What is the 2050Today Charter
United by the vision of decarbonisation, 2050Today members have decided to take action to confront the challenges of climate change by implementing concrete measures. Permanent missions, international organisations, academia and civil society entities have resolved to measure and work towards reducing their emissions while expressing their desire to work together for effective, inclusive and sustainable climate action.
By establishing the 2050Today Charter, the signatory institutions have set up a coherent, mutually supportive, and effective framework for reducing the GHG emissions together. The Charter confirms and highlights the international Geneva climate action contribution. It structures the members participation within a common and jointly agreed framework.
The Charter in a nutshell
The 2050Today Charter is a mile setting frame of reference designed to support participating institutions in their journey towards a carbon-neutral International Geneva. The document represents 2050Today’s commitment to harnessing its influence and extensive network to unite institutions, along with key actors and stakeholders in International Geneva, in fostering sustainable practices and behaviours towards effective climate action.
The Charter establishes a unified framework, outlining specific objectives, actions, and targets that each participating institution can adapt to create a tailored action plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It further provides essential guidelines to assist staff and suppliers in grasping the environmental and climate impacts of their activities. In particular it addresses the possible implications on the energy used, the means of transport chosen, the products selected, the food offered, the ICT used, the waste produced, the biodiversity protection and the behavioural changes that might be required.
To achieve the decarbonation of their activities, the Charter signatories express their resolve to take the following actions and measures, consistent with their respective legal frameworks:
- Measure and assess their activities in accordance with internationnaly agreed sustainability and GHG emissions objectives
- Define their own sustainability objectives and action plan to reduce GHG emissions
- Communicate about their actions
The Charter has been drafted with the contribution of the 2050Today participating institutions, the relevant Swiss authorities and expert partners. Its content is the sole responsibility of 2050Today. The Charter was adopted by its first signatories on 5 December 2023. It is proposed to be a common framework and to provide practical guidelines. It is open for signature to all International Geneva institutions.
A common framework
The purpose of this Charter is to set a common framework with objectives and targets to be set individually by each institution in order to devise an individual action plan for the reduction of GHG emissions. It also proposes guidelines to help staff and suppliers understand the environmental and climate change issues surrounding all activities. It addresses in particular the possible implications on the energy used, the means of transport chosen, the products selected, the food offered, the ICT used, the waste produced, the biodiversity and the behavioral changes that might be required.
This Charter is also intended to communicate the participating institutions’ vision in terms of sustainable activities and practices, without prejudice to their legal frameworks and relevant strategies.
It aims at raising awareness and fostering action by all stakeholders, both internal (management and employees) and external (suppliers, partners, consumers, etc.).
Signing the 2050Today Charter does not imply any form of legal or juridical responsibility assumed by the signatories. It does not involve any obligation to undertake a financial contribution to 2050Today or to commit resources. The signature of the Charter is not construed to create or imply any partnership, association, agency relationship or a joint venture between the signatories. Each signatory will be solely and completely responsible and accountable for all work and services performed by its personnel, contractors or agents in connection with the implementation of the 2050Today Charter.
Climate action references
In the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015, the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decided to hold the increase of the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
The Parties to the Agreement commited to reduce their GHG emissions accordingly. During the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21), the Parties requested the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to work on a Special Report on the impacts of a +1.5°C global warming and associated world GHG trajectories. The IPCC’s Climate models showed that to limit climate warming to 1.5°C, total anthropogenic GHG emissions should decrease by at least 45% by 2030 and should reach net zero by 2050, as compared to 2010 levels.
- In Switzerland the federal authorities, supported by a popular vote, have decided to implement the Paris Agreement’s objective by reducing the GHG emissions by 50% by 2030, and by 90% by 2050, to reach carbon neutrality as compared to 1990 levels.
- The Canton of Geneva declared the Climate emergency in 2019 and set its climate plan with the objective to reduce GHG emissions by 60% by 2030, and by 90% by 2050 to reach carbon neutrality as compared to 1990 levels. This objective takes into account indirect GHG emissions – territory emissions.
- The City of Geneva declared the Climate emergency in 2020. The City defined its own climate plan and set the same objectives as the Canton of Geneva.
- The Canton of Vaud adopted its first generation climate plan in 2020 and set the objective to reduce its territorial GHG emissions between 50% and 60% by 2030, and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 as compared to 1990 levels.
- The City of Lausanne developed its own climate plan and targets to reach net zero direct emissions in the mobility domain by 2030 and net zero direct emissions in all domains by 2050. Globally, these targets correspond to the reduction of 50% of direct GHG emissions by 2030, -70% by 2040, and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.
In order contribute to the achievement of the above references and in particular the Geneva Canton’s climate objectives, 2050Today recommends its members to reduce their emissions compared to 1990 levels as follows:
To reduce 60% GHG emissions by 2030
To reduce 90% GHG emissions by 2050 reaching Carbon Neutrality for the remaining 10%
By signing the present Charter, the 2050Today participating institutions strive to do their utmost – in accordance with their respective legal frameworks and self-set climate objectives – to contribute to reducing Geneva territory’s GHG emissions by 60% by 2030, respectively by 50 to 60% for members located in the Vaud territory (including Scope 1 to 3), and reaching net zero emissions by 2050 (carbon neutrality) as compared to 1990 levels.
