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Greening the Blue Poll Shows Support for Purchase of Carbon Offsets

4 August 2010: An informal poll carried out on the UN Greening the Blue website shows support for the UN purchasing of carbon offsets.

To the question “Should the UN purchase carbon offsets?” 59% of respondents replied "Yes," while 41% said "No." Those in favor of offsets argue that they help quantify an economic externality by ensuring that the environmental costs of such emissions are included in an organization's expenditure. Those against say they are a distraction from the real issue, which is to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, consensus exists on the need to use offsets only as a last resort, after efforts to reduce emissions have been introduced.

The Issue Management Group on Sustainability Management, which  supports the implementation of the UN Climate Neutral Strategy, has set up a Working Group to examine the role of offsets in the UN system and formulate recommendations to the main group. The Working Group has been looking into alternatives to offsets, including setting up a dedicated fund for green investments that could be used to accelerate the UN's transition to a low-carbon organization. The Group has also discussed the possibility of improving the efficiency of procuring offsets by buying the credits for the entire UN system though one coordinated body instead of having each UN organization raising their funds and procuring credits. [Greening the Blue Press Release]