Press Releases

9 April 2008


Greening the United Nations Office at Vienna

VIENNA, 9 April (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) is taking a small but significant step towards becoming more environmentally friendly. On 10 April, senior managers from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and UNOV will join 22nd District Mayor Norbert Scheed and Sabine Mitterer from the City of Vienna Environment Department to distribute cloth shopping bags to staff members at the Vienna International Centre (VIC).

The aim of the event is to raise awareness of how individuals can actively contribute towards being more environmentally friendly at work and in their private lives. In the spirit of "Reduce-Reuse-Recycle", the cloth bags should encourage staff members to stop using plastic shopping bags for their purchases.

Other 'green' initiatives at UNOV include phasing out incandescent light bulbs in favour of more efficient energy-saving bulbs; using rechargeable batteries and recycled paper; and establishing recycling points for glass, paper, plastic and aluminium throughout the VIC. Staff are encouraged to switch off lights when they leave their offices, to put computers on 'sleep' mode and turn off monitors when they are not in use. Longer-term plans include offsetting carbon emissions for all official travel and switching to 'green' energy. The ongoing asbestos-removal project in the VIC (due to be completed in 2010) included the replacement of windows in all buildings to substantially reduce energy consumption for heating and air-conditioning.  Office light fixtures were also exchanged for more efficient units that do not contain PCBs, a highly toxic persistent organic pollutant which is now banned.

This initiative forms part of a larger effort across all United Nations agencies, funds and programmes to 'green' the UN. Announced by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on World Environment Day 5 June 2007, the initiative covers all aspects of the Organization's work, from a commitment towards achieving climate-neutrality in its buildings, to becoming more energy-efficient and eliminating wasteful practices at work.

Media are invited to attend the event which starts at 12:00 on 10 April 2008 in the Rotunda at the Vienna International Centre.

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For further information, contact:

Elisabeth Wächter
Associate Public Information Officer
United Nations Information Service
Tel.: +43 1 26060 3348