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Corps news – Embassy 29

Green embassies: mission possible?

Every year diplomatic missions worldwide emit more than 3 million tonnes of C02 on energy alone, so embassies in London have decided to set an example by reducing their collective carbon footprint

A Green Zone in London
As world leaders were converging on Cancun for the next round of negotiations on a climate change deal, London’s diplomats decided to “walk the talk” by gathering together to discuss ways in which to reduce their collective carbon footprint in the capital – and beyond.

The conference, organised by Embassy Events, resulted in the launch of a Green Embassy Network in London with embassy staff pledging to ‘green’ London’s diplomatic quarter, by sharing best practice and collaborating on a combined recycling scheme and green procurement.

Conscious of the symbolic role that embassies play in any city, missions were encouraged to put in place carbon reduction plans by following the examples set by the Norwegian Embassy and the US Embassy (see case studies opposite).

The London Mayor’s Environment Adviser Martin Powell briefed diplomats about initiatives by the Mayor of London that London’s diplomatic missions can join (see p13).

Putting sustainability into practice across a diplomatic network should be the long-term goal of all foreign ministries. Exploring ideas to achieve this was Owen Richards, the Foreign Office’s Sustainable Operations Manager, who informed diplomats about the FCO’s strategy to green its network of diplomatic missions.

A final talk by HE David Blunt, Britain’s Ambassador to Zagreb, who is also the FCO’s sustainability champion in Europe and whose mission won the FCO’s greening award for 2010, inspired diplomats to action by assuring them that greening an embassy was not a ‘mission impossible’.

The event ended with a reception co-hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change at which the Vice Chair, Lord Redesdale, launched the green embassies network which will work towards creating a worldwide sustainable embassies charter.

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