Environment and climate change

Greening UNICEF

ROSA Office goes green

A vision for the future: towards a carbon neutral UNICEF

Environmental sustainability is vital to sustainable development. UNICEF is dedicated to addressing environmental sustainability in its management and operations, in line with the United Nations Carbon Neutral Strategy which foresees for all agencies to:


  • Assess their greenhouse gas emissions
  • Undertake efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Explore the cost feasibility of purchasing carbon offsets to reach carbon neutrality

As part of its greening strategy, UNICEF has been stepping up its efforts to systematically green the organization, including reporting and investing in energy and resource efficient facilities and operations.

UNICEF's 2014 organization-wide environmental footprint assessment showed that UNICEF's overall emissions amounted to 66,915 tCO2eq. This translates into 4.81 tCO2 per personnel. Here is a breakdown of UNICEF emissions by source:

Numerous offices have also taken action to reduce their emissions, for example by taking energy efficiency measures in facilities, installation of solar panels, and promoting the reduction of air travel. In order to allow for investments in greening and accessibility of its premises and for offsetting of our emissions, UNICEF has imposed an organisation-wide 3% surcharge on all air travel tickets issued by the organisation since September 2015.

Please find here some examples of greening initiatives by UNICEF country offices:   


  • UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) located in Kathmandu, Nepal, was one of the first UNICEF offices to become carbon neutral through fully embracing solar power. The newly revamped compound has undergone a dramatic green transformation. As part of the complete overhaul of the office during 2013, solar panels were installed to power all electronic equipment, lights and fans. Solar panels have saved 41% in annual electricity costs and has helped the office contend with power cuts. This is significant in Kathmandu, a city that has scheduled power outages for up to 16 hours per day, all year round. The office has also put in place various measures to reduce energy consumption, for example, installing double glazed windows, and switching to a more fuel-efficient back-up generator. Waste is being reduced through composting and recycling. The environmental footprint is an issue regularly discussed at the office, and ROSA is working with all staff to ensure that they are fully aware of their personal carbon footprints at work and at home. Through the Inter-Agency Operations Management Team, which brings together 15 UN agencies in Nepal, ROSA is sharing best practices and lessons learned hoping for a carbon neutral United Nations in the near future.

  • UNICEF Zimbabwe’s staff Green Committee has been incorporating environmental sustainability management in the office and throughout the country programme. The Committee has helped put in place systems and standard operating procedures to measure and reduce office environmental impacts. Weekly ‘Green Fridays’ provide chances for staff to learn new information on and practical tips related to environmental sustainability. As one of the first offices to conduct an Environmental Footprint Assessment, the office so far has seen its footprint shrink significantly. Carbon emissions from electricity were reduced by 36% and water consumption by 10.6%. These results have been encouraging the country office to push even further. The remaining carbon emissions were offset, and the Zimbabwe country office was one of the first country offices awarded the carbon-neutral status.


Greening the Blue is the UN’s website to promote carbon neutrality among all UN staff, consultants, interns and volunteers. Learn more!




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