Greening the Blue: UN Launches Staff Tutorial on Environmental Sustainability Wed, Aug 6, 2014

Winning photo from 2011 Greening the Blue photo competition: collaborative submission from Cyprus Green Team

New York, 6 August 2014 - The UN today launches its first on-line sustainability tutorial designed for UN staff.

The hour-long tutorial highlights efforts already underway to measure and reduce the UN's greenhouse gas emissions, and shows how individual UN staff can contribute through small changes in their working lives.

Designed to be engaging, enjoyable and informative, the tutorial takes the form of an animation and follows two UN-staffers, Stick and Bean, through a typical working day as they learn how to incorporate environmental considerations into their daily decisions.

Launching the tutorial, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: "The new UN tutorial on sustainability shows how individuals and organizations can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, shrink our environmental footprint and cut costs. I count on colleagues across the UN system to follow the examples of Stick and Bean and contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet."

The tutorial shows Stick and Bean undertaking activities that will be familiar to most UN staff: booking travel, attending meetings, sharing a meal with colleagues, travelling on mission and visiting a UN Country Office. At each point in the day they learn more about the 'greener' options on offer, as well as the additional benefits associated with their choices.

Staff undertaking the tutorial will be asked to provide general information about their location and behavior at work. They will then be given an overview of their work-related carbon footprint, and shown how it compares to a typical staff member from their organization as well as an average UN staffer.

The tutorial is a joint venture by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and has been created in response to a request from UN agencies via the Environment Management Group.

Notes to editors:

  • The 2007 UN Climate Neutral Strategy commits heads of UN entities to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions, reduce emissions to the greatest extent possible and to analyze the cost implications and explore budgetary modalities of offsetting
  • In 2014 a total of 64 UN agencies reported their greenhouse gas emissions for 2012, which came to 1,714,188 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Fifty-one per cent of these emissions were from air travel.
  • The purpose of the tutorial is to ensure that UN staff:
    • Understand the need to combat climate change and save natural resources

    • Understand the UN's commitment to combatting climate change

    • Are empowered - through the provision of information and tools - to make environmentally responsible decisions, primarily at work, but hopefully also in their private lives.

    • Change their behaviour and ultimately reduce the UN's footprint.

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