Environmental measures

Last update: April 21, 2022

Visit the ‘Sustainable UNESCO’ booth

The ADM Executive Office has been present during the General Conference with a stand to inform Delegates and staff members about UNESCO’s efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of its activities, and specific measures to ‘green’ the General Conference. Pass by during lunch outside room I this Wednesday, 17 November from 12:45 to 3 pm.

Sustainable Stand

UNESCO is strongly committed to environmental protection and climate action. The key objective of UNESCO’s Environmental Management System (EMS) is to minimize the environmental impact of operations and facilities and continuously improve environmental performance.

What UNESCO does

Some achievements of the past few years include:

  • Environmental Sustainability and Management Policy
  • Internal carbon tax on air travel; UNESCO has been ‘climate neutral’ since 2019
  • Integration of sustainability criteria in procurement and event management
  • Headquarters running on 100% renewable electricity
  • Improved waste management with central recycling stations
  • Vegetable and biodiversity garden, in partnership with the French National Commission for UNESCO and Noocity
  • Progressive replacement of fleet with electric/hybrid vehicles
  • Dedicated emission, waste and water reduction efforts in Field Offices
  • Increased staff awareness through targeted communication and training measures, including a practical Staff Guide and incentives to cycle to work

Specific measures for the 41st General Conference and how to contribute

  • Paper: Printing is limited, on demand only, and on 100% recycled, FSC-certified paper. Electronic versions of all documents are available on UNESDOC and can be accessed via portable devices. Emissions from printing are offset via a hydropower project near Virunga National Park, a World Heritage Site in DR Congo.
  • Rooms: Heating is limited to 20°C and lights are switched off when rooms are empty.
  • Waste: Central sorting stations for paper, plastic and other waste can be found on the ground floor and in the basement. Please follow the signage to help to correctly recycle. Paper bins are also available in the rooms.
  • Catering: The catering service has a zero-plastic policy and uses local, in-season products. Vegetarian options will be available.
  • No single-use plastic: Bring your own bottle and fill it at the water dispenser located in front of room II.
  • Badges have been printed on recycled paper. The badge holders are made of recycled PVC and should be returned at the end of the Conference for reuse.

Given that the largest environmental impact of the General Conference is caused by the (air) travel and accommodation of Delegates though, we invite you to consider the following:

  • Accommodation: Choose eco-friendly hotels (such as listed y Green Key) for your stay at walking distance from UNESCO.
  • Travel: For travel within Europe, take the train. If you have to fly, give preference to direct flights, choose economy class, pack light to reduce the plane’s weight and consider offsetting your emissions, for example via Atmosfair
  • Transport: Walk, use public transport or the VELIB’ bike sharing system. If you need to take a car, ask the driver not to leave the motor running.

You can further contribute by reducing your energy consumption (e.g. by switching off your electronic devices when not in use), limiting food and other waste, watching your meat consumption and bringing your own water bottle and mug.

Did you know?

In 2019, 7.56 million pages of documents were printed for the 40th General Conference, which was a decrease of 19.7 % compared to the 39th session. We count on your support to reduce this number further this year!

Reducing heating by just one degree - for example 20°C instead of 21°C - can save about 7% in energy consumption. [ADEME 2020]

Greening UNESCO Quiz

Don’t hesitate to come visit and enjoy the flourishing biodiversity in the vegetable garden!
Education Day