UNICC Commits to Carbon Neutrality, Beginning in 2020

30 December, 2021

Photo: UNICC/Cadinu

Greening UNICC and the UN family with green technology

UNICC has launched this year its collaboration with UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Greening the Blue, an initiative to engage and support the UN system in the transition towards greater environmental sustainability in the management of Agency facilities and operations.

UNICC sustainability

In line with the Strategy for Sustainability Management in the United Nations System, 2020-2030, designed to raise the UN system’s ambitions on sustainability and to ensure greater system-wide coherence, UNICC commits to measure and improve its carbon footprint and become carbon neutral as of 2020, via carbon offsets using the voluntary UN Carbon Offset Platform.

The UN System is a leader in integrating environmental and social sustainability considerations across its work in a systematic and coherent way, practicing the principles that it promotes and leaving a positive legacy.

Strategy for Sustainability Management in the UN System, 2020-2030

One of the main focuses of UNICC’s sustainability efforts are its four data centres, all of which are actively monitored and reporting on emissions. Factors such as green procurement practices, the use of energy-efficient products, sourcing sustainable energy, efficient cooling solutions and even balanced server placements in the racks all contribute towards green data centres.

Currently all of UNICC’s centres are classified as Efficient or Very Efficient, with practices that include the use of solar panels covering 25% of daily needs in the Valencia Data Centre, 100% of renewable energy in both the Primary and Secondary Data Centres in Geneva as well as cooling by circulation of water from the Lake Geneva and deployment of environmental sensors and optimization in the North American Data Centre.

Green technology for the UN ecosystem

Solutions for greening the UN – and the globe – require a multilateral approach encompassing all fields, including digital business and technology. As the preferred provider of shared services and digital business solutions for over 70 Clients and Partner Organizations in the UN ecosystem, UNICC has stepped up as a technology innovator.

Green ICT does not have to be an oxymoron. We want to leverage UNICC’s technical expertise to collaborate with our UN Partners and make the system better through better adoption of green technologies. 

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

New and rapidly developing technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning and robotics hold incredible promise for the advancement of human welfare with huge efficiencies in UN Agency operations. Some examples of UNICC services that promote sustainability are:

  • Facilitating global participation and engagement in multilateral processes through digital diplomacy platforms.
  • Reducing the use of paper by offering an electronic signature system for the UN family, directly impacting SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG13: Climate Action.
  • Enabling dozens of organizations to continue business operations through online platforms, virtual desktops and collaboration tools, reducing the carbon footprint resulting from highly-curtailed travel and office management.

Internally, UNICC has run several campaigns for both sustainable office space and a sustainable home office, ensuring UNICC staff follow sustainability principles even when working remotely. UNICC has banned plastics from the office space, sorts all garbage for recycling, has instituted the use of reusable water bottles and provides volunteer opportunities for environmental activities.

With less than a decade until the deadline to meet the goals of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Agencies must practice due diligence and ensure alignment with sustainable practices. UNICC can play a strategic role in helping organizations achieve these goals. Through our words and our actions, we aspire to live up to the Sustainable Development Goals and support our Clients and Partner Organizations in doing the same.