2050Today Members

ILO – International Labour Organization

A net-zero economy is within reach if we combine ambitious climate action with productive employment and decent work creation and a just transition for all.

Contribution to climate action

The ILO has stated the importance of sustainability to its social justice mandate since the 1970s. Environmental sustainability initiatives have been incorporated in our operations and policies for many years. In 2007, the ILO implemented a series of measures to protect the environment in ILO Workplaces. These measures were later adapted and formalized in 2016 by introducing an Environmental Sustainability Policy and an Environmental Management System (EMS). The goal was to significantly improve the operations of the Organization, making them more environmentally friendly, and issuing the policy ILO wide to ensure greater accountability.

ILO set up its EMS in 2016, to enable a systematic, coordinated and integrated approach to achieving the objectives of its Environmental Sustainability Policy. The EMS is overseen by the Environmental Sustainability Committee. Every biennium, the Committee agrees on an Action Plan which includes GHG emission reduction targets, as well as many other environmental targets & objectives. The Committee meets biannually to review their progress.

Every year, as part of the Greening the Blue Report on Environmental Governance, each participating UN entity’s progress on the development of an Environmental Management System (EMS) is evaluated. For the 2022 reporting year, ILO’s progress on the EMS is rated as it approaches the EMS targets.

Considering environmental staff training, from August 2022, the ILO has made the full Greening the Blue tutorial available to all staff on our internal HR platform and has been promoting its uptake.

The ILO also engages in buying offsets. In 2022, the ILO emitted a total of 8,060 tonnes of CO2 equivalent from its headquarters and 48 field offices. 100% of these were offset with CERs purchased from UNFCCC’s Adaptation Fund. ILO has been offsetting its emissions since 2020 and has therefore achieved carbon neutrality.

Thematic actions


A notable emission reduction project is the second phase of the renovation of ILO headquarters which began in 2022. The first phase of the renovation was concluded in 2019, on the year of the Centenary of the organization. Energy efficiency measures included a complete re-insulation of the façade (including glazing) to meet standards, and the installation of LED lighting and high-performance energy recovery air-handling units. A water management system was also installed to reduce water waste and water saving devices were implemented throughout the building. Furthermore, the temporary building being used during the renovation is a pre-existing building which was used by another organization. The ambition is that once the ILO no longer requires the temporary building, it can be reused again by another organization.

The ILO HQ utilizes a smart and connected control system to manage energy consumption for the facilities. Through a staged approach, lighting, heating, and ventilation are reduced during periods of unoccupancy (i.e., nights and weekends). Additionally, a heat recovery system is utilized to warm fresh air for ventilation therefore lowering the use of boilers for warming.

In 2024, ILO will install 1,364 photovoltaic panels on the HQ roof covering 2,663 m2. The panels will have a peak power production of 572 kWc and will be entirely consumed by the building. ILO is currently connected to the GLN network which uses the cold water from Lake Geneva to cool the facilities. This includes the production of cold water and cooling the building during warmer months. In 2025, ILO will connect to the GeniLac network, which uses heat pumps to heat HQ also with water sourced from Lake Geneva; this will subsequently reduce the use of boilers for heating which will mainly be used as a back-up if needed.

Other specific actions from ILO’s EMS action plan at HQ enabled the fine tuning of the energy system and has resulted in a 44% reduction in gas consumption from 2019 levels in 2023.


The ILO HQ encourages sustainable food practices through our caterer Eldora. Eldora provides daily vegetarian options, nutritional and balanced meals, avoids highly processed products, and reduces food waste as much as possible. Furthermore, Eldora provides the Recircle lunch boxes in which staff can pay a deposit of 10CHF to use and keep or return later and receive their deposit back. This is also in an effort to reduce single use food containers for takeaway meals. ILO HQ also provides staff with free and accessible water and has distributed reusable water bottles and glass mugs to all staff to reduce single use cups.


In order to support the staff at the ILO headquarters to use Ecomobility, additional bike racks were installed, including air compressors. In 2017, 2019, 2022 and 2023 a bike to work event was organised to engage ILO staff in coming to work by bike. In 2019 charging stations for electric cars were installed. Regarding air travel, ILO has reduced its emissions by 45% from 2019 levels in 2022.

Sustainable IT

Through the EMS the ILO aim for 25% reduction of power use from computers, delivering equivalent output. The ILO also works on re-architecting the data centre network for overall increased energy efficiency, this included purchasing new data centre switches and replacing WIFI controller cards with appliances This resulted in a reduction in energy consumption by ILO data centres. Furthermore, ILO HQ has established an energy consumption baseline for laptop and desktops; these standards are used when ordering new equipment. Lastly, ILO has implemented an extended warranty contract with our IT equipment provider to reduce the number of PCs and laptops that need to be replaced.

Waste management

Improved waste management practices are a key element in ILO’s efforts to improve environmental sustainability. At the ILO HQ in Geneva, 80% of the waste volume is recycled or composted. At the HQ, a centralized waste management system was implemented with the purpose of increasing the recycling of major waste streams. Waste recycling centres with bins for organic, paper, glass, aluminium, PET and batteries were placed in strategic areas on each floor and replaced individual waste bins. The strategy was accompanied by campaigns to sensitize and engage staff to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. This successful experience is now being replicated in other ILO buildings worldwide. In addition, the current Environmental Sustainability Action plan focusses on waste reduction initiatives, such as paperless processes & meetings or the removal of single-use items in catering…

Footprint and emissions by scope

2050Today’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions measurement methodology follows the GHG Protocol. The Protocol provides standards and guidance for organizations to measure and manage climate-warming emissions. It was created in 1998 through a partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

According to the GHG Protocol, the distribution of emissions is done by scopes:

Scope 1 represents direct emissions linked to the consumption of fossil fuels.

Scope 2 represents indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company.

Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain (i.e. purchased good or services, business travel, employee commuting).

The 2050Today carbon footprint takes into account the reported emissions generated by the activities of the institution over one year and is divided by categories:

Energy and water

It takes into account the amount of the consumed electricity produced and purchased by the institution. The energy consumed to heat and/or cool the institution’s building area and the consumed water are included as well.


It takes into consideration business travels and commuting (on a survey basis).


The CO2 impact of food includes the catering of the institution and individual consumption (on a survey basis) during working hours.

Purchased goods

The perimeter of purchased goods is set to a list of new office equipment, new mobility equipment (vehicles) and construction materials.


The perimeter of the waste inventory is set to waste production from facilities and internal operations of the institution

It has to be noted that the collected data of the 2050Today members resulting in each carbon footprint are not yet fully standardized and might not be entirely complete. Data collection is being progressively harmonized and improved. Therefore, direct comparisons between tCO2 / employee among institutions – be it in general or per sector – are not yet possible nor relevant.

To ensure the reliability, the accuracy and a recurrent updating of the carbon footprint assessment, 2050Today is advised by an international Carbon Footprint Scientific Committee.

Special features of the ILO 2020
The ILO’s GHG emissions have decreased significantly from 2019 to 2020, due to the travel restrictions imposed by COVID19. The very significant reduction in the air travel footprint outweighs an increase in the facilities footprint. This increase in the facilities footprint is due to a new ventilation procedure linked to COVID19. 100% fresh air must be supplied 24 hours a day to ensure the safety of building occupants and to comply with REHVA recommendations (no recycled air). This means increased heating and cooling to ensure that the fresh air is at an adequate temperature to keep the occupants comfortable.

Carbon Footprint