Monday, 16 August 2010


I never thought I would see the day when the United Nations took on board best practices from the private sector. However, this year, the UN launched it’s ‘Greening the Blue’ initiative which aims to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability throughout the UN system and highlight what’s been achieved, what’s happening next and how staff can get involved.

The UN Secretary-General’s call for all UN agencies, funds and programmes to become climate neutral and 'go green' on 5 June (World Environment Day) 2007, kick-started the systems and procedures to measure and reduce the environmental impacts of the UN family. Many of these systems and procedures, and how they are measured and reported against, have been taken from the private sector.

The website lays out the UN’s achievements very clearly and is an impressive platform. It’s not boring or too technical, with even a cute little cartoon video, starring characters call ‘Flip’ and ‘Norma’!

Granted, it was a UN agency that creating the Global Reporting Initiative and the UNFCCC is the world’s clearinghouse for climate change information. So I suppose we should not have expected anything less, and some have even argued why we had to wait so long for this initiative to have taken place. But I must admit coordinating and managing information from all 50 of its funds, agencies and programmes must not have been an easy feat. It makes me think that if the UN can implement this type of reporting, then there is no reason why large multinationals cannot demonstrate this level of transparency too.

The website also holds some useful resources for organisations and businesses to implement climate change related activities. One such publication is ‘Kick the Habit’, written for individuals, businesses, organizations and governments with the aim of helping to reduce our shared carbon footprint. Breaking down scientific jargon and simplifying policy documents, the guide provides readers with up-to-date information and actionable steps for helping to achieve climate neutrality.

I am glad now that the UN can be seen as walking the walk and is offering a leading example in environmental and climate change communications and reporting.

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