On 5th June 2007 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon publically called on all UN agencies, funds and programmes to become climate neutral and "go green". In doing so, he took the first step in leading the UN towards greater sustainability and showed the world that the UN system is fully aware of the social and environmental challenges it faces in the 21st Century.
Since then, the UN has come a long way in measuring and reporting about the environmental impacts of its facilities and operations by publishing data about its greenhouse gas emissions, and other environmental indicators such as waste and water management.
Associated to measuring, reduction efforts are underway across the whole UN system mostly organized around an emission reduction strategy, or an environmental management system.
By 2020 all UN organizations have committed to become Climate Neutral and several agencies such as UNEP, UNOPS and UNFCCC have been offsetting their annual emissions for some time now.
Coordinating this work across the UN System is the responsibility of the Sustainable United Nations (SUN) facility. SUN outputs and reporting work are closely coordinated with a network of ‘Sustainability focal points’ designated by the UN organisations that are member of the Environment Management Group (EMG).
Read more on the origins of the UN’s sustainability work and the structure of the bodies responsible for it.
UNEP is not only coordinating this work but it is making serious efforts to reduce its own footprint. Find out more about the work to green UNEP.