UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

UN Women supports Greening the Blue

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Date: 26 February 2014

New York —

UN Women is proud to join 52 other UN agencies in its support of Greening the Blue, a movement to reduce the UN system’s environmental footprint.

“UN Women fully supports the climate-neutral initiative and is working actively to play our part in achieving its goals,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “In much of the world, women are managers of household resources such as water, fuel, and food, and play a key role in farming. This places women and girls on the front line in facing the impacts of climate change, but also in a unique position to make a difference. That’s why, for UN Women, working to achieve gender equality, women’s rights, and women’s empowerment goes hand-in-hand with efforts to address climate change.”

Building on last year’s Paper-Smart initiative, in which UN Women saved an estimated USD 100,000 by going paper-smart during its Executive Board sessions, UN Woman has once again embarked on a range of efforts to reduce its energy consumption. UN Women has recently established a Green Team to spearhead various climate-neutral initiatives and coordinate efforts between UN Women and UN headquarters.

With 74 per cent of UN Women’s carbon emissions coming from the use of its own facilities, a key component of greening UN Women lies in working with its global offices to track and reduce its carbon footprint.

In October 2013, UN Women consolidated its HQ into one location – the Daily News Building. UN Women’s new HQ location instantly became more energy efficient due to its close proximity to various public transportation options.

Furthermore, all the floors occupied by UN Women were equipped with occupancy sensors to ensure the lights shut off when the offices are not in use. Modifications such as installing lower paneled workstations, high windows in between offices and glass panels in front of offices, were also made to allow for more natural light.

Likewise, when expanding its offices to the 4th floor of the Daily News Building, UN Women followed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines for all demolition, construction, HVAC and lighting requirements – recycling materials, promoting cleaner air, and utilizing less energy.

To improve the environmental sustainability of its offices around the globe, the IST Department of UN Women successfully started the organization-wide usage of a video conferencing service named “Blue Jeans”. Blue Jeans is used to host conferences, meetings, and interview panels by many organizations and companies. It reduces the carbon footprint of UN Women by decreasing the travel of UN Women staff and meeting participants.

In its continual support of the Greening the Blue campaign, UN Women will:

  • Encourage active participation in the Green Team to raise awareness among staff about UN Women’s environmentally friendly policies. 
  • Encourage a culture of energy conservation among staff, including recycling, turning off lights, shutting down computers at   day’s end, use of mass transit, etc.
  • Encourage staff to use video or tele-conference services whenever possible.
  • Provide necessary equipment for long-distance conferencing.
  • Use UNDP green procurement guidelines for any IT purchases.
  • Incorporate UNDP green-building standards for any future remodeling of office space.
  • Reassess these efforts and UN Women’s overall strategies twice annually to determine means to further reduce emissions and/or purchase offsets.