World Food Programme (WFP)

HQ: Rome, Italy

Focal Point: Francesca Gavassini

Email: francesca.gavassini [at] wfp.prg


Key figures: Greenhouse gas emissions


Key Figures: Waste


Key Figures: Water




Assisting 82 million people in around 82 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.

WFP Strategic Objectives:

  • End hunger by protecting access to food
  • Improve nutrition
  • Achieve food security
  • Support SDG implementation
  • Partner for SDG results

Experience so far


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

In 2017, WFP reported 78,933 tCO2e for the UN Common Boundary; global emissions from all WFP premises, vehicles and passenger air travel. Factoring in optional emissions - from deliveries by WFP aviation operations (airlifts, airdrops and airfreight) and fugitive emissions from older air conditioning equipment - total reported emissions came to 338,352 tCO2e. Unlike most other UN bodies, some 98% of WFP’s GHG emissions come from field operations.

The nature of humanitarian work has particular emissions consequences: severe emergencies such as Syria 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. Emergency aviation services accounted for 78% of WFP’s total emissions in 2017. Almost 70% were from the South Sudan operation alone and 6% from Syria, both Level 3 emergencies. 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 continues to focus on reducing emissions wherever we can, especially across our facilities and vehicle fleets. Efficiency measures implemented by country offices since 2008 have reduced the emissions intensity of buildings and WFP-owned vehicles. 

WFP’s Environmental Policy (Feb 2017) commits the organization to “consistently respond to environmental risks and opportunities in its own activities”. Three tools are being rolled out to help WFP deliver measurable environmental gains: environmental standards or minimum requirements for all WFP’s activities; an environmental screening process for identifying and managing environmental impacts from programme and construction activities; and an environmental management system (EMS), consistent with ISO 14001, for recurrent activities in functional areas such as premises management, logistics and procurement. In 2017/2018, with SUN support, WFP piloted an EMS in its Kenya operations.


EMS and Reduction efforts


Environmental Management System (EMS)

Since being selected to pilot an environmental management system (EMS) with support from Sustainable UN, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and MSB Sweden, WFP Kenya has completed an Initial Environmental Review, appointed an EMS working group and steering committee, and taking a systematic approach to improve the environmental performance of its operations.
The WFP Kenya EMS covers the Nairobi Country Office and 8 field offices, including warehouses and accommodation facilities. The EMS team works side by side with other units – administration, procurement, engineering, supply chain and programme – to achieve more sustainable energy, waste and water management. Key focus areas are:

  • Solid waste management strategies to prevent environmental contamination and enable recycling at all locations, in cooperation with our partners;
  • Supply chain waste management (re-use, re-cycling, up-cycling, reverse logistics);
  • Office/accommodation upgrades to achieve higher resource efficiency and reduce waste;
  • Upgrades to generator housings to minimize risk and impacts of fuel and oil spills;
  • Development of procurement guidelines and technical specifications for more sustainable goods and services, as well as assistance with technical evaluations;
  • Energy assessments aimed at ensuring generators are correctly sized, fossil fuel consumption is reduced, and renewable energy systems are installed where appropriate;
  • Staff training and awareness on environment to foster behavioral change;
  • Innovation for waste and energy management;
  • Support to meet national environmental strategies.

WFP is preparing for wider roll-out of EMS using lessons learned from the Kenya pilot. 

Screening tool

As part of its Environmental Policy implementation, WFP has developed an environmental and social screening tool, which is currently being field-tested on construction projects and Food Assistance for Assets projects in Somalia, Kenya, Lesotho and Afghanistan. The tool will be rolled out progressively through 2019.

Key environmental improvements

Energy and facilities

  • 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.
  • HQ construction and refurbishment works were awarded LEED Platinum or Gold certification in 2017.
  • WFP’s Energy Efficiency Programme (EEP), supports country offices in identifying and implementing energy- and GHG-saving opportunities in field locations. The programme is partially funded by an internal carbon tax on the Global Vehicle Leasing Programme (GVLP). Implemented projects include energy-efficient lighting installations, solar PV, hybrid generator systems, and solar water heaters. Recipients of EEP support include the State of Palestine, Timor Leste, Chad, Kenya, Nigeria.
  • 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 lights, computers and printers for more than 80 staff.

Waste management

  • The Laos country office donates partially used paper to schools for children to draw on. Other creative waste sorting and recycling actions include 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
  • With support from RedR Australia, WFP is tackling motor vehicle workshop waste in 11 countries, to improve management and disposal of hazardous waste (e.g. batteries, tyres, spill prevention)
  • WFP Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda have started developing local recycling systems for supply chain waste including used cartons, jerry cans, polypropylene food bags, and oil tins.

Water management

  • WFP Kenya has installed a wastewater treatment plant in its Kakuma compound, and treated water is reused onsite for gardening.
  • Several drinking water filtration systems have been installed in Kenya field offices, leading to savings in water supply costs and plastic bottles.
  • WFP is including more water efficient fittings as standard in new office and accommodation designs, including low flow faucets and dual flush toilets, to reduce water consumption.

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 (UNHAS, airfreight, airlifts and airdrops); emissions from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in air conditioning units.




For the fourth year in a row, WFP is purchasing Adaptation Fund carbon credits through UNFCCC to offset all of its emissions from within the UN common boundary: global emissions from WFP owned/leased vehicles, generators, refrigerants, purchased electricity and steam, passenger air travel and public transport.


Waste Management


For the third year running, WFP has been collecting qualitative and quantitative data on waste. Initially targeting all Regional Bureaux, UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD) Liaison Offices (LOs) and volunteer Country offices. This year the exercise was expanded to include all WFP premises globally, data was collected through a survey completed by 61 countries. Reduction and improvement actions will be focused on key areas identified in the survey (i.e. development of waste management guidelines and trainings).

WFP is upgrading its waste management system in HQ in Rome, working with our contractors and staff to optimize waste differentiation across HQ.


Water Management


WFP has been collecting data on water use and wastewater disposal and this year received submissions from 61 countries. Reduction and improvement actions will focus on key areas identified in the survey such as development of waste management guidelines and staff training.


Other environmental measures


WFP is preparing new guidelines on sustainable procurement, waste, water and energy management. Environmental safeguards are being integrated into standard operating procedures and manuals (emergency preparedness and response, construction, administration). Awareness raising campaigns are delivered across offices worldwide: colleagues in more than 60 offices took part in World Environment Day activities to #BeatPlasticPollution in June 2018. 


Next steps


New integrated and interactive sustainability report details GHG emissions, waste and water results by country to all staff.

WFP HQ and Nairobi-based offices are committed to phase out single-use plastic (i.e. plastic straws, take away containers, plastic bags)


WFP Environmental Policy

Ready to Respond

WFP case studies