The IB goes green
In October 2015, the Universal Postal Union joined a new UN initiative to move its operations – as a secretariat – towards a climate-friendly future.
The Climate Neutral Now initiative, launched by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), encourages and enables organizations, companies and individuals to measure, reduce and offset their direct emissions with UN-certified carbon credits.
Since 2007, a significant effort has been made in the UN to respond to the UN Secretary General's call to improve the carbon performance of each UN organization. The UN has been measuring its greenhouse gas emissions from facilities and travel since 2009, and the 2015 edition of the "Moving towards a Climate Neutral UN" report, published by UNEP, demonstrated that, in 2014, the UN emitted at least 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
For its part, the UPU International Bureau, based in Berne, Switzerland, which acts as the Union's secretariat and employs some 250 people, emitted the equivalent of 1,445 tonnes of CO2eq in 2014.
The International Bureau has taken various steps to reduce its emissions, including renovating its building facade, cutting down on staff travel, investing in more energy-efficient IT equipment, and reducing paper consumption. The building's renovation work alone netted energy savings of 42%, as well as a 48% reduction in heating oil consumption.
To go further, the UPU signed an agreement with the UNFCCC to procure enough Certified Emission-Reduction Credits (CERs) to offset the emissions of its secretariat. It bought 1,500 CERs from the UN Adaptation Fund, which were used to finance the introduction of solar stove-cookers in China (People's Rep.). In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, these projects deliver additional sustainable development benefits in the form of jobs, improved health and/or access to clean energy.
Thanks to this initiative, the UPU is one of 21 pioneer agencies that are climate-neutral for 2014.