ILO achieves carbon neutrality

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has achieved carbon neutrality, in line with the target set across the United Nations system to become climate neutral by 2020.

The ILO started working on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, by introducing an Environmental Sustainability Policy and an Environmental Management System. The goal was to improve the operations of the Organization, making them more environmental friendly.

In the past four years several measures to reduce environmental impact have been implemented at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, where 80 per cent of the waste volume of the building is now recycled or composted. A “Papersmart Policy”, covering the production and distribution of paper documents, has also been introduced.

© ILO

The remaining carbon emissions are offset through the purchase of Certified Emission Reductions credits (CERs). These contribute to the Adaptation Fund  established under the Kyoto Protocol to monetize and finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

The ILO’s efforts are part of a broader strategy within the UN system called Greening the Blue . This initiative began on 5 June 2007, when then UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon called on all UN agencies, funds and programmes to ‘go green’. The goal was to become climate neutral by 2020 through a combination of emission reductions and offsetting.

“The COVID-19 pandemic  has been very disruptive but it also has had a positive effect, it has helped us become more aware of environmental issues. We now know that many of our services to constituents can be delivered in a low-carbon manner,” said Moustapha Kamal Gueye, head of the ILO’s Green Jobs unit. “At the ILO, we are happy to have achieved carbon neutrality and we will continue our efforts to build a greener and more sustainable world and workplace.”

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