UNOPS reduces carbon emissions for third consecutive year

COPENHAGEN – UNOPS has completed its annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, reporting a reduction in emissions per person for the third consecutive year.

Data was compiled for 2012 and shows that emissions fell to 3.9 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person, down from 4.2 in 2011 and 4.3 in 2010. The total amount of emissions in 2012 was 14,516 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. UNOPS also decreased its building-related emissions by 4 percent from the previous year, which is the approximate amount captured by 205 acres of forest in one year.

As part of the United Nations' goal of becoming climate neutral, and in line with the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, UNOPS is increasingly incorporating sustainability into all of its work. An important aspect of this drive is the measurement, reporting and reduction of UNOPS carbon footprint on an annual basis. This inventory helps the organization identify areas where it can reduce negative environmental, economic and social impacts.

Each year, these results are collected by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and published in a report, Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN, where emissions data for all UN organizations are presented. The latest report covers emissions for 2012 and includes a case study on the UNOPS environmental management system.

UNOPS fourth annual greenhouse gas inventory covered 50 country offices and over 3,600 personnel, an improvement on the previous year’s coverage. The data shows that over half of UNOPS emissions are attributable to official travel and the remainder to facilities. As in previous years, results show that air travel, and the use of generators and vehicles represent UNOPS three most emission-intensive activities, each contributing to around one-fourth of the organization’s emissions. The use of electricity, public transport, refrigerants and purchased steam and water for heating constitute the remaining portion.


UNOPS also works to reduce its emissions through a range of other initiatives. The organization is one of the leading UN bodies in sustainable procurement, regularly developing guidance, tools, training and pilot projects to procure more efficiently and sustainably. In addition, UNOPS new headquarters has been recognized for its commitment to environmental sustainability, becoming the first UN complex to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) highest rating.