The ITU leads efforts to align information and communication technologies (ICTs) with climate goals, working with 193 Member States and 900+ partners to foster a climate-neutral ICT industry and sustainable development while committing to internal climate action. The ITU is addressing climate change from within in line with UN-wide “Greening the Blue” commitments to ‘walk the talk’. Reducing negative environmental impacts is an ongoing effort for the ITU and several actions have been undertaken throughout the past years including digitizing paper processes, virtualizing ICT servers, and strengthening virtual meetings and remote participation capabilities.
Through the ‘ITU Environmental Sustainability Statement’, in 2020, the ITU started to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS), with the aim of establishing a coherent approach towards sustainability management across the organization and systematically integrate environmental sustainability long-term into ITU’s internal practices. In the context of the EMS, the ITU developed an EMS Targets and Action Plan 2020-2030, with reduction targets and activities, in line with the first UN Strategy for Environmental Sustainability 2020-2030.
Additionally, to assess and improve the performance of ITU’s existing buildings, a methodology for assessing and scoring of sustainability performance of office buildings will be implemented (Recommendation ITU-T L.1371). Also works on Circular and Sustainable Public Procurement for ICTs has been developed, including Recommendation ITU-T L.1061.
The 2022 Plenipotentiary Conference, ITU’s highest policy-making body, included the commitment to environmental sustainability in the Union’s Strategic Plan for 2024-2027. That same year, the ‘ITU Environmental Sustainability Policy’ was adopted.
ITU includes food consumption data in the information provided for the annual GHG inventory report, in collaboration with its catering provider in HQ. ITU also encourages its catering provider to engage and participate in 2050Today initiatives such as the competition “A Table” which was for the first time open to international organisations in 2023. A table is a gastronomic competition which runs for 4 weeks, where a large number of restaurants, in town and country, are making a commitment to healthy, local, high-quality food that respects our planet. With food accounting for between 20% and 30% of our environmental impact, we need to favour diets that promote locality, seasonality and biodiversity and limit the impact on climate change.
By taking part in the event, the restaurant is making every effort to comply with the following points:
During the 4 weeks of the competition, the restaurants are judged anonymously by tester from the a table competition.
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.
Mobility: It takes into consideration business travels and commuting (on a survey basis).
Food: 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.
Waste: The perimeter of the waste inventory is set to waste production from facilities and internal operations of the institution
To ensure the reliability, accuracy and a recurrent updating of the carbon footprint assessment, 2050Today is advised by an international Carbon Footprint Scientific Committee.
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.
If we were to give a concrete weight to this carbon footprint, it would represent the weight of the following number of elephants :
(average weight per elephant : 5’000 kilos)
This amount of CO2 was emitted in one year. How many century-old cedars does it take to absorb this carbon footprint in the same amount of time ?
(a 100 year old cedar absorbs on average 25 kg of CO2 per year)