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Environment and climate change

Greening UNICEF

Zimbabwe Country Office with polar panels

A vision for the future: towards a carbon neutral UNICEF


In line with UN wide efforts to “Greening the Blue”, UNICEF is dedicated to environmental sustainability in its operations. As per its greening policy issued in June 2015, UNICEF is stepping up its efforts to systematically green the organization, including reporting and investing in sustainable energy and resource efficient facilities and operations. This also includes water, paper and waste management.

In 2015, UNICEF assessed the footprint of all its premises, including more than 200 sub-national offices in addition to its 141 main offices (headquarters, regional and country offices). Emissions amounted to 85,219 tCO2eq. This translates into 5 tCO2 per personnel. 

Air travel and grid electricity are the major emissions sources for headquarter (HQ), regional (RO) and country offices (CO), while vehicles and stationary combustion are the dominant sources at zone offices (ZO), highlighting the difference in operation modes. Here is a breakdown of UNICEF's 2015 organization-wide emissions by source: 

UNICEF has offset these emissions by purchasing Certified Emission Reductions via the UNFCCC.

Based on the Environmental Footprint Assessment results, numerous offices have also taken action to reduce their emissions, for example by taking 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 established a greening fund.

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

  • With the installation of a 54.9 KW solar photo-voltaic power plant on the roof of its New Delhi office, UNICEF India achieved a milestone on its way to “Going Green”. Annually, this power plant is estimated to save approximately 79 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and to significantly lower the office’s electricity costs at the same time. In addition, the UNICEF India office is also continuing efforts to reduce energy consumption. The office recently bought its first hybrid car and plans to install double-glazed windows, to help reduce the flow of incoming and outgoing heat, thereby lowering energy consumption for heating and cooling. Louis Georges Arsenault, UNICEF representative, summarized the motivation for going green: “We are committed to increase our contribution to environmentally sustainable solutions, given our global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

  • In 2016, UNICEF Jordan’s greening team tackled its emissions from facilities of which electricity is a big part (25% of the office’s footprint in 2014 & 2015). The Regional and Country offices sharing the same premises conducted an energy audit and subsequently installed solar panels on the roof and the parking area, becoming the first UNICEF office in the Middle East region to undergo an energy audit and take action accordingly. In 2017, the Jordan Country Office will relocate to new premises and is already making sure that the building has 100% efficient lighting systems and efficient water fixtures.  





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