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UN GREEN AGENCY ANNOUNCES STRATEGY TO REDUCE SIZE OF ITS OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT

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7 September - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has unveiled plans to further reduce its own carbon footprint by slashing the amount of employee air travel and cutting the use of paper and electricity in its office.

The Nairobi-based agency, which has been climate neutral since 2008, said in a statement issued yesterday that it hopes the strategy will ensure it can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 3 per cent each year between now and 2012.

The new environmental efficiency measures could save an estimate $800,000 per year, the agency estimates.

A key focus of the plan is a reduction in work-related air travel by employees, which currently comprise about 85 per cent of UNEP's carbon emissions. More journeys will be taken by train and more e-conferences will be held under new guidelines.

The use of paper and electricity will also be reduced and the agency said it will search for further ways to reduce emissions.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, described the plans as “bold ambitions for any organization with a workforce of over 1,000, offices across the world and a busy international calendar involving implementing projects and policies and working with governments and other partners across continents.

“But we have a responsibility to lead by example, and all UNEP staff are aware that becoming more sustainable today is the only way we can protect tomorrow – and if we can get this right, it should generate economic savings too.”