What is ‘Greening the Blue Initiatives’ report of the United Nations?

A UNEP effort called ‘Greening the Blue’ seeks to include and assist the UN system in making the transition to more environmentally sustainable management of its facilities and activities.

The UN system’s environmental footprint and efforts to minimize it are recorded in Greening the Blue Report 2022. The report contains 2021 data and was released on December 14, 2022. Furthermore, it reveals that UN organizations are stepping up their efforts to reach the 2025 target of implementing the Environmental Management System (EMS). 

The Environmental Management System (EMS)

Former General Secretary Ban KI Moon initiated the conversation around sustainable practices in UN entities. He urged all UN funds, projects, and agencies to “become green” and become climate neutral. It was decided that UN entities should:

  • Measure their environmental performance;
  • Reduce their environmental impacts and
  • Offset unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions

Read more: Greening the Blue Initiative| UNEP

By revealing information on its greenhouse gas emissions as well as other environmental indicators like waste and water management, the UN System has built a monitoring and reporting system about the environmental consequences of its facilities and operations.

In connection with measurement, reduction initiatives are being carried out throughout the UN System, the majority of which are centered around an environmental management system (EMS).

Training personnel and active engagement

As part of the strategy, UN organizations pledged to train their staff members on environmental sustainability, its significance, and their individual contributions to lowering the UN’s carbon footprint. The website Greening the Blue highlights the most recent and intriguing tales of UN action around the world. In addition, it emphasizes tangible outcomes and innovation. 

Read more: How we are greening the Blue | UN Today

It also demonstrates methods and technologies that are frequently used within the UN system to lessen environmental impact. Furthermore, there is a dedicated sustainability focal point for each entity. And, it is available via entity-specific web pages.

The 2022 report

In 2021, twice as many UN organizations comply with an EMS’s requirements when compared to 2020. Additionally, more entities are approaching the standards; between 2020 and 2021, there was a 2% rise in those approaching. 33% of UN membership as a whole reached or nearly reached the 2025 goal. Environmental and social protections and standards are connected to EMS and are an important component of environmental governance (ESS).

The number of UN organizations that include ESS in their policies, projects, and programs increased by 5% as a result of enhanced efforts made in this area between 2020 and 2021.

There was a 6% increase in organizations offering voluntary training between 2020 and 2021. And, a 9% increase in organizations making it mandatory for all employees. 46% of organizations have offered staff members access to environmental training by 2021.

Read more: Greening the Blue Report 2022

Greening the Blue initiative started in 2009 as a way to show people that organizations like the UN are aware of the challenges that the world is going to collectively face in the 21st century. It integrated sustainable ways of practice in the working environment of UN entities. Staff and personnel have also actively engaged by taking up personal missions to make a change in their working spaces or through innovative funding ideas. 

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