UN World Food Programme

WFP Launches Carbon Footprint Calculator

 A WFP tree planting scheme in Tajikistan is among several projects aimed at reducing the organization's "carbon footprint". 

Copyright: WFP/Heather Hill

 

WFP has begun calculating the carbon emissions produced globally by its staff’s air travel, a practice which puts it at the forefront of a bid by UN agencies to reduce their impact on the environment. 

By Flores Mariagabriela

ROME - This month, WFP launched a carbon emissions calculator for all flights booked by the organization. This new electronic tool can record the total amount of carbon dioxide or "greenhouse gas" emissions from any flight, giving WFP a way to measure and track the effect it has on the environment.

“This is a major achievement,” says Rocco Leone, chief of Administrative Services. “It’s imperative that we be innovative”.

Monitoring our footprint

The objective of our carbon emissions calculator is to be able to both track and report on our travel patterns. By measuring and monitoring our carbon footprint in travel, WFP can better understand where to concentrate attention to minimize our impact on the planet.

The next steps are to reduce our emissions and then find ways to compensate for emissions that cannot be avoided.

Building awareness

Building awareness is also an essential element of the new carbon emissions calculator. "We hope this will make people more conscious when they decide to travel, if the travel isn't essential," says Sheila Dunne, Rome-based head of the Travel Unit.

Sheila points out that business-class passengers create approximately twice the climate footprint of economy class travellers.

"Based on the information the carbon footprint calculator produces, we can decide how we can reduce -- and where," explains Fiona Barron, a travel unit consultant.