World Food Programme (WFP)

HQ: Rome, Italy

Focal Point: Georgina Stickels


Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions


Key Figures: Waste




Assisting 80 million people in around 80 countries each year, the World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. 

Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals – Zero Hunger – pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and is the priority of the World Food Programme.

Our vision: five steps to Zero Hunger 

  • Put the furthest behind, first
  • Pave the road from farm to market
  • Reduce food waste
  • Encourage a sustainable variety of crops
  • Make nutrition a priority, starting with a child’s first 1000 days

Experience so far


WFP has been reporting its global GHG emissions since 2008 and has been engaged in piloting the waste and water inventories from their outset. WFP has been Climate Neutral since 2014.

In 2016, WFP reported 82,170 tCO2e for the UN Common Boundary, which includes emissions from all WFP premises and owned vehicles, and passenger air travel. By adding optional emissions covering deliveries made through WFP aviation operations (airlifts, airdrops and airfreight), and fugitive emissions from air conditioning equipment, total reported emissions amounted to 279,658 tCO2e. Unlike most other UN bodies, around 95% of WFP’s GHG emissions come from field operations.

The nature of the work of humanitarian agencies is impacting emissions: severe emergencies such as Syria, Yemen and South Sudan often require desperate measures in order to save lives, including flying in goods and people when conflict or weather conditions make roads unsafe or impassable.

Almost 65% of total emissions were from the South Sudan operation alone and 8% from Syria, two Level 3 emergencies requiring mobilisation of WFP global response capabilities.

In 2016, WFP’s emergency aviation services responded to severe emergencies where conflict, often exacerbated by weather conditions, impeded road access, further driving up emissions. If Level 3 emergencies were to stop tomorrow, WFP’s emissions would shrink by three quarters.

Projects such as the construction of roads in South Sudan, and the opening of a new land corridor to cities in Syria seek to reduce reliance on air transport.

WFP’s focus continues to be on reducing greenhouse gas emissions wherever we can, and especially across our facilities and vehicle fleets. The emissions intensity of buildings and WFP-owned vehicles has diminished since 2008 as a result of various efficiency measures implemented by country offices. Without the range of projects implemented across WFP to reduce environmental impacts (such as those noted below), WFP's GHG emissions would be even higher.

This year has seen the approval of WFP’s new Environmental Policy and Climate Change Policy, and, through its active engagement in the environment in emergencies networked initiatives and emergency preparedness, WFP as part of the humanitarian community, is working to integrate environmental considerations throughout the humanitarian response cycle.

WFP’s Environmental Policy (2017) was approved by its Executive Board in early 2017, committing to “consistently respond to environmental risks and opportunities in its own activities”. Key principles will guide how WFP implements the policy, including systematic consideration of the environment, sustainable consumption and life-cycle thinking. Three tools, currently under development, will help WFP deliver measurable environmental gains: environmental standards, which will define essential protection measures and minimum expectations for all WFP’s activities; an environmental risk screening and categorisation process, for identifying and managing environmental risks in programme and construction activities; an environmental management system (EMS), consistent with the international standard, ISO 14001, for recurrent activities in functional areas such as premises management, logistics and procurement, currently being piloted in Kenya. 

2017 also saw the publication of WFP’s Climate Change Policy, which ‘defines how WFP will contribute to efforts to prevent climate change and climate-related shocks from exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and risks and undermining progress towards ending hunger and malnutrition. The policy provides WFP staff with guiding principles and programmatic options for integrating activities to address climate change into their work, with a focus on supporting adaptation and reducing loss and damage from climate extremes’. 


Reduction efforts


Since its selection to pilot an environmental management system (EMS) with support from Sustainable UN and MSB Sweden, WFP Kenya has completed anInitial Environmental Review to establish baseline performance and identify significant environmental aspects of its operations. EMS implementation continues, with the aim of reducing both emissions as well as other negative environmental impacts. 

