gas, and water consumption remain much lower in the past few years than the 2000s.

In 2014, the CO2 emissions from the electricity consumption were the smallest in the past decade. The amount of the electricity consumption was only 1,807,532 kwh, whereas the average of the emissions between 2005 and 2013 is 2,0371,65 kwh.  The UNU has implemented the Cool UNU campaign from July to September, and its temperature monitoring data has been collected, analyzed and interpreted. The UNU Headquarters, located in Tokyo which experiences high humidity and atmospheric temperature in summer, incurs the highest energy consumption levels in the summer months mainly due to air-conditioning. Therefore, continuous efforts of Cool UNU campaign are essential to reduce CO2 emissions.

 

Offsetting

 

The UNU ISO team continues to consider climate offset options through which investments should be made to promote green infrastructures in developing countries rather than developed countries.

 

Next steps

 

The UNU as an ISO 14001 accredited institution set out goals in its environmental policy statement that will be implemented through a comprehensive plan containing objectives and measurable targets and with monitoring, review, self-assessment and analysis of performance against the plan. Corrective action, whenever appropriate, would be taken and all personnel are encouraged to participate in an open dialogue on how best to improve the environmental performance and environmental management system of the University.

UNU and sustainability