United Nations University (UNU)


Tokyo, Japan

Focal Point: Takeshi Sato

Email: Takeshi.sato [at] unu.edu


Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions



Key figures: Waste


Key Figures: Water


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




The mission of the UN University is to contribute, through collaborative research and education, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States.


Experience so far


As an ISO 14001 accredited institution since January 2001, the United Nations University sets out goals in its environmental policy statement. These goals are implemented through a comprehensive plan that contains objectives and measurable targets, with monitoring, review, self-assessment, and analysis of performance against the plan.

Corrective action, whenever needed, is taken, and all personnel are encouraged to participate in an open dialogue on how best to improve the environmental performance and the EMS of the University. Maintaining the organisation’s EMS is a commitment made by all UN system organisation under the “Greening the Blue initiative of UN”, which aims to achieve climate neutrality of all the UN system organisations by 2020.


EMS and Reduction efforts


Among UNU’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions made in connection with maintaining ISO 14001, UNU Centre:

  • Carries out a “Cool UNU” campaign every summer (which includes setting air-conditioning thermostats at 28°C, promoting the wearing of light business-casual clothing, etc.) and a “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.)
  • Monitors the Headquarters Building’s utility consumption (water, gas, and electricity) and the consumption of printer and copy machine paper



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


As part of its commitment to the ideals and practices of environmental sustainability, UNU has established four goals for the continual improvement of University’s environmental performance and for the prevention of pollution — two concerned with “greening” and two focused on “making a contribution”. These goals are to:

  • bring about environmental improvements in our work practices (such as promoting “green” procurement, complying with environmental laws, reducing waste and energy consumption, etc.)
  • improve the quality of the working environment (including internal air quality, water quality, light, and workplace health and safety)
  • Contribute to the global community through our research projects and capacity building efforts
  • Contribute to the local community through our activities and events

UNU and sustainability