Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN 2015 edition

United Nations reports on its 2014 greenhouse gas emissions

27 November 2014 The United Nations today released details of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2014 in the latest edition of Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN. 

The report provides details on the emissions from 65 UN system organizations, covering more than 250,000 staff and hundreds of locations worldwide. Greenhouse gas emissions totaled 2 million tonnes CO2eq across the UN system, equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions from 191,019 homes in the United States or from consuming 4,868,772 barrels of oil. 

A total of 18 UN system organizations report having an Emission Reduction Strategy in place and at least nine are implementing an Environment Management System or have reached the highest standards in building management. 

A total of 21 organizations have gone further and become climate neutral through the purchase of carbon credits, with one further agency offsetting emissions from its headquarters. These offsets amount to 676,997 tonnes CO2eq or 32% of the UN’s total reported emissions for 2014. 

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) is pleased to report on its CO2 emissions for 2014: 

  • Total emissions were 355 tonnes CO2eq;
  • Air travel is the main source of CO2 emissions, representing 99% of total emissions. Other emissions are attributed to office operations;
  • Per capita footprint is 5.14 tCO2eq/ staff member, below the UN average of 8.31 tCO2eq/ staff member. 

“Since 2012, the BRS Secretariat has been climate neutral through a carbon offset programme and has reduced its carbon footprint by 22%, most notably due to promoting video conferencing and more systematic scheduling of back-to-back meetings. We are committed to continue to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions through all means possible” said Mr. Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.  

Through the recent promotion of the use of video conferencing and more systematic scheduling of back-to-back meetings, reductions in GHG emissions have been achieved over the period 2010-2014.

The total Secretariat’s GHG emissions have decreased by 29% in 2011, 50% in 2012, 23% in 2013 and 61% in 2014 compared to the 2010 baseline. In absolute values, the total BRS GHG emissions have represented: 924 tCO2eq in 2010, 661 tCO2eq in 2011, 460 tCO2eq in 2012, 697 tCO2eq in 2013 and 354 tCO2eq in 2014. 

Furthermore, since 2012, the BRS Secretariat has been climate neutral through a carbon offset programme implemented as part of the UNEP Climate Neutral Initiative. 

The work on sustainability is a continuous process to which the BRS Secretariat is committed to contribute to, while taking into account best practices and tools put in place by other United Nations organizations in their strategies toward better environmental performance. 

More details on the greener practices implemented in the Secretariat is available at Greening the Blue.   


The report provides an update on progress in implementing the 2007 UN Climate Neutral Strategy, which was approved by the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) and committed the UN Secretariat and all UN agencies, funds and programmes to move towards climate neutrality within the wider context of greening the UN. 

Specifically, the Strategy requires UN bodies to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions, to undertake efforts to reduce their emissions to the greatest extent possible and to analyse the cost implications of purchasing carbon offsets. 

The emissions calculations in the report were compiled using internationally recognized guidance based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a widely used methodology developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The UN greenhouse gas inventory includes emissions from all activities that are under the direct financial control of the organization, such as the heating and cooling of buildings and the travel of its staff members. 

To download the report and for more information please visit Greening the Blue