Regardless of when an institution joins the 2050Today community, it is recommended to follow the above objectives. As it is not possible for most members to assess their 1990 emissions levels, the following adjustment factors based on the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, the Canton of Geneva, and the City of Geneva references, are provided as possible guidance for a retrospective assessment:
- Goods and services : stability (0%) between 1990 and 2018
- Land mobility : growth of 2% between 1990 and 2018
- Air mobility : growth of 75% between 1990 and 2019
In case the 1990 values are not available or are not representative enough of the real situation, the first measurable reference period and starting point can be based on the year of the first carbon footprint measurement.
To ensure that this common framework enables 2050Today members to implement the necessary measures to achieve their set objectives for decarbonisation in line with the Paris Agreement, this Charter defines five principles that the signatory participating institutions undertake to fulfil:
1. Regularly measuring the carbon footprint of their activities according to the standards of the GHG Protocol, possibly once a year, and sharing the results;
2. Carrying out a thorough assessment of the initial situation on the thematic sector(s) of the Charter selected by the participating institution, within six months following the signature the Charter;
3. Defining an individual Action Plan by setting the relevant objectives and actions, and implementing the different phases with the aim of reaching the corresponding targets on the selected sectors;
4. Sharing the defined Action Plan and objectives with 2050Today within twelve months following the signature of the Charter and reporting on the set sustainability sectors;
5. Communicating to all stakeholders, both internal (management and employees) and external (suppliers, partners, consumers, etc.) encouraging them to contribute as much as possible to the achievement of the Charter’s objectives themselves, and incorporating these principles into their operations, as appropriate and taking into consideration their organizational rules and regulations.
Reporting and Timeline
The definition of the individual action plan on the proposed sustainability objectives as detailed below provides participating institutions with the possibility to set the necessary targets in order to achieve the recommended objectives and reach a carbon free International Geneva.
To facilitate the monitoring of the set objectives by each participating institution and organize a common framework, this Charter defines three reporting year deadlines allowing the assessment of the individual action plans and sharing of best practices on the achieved results. Reporting is designed to be succinct and effective to ensure that the impact of actions taken to reduce GHG emissions can be measured.
The common reporting year deadlines and the proposed target deadlines are in:
The carbon footprint reporting is strongly recommended to be annual.
To maximise the impact of the objectives and actions individually set for the sustainability themes selected by each institution as it defines its own Action Plan, this Charter provides a qualitative indication of the environmental and social significance and impact defined with a priority level. The priority levels corresponding to the proposed objectives and actions are indicated in the Appendix. 2050Today recommends to choose the objectives and actions taking into consideration their priority level to achieve the highest impact as follows:
Level 1 : Maximum Priority
Level 2 : Highly Important
Level 3 : Recommended
Thematic Sectors of Action
To address the implications of GHG emissions identified by the respective carbon footprints, this Charter recommends taking into consideration the following 6 thematic sectors:
- Sustainable IT
- Waste Management
Participating institutions should use them to define their own action plan, by setting their own relevant and ambitious objectives, specific actions and corresponding targets to be reached. As for those institutions that already have their own action plan or wish to define it according to their own references, the Charter enables them to compare best practices with the common framework established and to foster mutual and fruitful exchanges on their actions ensuring the most effective implementation. The Charter’s principles are designed to allow institutions to adhere to them regardless of how they define or have defined their respective action plans.
While 2050Today encourages its members to take action in all of the thematic sectors of action listed below, signatories are free to choose which sectors they wish to focus on and for which they plan to develop assessments and action plans. When sharing their action plan, signatories will indicate the sectors selected. An inclusive set of Common Thematic Guidelines to define an action plan is proposed for each sector. It provides a detailed description of the thematic intervention objectives indicated below.
A sector by sector Assessment and Action Plan Tool is also included in the Guidelines to enable an in-depth assessment of the initial situation specific to each institution. On the basis of their own assessment, the participating institutions can then define their own action plan using the proposed objectives, actions and targets. The objectives, actions and targets proposed are non-exhaustive examples, to be set and adapted to each member’s initial individual situation.
Thematic Objectives by sector
In order to successfully implement their defined action plan, participating institutions are invited to set up – for each selected sector – the appropriate measures to achieve the following objectives:
- Establishing management measures to ensure the action plan implementation
- Monitoring sustainability over time
- Championing change and involving all stakeholders
These three objectives apply to all areas of intervention. As their achievement by sector may require specific and different actions, the appendix proposes respective actions for each sector.
To find out about the specifics, click on the sectors below
We, the signatory institutions, express our resolve to take the following actions and measures, consistent with our respective legal frameworks, towards a carbon free International Geneva :
1. Measuring regularly the carbon footprint of our activities;
2. Carrying out an initial assessment of our situation on one or possibly more sustainability sectors of the Charter;
3. Defining our own Action Plan and implementing it to work towards the corresponding targets;
4. Sharing the Action Plan with 2050Today and reporting on the set sustainability topics;
5. Communicating our climate action.
Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Geneva
Academia and Civil society entities
24. HES- SO Genève
34. Geneva Call
38. Open Geneva