To coincide with the launch of its Environmental Policy and Climate Change Policy, WFP organised an environmental showcase at Headquarters in 2017, raising awareness among staff and Executive Board Members. Highlights included: live demonstrations of energy saving lights; metering to measure and save energy use, and solar power in action in Somalia; sampling food cooked on fuel efficient stoves as part of the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) initiative; the ICAO meeting calculator that determines the optimal location for a meeting in terms of CO2 emissions, for participants from any mix of duty stations; hazardous waste protection kits, like those being recommended for our vehicle workshops, worldwide; an interactive map that explores how different scenarios of global GHG emissions and adaptation efforts could change the geography of food insecurity in developing countries; a virtual reality simulation, where you decide when and how to intervene to reduce the impact of a natural disaster.

At headquarters, through a joint tender with other Rome-based agencies—FAO and IFAD—WFP has been procuring electricity from renewable energy, certified by guarantee of origin, since 2009.

Several HQ construction and refurbishment works were awarded LEED Platinum or Gold certification in 2017. During this work,  ‘green building’ practices were implemented including the use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) adhesive paints to ensure air quality; a roof garden was planted on 100 percent of the walkable area of the roof of the childcare centre, for natural insulation; sustainable transport, another part of LEED certification, is also encouraged at WFP HQ. Bicycle racks, dedicated showers, changing rooms and lockers have been provided for cyclists.

WFP is continuing to implement its Energy Efficiency Programme (EEP), supporting country offices in identifying energy-saving and GHG-saving opportunities in field locations. The programme is partially funded by a tax on the Global Vehicle Leasing Programme (GVLP): this is WFP’s current internal carbon tax mechanism for funding internal energy saving measures. After conducting a simple survey and collecting energy consumption data via remote online monitoring, the EEP team will help identify a series of no-cost, low-cost and, where practical, capital investment projects, which may include energy-efficient lighting installations, solar PV, hybrid generator systems, and solar water heaters.

Through the EEP, the Country office for the State of Palestine purchased and installed LED energy-saving lighting for the interior and exterior of the country office, three sub-offices and a WFP warehouse. A grid-tied solar energy installation in UN shared premises in Dili (Timor Leste) is already operational, contributing CO2e savings of over 40 tonnes per year. Since 2008 when GHG emissions reporting began, Afghanistan operations have reduced diesel fuel consumption by 25% and GHG emissions by 16%, by retrofitting nearly 2,000 energy efficient security floodlights and office lights, installing solar power at remote sites, and using new software to improve fleet management.New EEP grant applications were recently approved for: hybrid power systems in the Damaturu and Maiduguri sub-offices in Nigeria, to support security lights and IT servers (with estimated lifetime CO2e savings of over 1,000 tonnes for each system); an improved battery bank for the guesthouse compound in Bol (Chad); and energy efficient equipment (including solar air conditioners, water heaters and LED lights) for the Mazar (Afghanistan) sub-office, with estimated lifetime CO2eq savings of over 1,000 tonnes.

The inauguration in February 2017 of the new Geeldoh bridge (Ethiopia), built by WFP, is expected to dramatically improve the fuel efficiency of every convoy into key destinations in the Somali region. Spanning the Wabe-Shebele River, it was built to reduce travel time by WFP’s food aid trucks from the regional capital of Jijiga to Salahad and Lagahida districts by over 800 km, saving two days and 3.2 tonnes of CO2e per trip.

A light vehicle driver training programme has, since 2009, trained about 2,000 WFP drivers from more than 50 countries in fuel efficient driving and improving vehicle maintenance, to reduce GHGs and running costs while optimizing vehicle safety.  Other UN organizations have put a further 800 drivers through WFP’s programme. 

