By Immy Mulekatete
Greening by Example: UNDP Rwanda's Journey Towards Sustainable Practices
April 22, 2023
Climate change is underway, and we feel the impacts daily. With precious little time remaining to limit the damage, the responsibility lies on individuals, institutions, and countries to take deliberate and consistent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect the environment, conserve our biodiversity, and ensure our planet is safe for future generations.
As a leading agency in addressing climate change effects, UNDP is committed to go “green by example” by ensuring that our operations run in a resources-efficient, sustainable, and accountable way. In recent years at UNDP Rwanda, we have proactively decreased our carbon footprint and promoted sustainable living.
One major area of focus has been our transportation system. To reduce our carbon emissions, we replaced two of our traditional vehicles with an electric and hybrid car. This has been a significant step towards reducing air pollution, and we hope to move to a full zero emission electric fleet by 2025.
To reduce our energy consumption, we worked on our office lighting system. We replaced our traditional bulbs with low-energy-consuming lamps, which helped us to reduce our electricity use. We plan to install motion sensors in our offices that will automatically turn off the lights when people are out of the office. We recognized the significant impact that our server room had on energy consumption, and we knew that changes needed to be made. We therefore replaced our old computers in the server room with low-energy-consuming ones, to decrease our energy usage while maintaining efficiency.
Our office is not only a space for work but also a haven for nature. As soon as you get to the entrance gate, you are greeted by the beauty, serenity, and lush green surroundings. This space provides a relaxing environment for our staff and serves as a natural carbon sink. We believe that every small step towards sustainability counts, and the green space is a perfect example of how we can make a difference in our environment.
All our staff have also been trained on “greening the blue” and how to incorporate sustainable practices in our personal and professional lives. Every small action – such as remember to switch off the printer, lights, air conditioner, computers, and other devices – contributes to building a more sustainable future, and we encourage everyone to commit to the cause.
We are not stopping here. We are continuously exploring and implementing sustainable practices to reduce our carbon footprint. We plan to use solar energy to power our operations and to get completely off the grid by the end of the year. This step is not only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective in the long run, allowing us to invest in other areas that support our mission.
By taking these steps, we hope to inspire others to prioritize sustainability in their own operations. We recognize that every small step counts, and we are committed to making a positive impact on the environment.
Climate change requires urgent action at all levels. As governments adopt and implement policies and regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy, and encourage sustainable practices, institutions and individuals also ought to make appropriate changes in their operations and daily lives. By working together at all levels, we can take collective action to address the pressing issue of climate change and build a more sustainable future for generations to come.
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