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Wednesday, 19 December 2018
The UPU achieves climate-neutral status for the second year in a row
18.12.2018 - In December, the United Nations released its most recent environmental sustainability report, entitled Greening the Blue. The report outlines the environmental footprint of the entire UN system, providing details for each UN agency, including the UPU. Formerly known as Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN, the report looks at greenhouse gas emissions, offsetting, waste, and environmental management.
Introducing the 2018 edition of the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “The United Nations must lead by example. I am committed to accelerating sustainability efforts and supporting the UN system to achieve climate neutrality by 2020."
As the deadline for reaching that target approaches, the UN system has once again demonstrated its commitment to environmental sustainability. The report shows that, in 2017, UN entities emitted 1.86 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq) and managed to offset 39% of those emissions. Out of 66 UN agencies, representing 255,740 staff members, a total of 43 were climate neutral in 2017. This is an increase on 2016 figures, according to which 39 entities had achieved climate-neutral status, representing 37% of the UN system’s reported emissions.
As part of the UN family, the UPU has also pledged to achieve climate-neutral status, and it has successfully met that commitment for the second year in a row, offsetting all of its greenhouse gas emissions. On average, in 2017, the UPU generated 1,040 tCO2eq as a result of direct operations at the International Bureau. Of that amount, 32% originated from the heating of UPU facilities, 67% was caused by air travel, and 2% came from other forms of transport. Emissions per staff member totalled 3.88 tCO2eq, compared to the UN average of 7.26 tCO2eq. Moreover, the UPU reported on its water and waste management for the first time.
The UN Secretary-General also pointed out that sustainability efforts need to be accelerated, saying “I call on UN leaders, staff and business partners to promote efficient energy use, zero waste to landfill, low-emission transportation, carbon-neutral buildings, and sustainable supply chains and procurement."
As part of the Sustainable United Nations (SUN) group, the UPU continues to support the environment by applying a systematic approach to reducing its environmental footprint and by taking additional measures such as choosing video and teleconferences over flights for work purposes and joining the UN Green Champions initiative.