Country offices continue to implement concrete energy saving initiatives. Below are just a few examples:

  • WFP’s office in Kathmandu (Nepal) has put in place a major energy-efficiency drive and been operating on a grid-tied solar system since 2010, powering all of the lights, computers and printers for more than 80 staff, which at the time was the biggest urban grid-interactive solar project in Nepal. 
  • Green Champions in Dakar’s Regional Bureau (Senegal) identified some key areas where efficiency gains could be made and implemented an awareness raising campaign and a range of actions such as adjusting temperature settings on air-conditioning thermostats, switching off vehicle air-conditioning systems and changing printer settings.
  •  Starting from a recycling initiatives three years ago, WFP staff in the Dar es Salaam country office (Tanzania) have been reducing their consumption of electricity, water and paper, thanks to a daily pop-up message campaign (full story can be read here)
  • The Laos country office, in conversation with a school for children with disabilities that requested WFP’s assistance, has started donating partially used paper on which children can draw. Other creative waste sorting and recycling including the separation and sale of plastic, glass and bottles, and the composting of organic waste which is then used as fertiliser in the Country Office garden

Inventory Management Plans


WFP reports GHG emissions from all its global operations, according to the ‘Operational Control’ approach, as defined in the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, Revised Edition, 2004, (page 18), for the following scopes:

Scope 1: Stationary Combustion (generator fuel, heating fuel) for all known leased/owned/donated in-kind premises; mobile Emissions for all owned/leased vehicles; refrigerant emissions from air conditioning systems;

Scope 2: purchased electricity, heat and steam for all known leased/owned/donated in-kind premises

Scope 3: business travel including commercial air travel and public transport for duty travel; WFP aviation services (airfreight, airlifts and airdrops, and WFP staff passengers using the UN Humanitarian air services (UNHAS) and other humanitarian air services; emissions from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in air conditioning units.




WFP is offsetting 2016 emissions amounting to 82,170 tCO2e, corresponding to total emissions under the UN Common boundary. For WFP this includes global emissions from WFP-owned vehicles, stationary combustion, refrigerants, purchased electricity and steam, air travel and public transport, for all premises including HQ, regional bureaux, country offices and warehouses). Offsets will be made up 377 tonnes of EUETS emissions from aviation, and 81,793 tonnes of Adaptation Fund cancelled Certified Emission Reduction (CER) from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, channelling funds to adaptation projects in developing countries. Through the funding of adaptation actions in several sectors including coastal zone management, food security, and disaster risk reduction, WFP’s contribution helps to build the resilience of communities to future weather disasters.




For the second year running, WFP has been collecting qualitative and quantitative data on waste as part of the UN environmental reporting initiative. Initially targeting all Regional Bureaux and UN Humanitarian Response Depot Depots (UNHRD), this year the exercise was expanded to include all Liaison Offices (LOs) and volunteer Country offices.

WFP is upgrading its waste management system in the Rome-based HQ, working with our contractors to optimise waste differentiation across HQ.

WFP deployed a hazardous waste expert to review its vehicle workshops in vulnerable countries including Afghanistan, South Sudan and Chad. These missions provided recommendations for low and no cost improvements to workshop waste management, and delivered training to more than 200 personnel in 11 countries on safe vehicle servicing and waste management. Hazardous waste management guidelines are being developed for rolling out standard operating procedures in field locations.  


Other environmental measures


As well as the waste data collected as part of the UN environmental inventory exercise, in 2017 WFP has also been piloting the collection of data on water use and wastewater disposal, at 22 sites.

A Waste Water Recycling Plant was installed and is now up-and-running in Kakuma, Kenya, catering for 60 persons in WFP’s sub-office, providing all the necessary sewage and waste water treatment required, and the water is reused in irrigating trees, landscaping and vegetable gardening.

WFP is conducting trainings and preparing new guidelines on sustainable procurement, with the long term objectives to incorporate sustainable procurement principles into WFP’s procurement procedures and support delivery in practice.

WFP has been developing methodologies for reporting Scope 3 emissions from third party contracted freight (air, land and sea transport). This includes work done as part of the interagency ‘Ready to Respond’ project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), identifying and documenting preparedness activities that improve the humanitarian response as well as reduce emissions. WFP worked in collaboration with Nissan on a methodology to routinely quantify food-related supply chain emissions from shipping and contracted overland transport across all operations. 


Next steps


Through the roll-out of its environmental policy, WFP will be looking to deliver environmental improvement projects more widely across its global operations. This will include using data from our work to pilot waste and water reporting to identify and manage environmental risks in these areas, and working at interagency level to systematically improve management of hazardous waste. 


WFP Environmental Policy

Ready to Respond

WFP case studies