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UNECE Climate Neutral Strategy

In line with the Secretary-General’s “Climate Neutral UN” initiative, UNECE envisages becoming climate neutral in 2015. The UNECE climate neutral strategy has three main components:

1) Calculation of UNECE’s carbon footprint

2) Reduction of UNECE’s carbon footprint through behavioral changes

3) Offsetting via Certified Emission Reductions (CER)

1) Calculation of UNECE’s carbon footprint

The following carbon emission components will be included in the calculation of UNECE’s footprint:

  • Travel: The UNOG travel unit will provide, with a one year lag, the number of kilometers of official travel via air, rail and motor vehicle by UNECE staff, as well as the corresponding tons of CO2- equivalent emissions generated.
  • Heating and electricity: The UNOG Central Support Services will provide, with a one year lag, the total non-travel related emissions generated by UNOG. UNECE will calculate its pro rata share of these emission generating activities based on the number of UNECE staff vs. the number of total UNOG staff.

The methodology for calculating UNECE’s carbon footprint will be revised once climate neutrality elements have been incorporated into UMOJA.

2) Reduction of UNECE’s carbon footprint through behavioral changes

UNECE will focus on staff awareness and behavioral change in order to decrease emissions. Possible steps to be taken are as follows:

  • Make “stick and carrot” training recommended by the Executive Secretary (alternatively mandatory)
  • Introduce “Green action of the month” communication in weekly ES messages
  • Promote visibility of containers for recycling, through Broadcasts (UNOG)
  • Encourage walking, biking, car-sharing and public transport


  • Encouraging videoconferencing, in cooperation with UNOG (making skype and videoconferencing with interpretation available in meeting rooms)
  • Paperless meetings
  • Provide information on voluntary offsetting options
  • Provide tap water
  • Provide distributors of hot water, to discourage individual kettles/boilers
  • Improve IT facilities for virtual meetings
  • Provide USB and CD with electronic documents/ publications


  • Travel less business class
  • Encourage voluntary offsetting by staff and meetings’ participants incl. those not financed by UNECE
  • Facilitate booking of train tickets
  • If two meetings are close, do not let funded participants fly back and come again, but rather give them one or more additional DSA
  • Make larger meetings (e.g. CoPs, MoPs) climate neutral


  • Promote switching lights and devices off in the evenings/weekends
  • Promote separation of waste
  • Use green cleaning material
  • Encourage walking instead of taking elevators

3) Offsetting via CER

UNECE will purchase CERs via the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund. UNFCCC offers to purchase Adaptation Fund CERs on behalf of other UN organizations (in addition to procuring them to offset its own footprint). This is done through a simple administrative agreement between UNFCCC and the UN organization. CERs are sold at market price[1] (with a premium of 0,10 EUR) – however, not for specific project types or countries. Both mitigation and adaptation work is supported through this option. UNFCCC charges an administrative fee of 5% to carry out this service.

The methodology for purchasing CERs will be revised once climate neutrality elements have been incorporated into UMOJA.

Update: On 14 October 2015, UNECE purchased CERs to offset its emissions for 2014.


[1] The cost of CERs is decided by the supply-demand balance on the carbon markets. Historically the price has fluctuated between 25 EUR (2009) to 0.10 EUR (2014). Due to the oversupply of CERs, it is expected that prices will remain at low levels for the next several years.