Informal Geneva Green Group Formed

20 December 2010: UN Greening the Blue has reported that an informal Geneva Green Group was formed, gathering staff at Geneva-based UN organizations interested in getting involved in activities carried out in support of “greening the UN.”

Some of the activities of the Group include: the promotion of tap water and reduction of waste from plastic bottles; more sustainable cafeterias, with the promotion of the use of ceramic rather than paper cups and the reduction of single-use plastic waste; the launch of a bicycle shuttle scheme; sustainable procurement, with the shift to recycled and FSC-certified paper for photocopiers and printing; and informal lunchtime meetings for ideas sharing. So far, the Group includes staff members from the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Greening the Blue further reports that the bicycle scheme was introduced in May 2010 by OHCHR at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, free of cost, to facilitate the commuting of staff across the OHCHR buildings as part of the Greening the UN Initiative. In addition, a shuttle service for mail distribution and staff commuting was established to cut down on the use of personal cars during working hours. The initiative will run for a year and will be evaluated at the end of that period. After three months of operation, the statistics on the number of bike trips are reported to be promising and no accidents or incidents of theft were reported. OHCHR expects to continue with the initiative and influence other organizations to do the same. [Greening the UN Press Release on the Geneva Geen Group] [Greening the Blue Press Release on the Bicycle Scheme]