United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)


HQ: Madrid, Spain

Focal Point: Philippe Lemaistre


Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions



Key Figures: Waste




Secretary-General's Message


“UNWTO is fully committed towards reducing its carbon footprint with the ultimate aim of reaching climate-neutrality. At the same time, recalling that tourism is both a vector and a victim of climate change, we will continue to work with our Member States, and the sector at large, to ensure that we can make of tourism a leader in fighting climate change while ensuring that these actions contribute to enhancing the positive impact tourism has on socio-economic development around the world."

Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, UNWTO




The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations specialized agency entrusted with the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism..

UNWTO has a twofold mission:

  • to provide leadership to the entire tourism sector, serving as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism knowledge, and
  • to support its members in their efforts to develop tourism, improve competitiveness and achieve sustainability.

Experience so far


All actions taken by the UNWTO Secretariat regarding internal environmental issues are debated during the sessions of its legislative bodies, in order to engage and commit Member States to the climate-neutral objective. 


Reduction efforts

  • Coordination of trips has been improved to avoid overlaps (e.g. one person is entrusted with all the activities in the same country at one time).
  • UNWTO Headquarters’ material (light-bulbs, computers, etc.) has gradually been replaced by energy-efficient devices. In parallel, the use of printers has been optimized through better distribution and their number has been reduced.
  • A videoconference facility has been installed.
  • An internal environmental awareness-raising circular has been produced and distributed, including recommendations on reducing electricity consumption in offices and trips. 



UNWTO purchased CERs to offset its 2014 GHG emissions (532 tons). CERs correspond to a Wind Power Project.


Next steps


UNWTO has a very clear position on the importance of combating negative impacts of climate change and adapting to them.

The Organization will pursue its efforts to reduce its own emissions by raising awareness among its staff, encouraging more efficient travel, investing in energy-efficient material, etc.

UNWTO and sustainability