Today, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 24) in Poland, 15 international organizations jointly announced a commitment to make their operations climate neutral. The organizations will measure their greenhouse gas emissions, reduce them as much as possible and compensate the currently unavoidable ones with credible carbon credits.
With over 2 million tons of CO2 per year in emissions, and more than 50,000 staff, the aggregate action by this organizations represents an important example that may be taken at all levels of society.
Some of the participating organizations have already achieved climate neutrality, while others are getting started in this journey. Still others were advanced in their sustainability strategy and are now going further by committing to go all the way to climate neutrality. Through this commitment, it is expected that organizations with more experience will support those that are at the early stages and that best practices will be shared.
This initiative demonstrates the commitment of the participating organizations to climate action, while serving as inspiration for others to follow suit and contribute to the goal to achieve global climate neutrality before the end of this century, as established in the Paris Agreement.
The international organizations that announced their commitment to climate neutrality are:
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretariat
- Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa Secretariat (COMESA)
- Eastern Africa Development Bank (EADB)
- Western Africa Development Bank (BOAD)
- Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- Pacific Community
- ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability
- European Investment Bank (EIB)
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat
- Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
- International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
- Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE)
- World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
These organizations join agencies throughout the United Nations (UN) system which in 2007 adopted a strategy and a roadmap to reach climate neutrality by 2020. Over half of all UN system entities are now climate neutral, representing 39% of total UN emissions as featured in the 2018 Greening the Blue report. The UN Headquarters is also becoming climate neutral for the first time in 2018.
Some of the actions that these organizations are implementing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions include the installation of solar photovoltaic systems, policies for reduction of air travel, upgrading of insulation and lighting systems in buildings, reduction of the amount of paper used at conferences, installation of efficient cooling systems, promotion of car-pooling schemes among employees, establishment of sustainable procurement policies, and enhanced collection and recycling of waste, among many others.
The ambition is that other international organizations will join this commitment in the near future, helping multiply the message of the importance of taking immediate action at all levels of society to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.