UNDP DR: Walking the talk towards a sustainable future

4 de Junio de 2021

In an effort to reduce our workplace carbon footprint and promote sustainable consumption, the UNDP, together with UN agencies in our shared office building, have implemented significant actions to innovate towards a more sustainable environmental management system for the organization.

In 2018, we started to make more ambitious commitments to increase our actions and investment towards a greener office. Since then, at the UNDP DR office we have been walking the talk, taking decisive action against climate change, improving our energy consumption and motivating staff to adopt individual actions at home, leading the change from the inside out.

First, we updated our baseline carbon footprint data to track it more closely as we moved forward. Then, to reduce our overall energy consumption, UNDP installed solar LED luminaries with motion sensors at the UN House parking lot, and switch to more energy-efficient appliances, such as air conditioners and cleaning equipment. Currently, 100% of all UNDP offices have LED luminaries, which have resulted in energy savings of 19,764,6 Kvh.

Additionally, to motivate and engage our staff to act, we’ve provided training on relevant issues such as recycling, proper waste management, climate change, individual carbon footprint and sustainable consumption (3Rs). To help staff members lead more sustainable lifestyles, we provide recycling services and, in 2018, expanded the list of materials that can be collected to include alkaline batteries, plastics, foam, tetra pack, kitchen oil and glass. We are working to expand this list to include other hazardous waste materials. In 2020, bicycle parking spaces were built in the UN house parking lot, to motivate and accommodate staff who wish to reduce their use of transportation powered by non-renewable energy.

Another way we engage our team in this joint venture is through the UNDP Energy Guardian system. This volunteer group, made up of staff members, verifies that all office equipment and lights are turned off at the end of the day.

Additionally, we have worked to improve water efficiency in our office and are implementing a Green Procurement Plan, to limit the purchase and use of single-use plastics at events and activities. Similar to how we understand gender equality and inclusion, the objective of our initiative is to mainstream the concept of sustainability in all aspects of our work.

Finally, we are proud to share that in 2020 our office was awarded with a grant to install a photovoltaic (PV) panel solution, as part of our commitment to the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This grant is under the framework of the UNDP initiative "Moonshot Project" to receive technical and financial support for the acquisition and installation of a photovoltaic power generation system with a capacity of 64 Kwp, as the logical next step towards a future with low carbon emissions and reliable, renewable energy. This project will reduce overall electricity consumption from the grid, which will result in saving around 49 tons of CO2/year. That is, it will effectively reduce the office’s carbon footprint and burden on the environment

Through these actions, we are walking the talk and leading the fight to mitigate climate change from the inside out. Our goal is to have a carbon neutral Country Office in the coming years and set an example to motivate similar organizations at the national and regional level to make ambitious decisions to improve their everyday operations and help the planet (and ourselves) at the same time.