United Nations Volunteers (UNV)


HQ: Bonn, Germany

Focal Point: Svend Amdi Madsen


Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions



Key Figures: Waste




Executive Coordinator's Message


“Climate change impacts all of us. Addressing this challenge, while at the same time protecting the most vulnerable will require the ingenuity and solidarity of every citizen. Through voluntary action all of us can take responsibility and make a contribution. Taken together, all our small actions can lead to big results. UNV mobilizes volunteers to contribute onsite and online to peace and development, including tackling environmental challenges and building sustainable livelihoods."

Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator, UNV




Volunteering brings benefits to both society and the individual. It contributes to a more cohesive society by building trust and reciprocity among citizens.

The UNV programme supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism. It serves the causes of peace and development by enhancing opportunities for participation by all peoples. It is universal, inclusive and embraces volunteer action in all its diversity. It values free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity.


Experience so far

  • In the past few years, the UNV Green Team has sent out numerous Green Tips to all staff on subjects such as: water usage reduction, reduction of energy usage, reducing paper usage, proper recycling, etc. The Green Team also organized recycle bins for plastics, a battery and CD/DVD recycle deposit station (that can be used by all UN organizations in the building), and awareness activities through environmental movies.
  • The UNV Green Team also took the initiative to work with other green/environmental teams or focal points of the other UN entities in Bonn to discuss joint activities to reduce emission, increase staff awareness and promote cultural change.
  • The UN Bonn Green Team has negotiated the job-related public transit “jobticket” with the City of Bonn as well as the local transit company to encourage staff to use more public transport.
  • Reduction efforts
  • All our electricity is produced from renewable sources.
  • All printers are set to standard double-sided printing, always use recycled paper and black and white unless colour printing is necessary for comprehension.
  • UNV purchased multiple bicycles that staff can borrow during office hours.
  • As of January 2014, the implementation of the new UN travel policy will support our efforts to reduce UNVs travel footprint.

UNV is fully aware of the significant emissions which result from the travel of UNV volunteers from almost 160 different countries providing support to the work of the UN in more than 130 countries. In a globalized world where capacity-building is essential, UNV tries to promote South-South capacity-building in an environmentally conscious way.




UNV has been carbon neutral since 2012.


Next steps


UNV is committed to first analyze its climate footprint and then take the necessary steps to reduce and/or offset its emissions. To do so UNV participates in UNEP’s Sustainable United Nations (SUN) programme. Following the analysis UNV HQ will take the necessary steps, supported by the Green Team – UNV staff engaged voluntarily in greening the office, to reduce emissions where possible.

UNV case studies