MOVING TOWARDS A CLIMATE NEUTRAL UN FAO staff take action
FAO has conducted a number of activities towards imple- menting the organization’s Climate Neutral Strategy. One of the priorities is to raise FAO’s staff awareness for more environmentally friendly behavior. To support the climate neutral initiative, in December 2008, staff members formed a voluntary Going Green Group (GGG).
The Going Green Group promotes information exchange and develops strategies for enhanced environmental man- agement and enlightened staff behaviour. In 2009, it orga- nized and participated in a number of awareness-raising activities ranging from internet platforms to workshops and information stands. Communication tools used by the “Going Green Group” include: Preparation of a green stand at the FAO Knowledge Share Fair, an information and best practice knowledge-exchange event for several Rome-based international organizations. Promotion of the Going Green Group on the Share Fair website www.sharefair.net and creation of its own web- site www.netvibes.com/gggfao. Participation in promoting the European Mobility Week, the World Earth Day and World Environment Day. Screening of environmental awareness raising films.
Raising staff awareness at ESCAP
ESCAP has been actively promoting an environmentally friendly work culture in its buildings in Bangkok since 2002. It formed its own working group on energy efficiency in 2005 to identify potential options for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly approach to many aspects of work and day-to-day practices. To reduce carbon emissions and to improve environmental performance, ESCAP initi- ated a number of greening and staff awareness activities through the provision of appropriate guidance and partici- pation in environmental activities.
“Green Boards” were placed in strategic positions around the building complex. Made entirely of recycled materi- als, the boards display information on energy-saving and greening projects. They also feature related articles of in- terest, data and reports. Other awareness-raising activities include multiple reminders to staff and visitors. All internal doors carry signs to keep them closed at all times, while of- fice entrances feature everyday advice on how to reduce the carbon footprint.
Suggestion boxes where staff can propose how the organization may improve its climate or sustainabil- ity performance; and Explain to staff the background every time emissions- reduction actions are undertaken, for instance when energy-efficient lamps are installed, when printers are set to double-sided printing by default, or when staff are asked to travel by train instead of flying.
Waste recycling is encouraged by placing recycling sta- tions on every floor of the complex with separate bins for office paper, magazines and brochures, plastic bottles, cans and batteries. In addition, every desk and worksta- tion has two bins, one for general waste and one for re- cyclable materials. This enables staff members to sepa- rate waste at their desks and, so less recyclable waste is spoiled. Monthly records of recycling quantities by floor are posted on the FMU intranet site to inform staff on the results of their efforts.
To promote the use of emissions-efficient transportation, car parks have been fitted with 50 display boards with in- formation on environmental friendly behaviour and alter- natives. In support of reducing individual car travel, the ES- CAP online discussion board facilitates the organization of car pooling and encourages its staff to engage in existing car pools. In addition, a notice board for posting requests and offers has been placed in the main entrance of the Sec- retariat Building.
For several years now, staff members in many UN organi- zations have been volunteering to promote sustainable practices, including climate neutrality. As part of the UN climate-neutral effort, these groups met up with the UN climate neutral focal points for a two-day workshop in 2009, leading to an agreement to coordinate and coop- erate among these groups and focal points, thus further enhancing staff awareness and commitment.
FAO’s “Going Green Group” has also shown that raising en- vironmental awareness can be creative. In June 2009, for example, the GGG was instrumental in realizing a multi- media campaign called the “Plastic Water Bottle Aware- ness Campaign”. The centre-piece was an art installation in the central building area consisting of 70 plastic bags suspended from ceiling containing the number of plastic bottles disposed of by FAO staff every working day. The campaign was accompanied by posters, handouts, a TV clip, and related recommendations and a business case for water fountains as an alternative to bottled water. Other concrete activities include: Distribution of Green Tips for FAO staff via log-on mes- sages and email, focussed to date on waste generation and paper consumption. Promotion of alternatives to private car transport for the daily commute and advertising of new eco-transport loans provided by the FAO Credit Union.
The Going Green Group is currently looking at ways to further enhance environmental and climate-neutrality knowledge and seeking to inspire other staff members to join in.