NOUMEA, New Caledonia—In late 2012, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community adopted a target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below its 2011 level by the end of 2016. The annual greenhouse gas monitoring report has revealed that SPC made substantive progress toward achieving this target during the first year of its emissions reduction program. In total, the organization’s carbon footprint was reduced by approximately 12 percent (equivalent to more than 200 tons of carbon dioxide per year), even though the organization continued to grow in the level of program activity and number of staff since 2011, the base year against which the organization is measuring its emission reduction achievements. When viewed on an emissions per staff member basis, emissions were reduced by 18.6 percent, which is a significant achievement.
The emissions reduction program forms part of SPC’s Climate Change Engagement Strategy, which was adopted by its governing body in November 2011. In its climate change strategy, SPC committed to establish a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and to implement measures to reduce its carbon footprint. The process has involved compiling accurate emissions inventories for all its offices and operations, and these were established in compliance with international emission quantification guidelines. Given the size and geographic diversity of the organization’s operations, this was a time-consuming process, and involved the collection of a large quantity of data from across the organization.
Following the completion of the inventory analysis, SPC worked across the organization to identify where emissions could be reduced. A wide range of potential emission reduction measures were identified in SPC offices in Noumea, Suva, Pohnpei and Honiara. These included reducing electricity consumption, using less transport fuel and paper, and more effective management of the organization’s waste. Based on the results of this analysis, SPC formulated a five-year strategy to reduce its carbon footprint. The initial aim is to reduce emissions by 30 percent by the end of 2016, and possibly a higher target will be adopted beyond 2016.
Significant reductions were achieved at SPC’s Noumea headquarters and at its regional offices in Suva, Pohnpei and Honiara. Savings in electricity consumption (falling by 11 percent) were the single largest contributor, accounting for 170 tons of the emission reductions. However, significant reductions in paper consumption (38 percent reduction) and transport fuel use (14 percent reduction) also made important contributions. A significant additional benefit were the substantial economic benefits that have accrued from the emission reduction measures, with overall net economic benefits exceeding USD 30,000/year in operational costs.
A significant proportion of these reductions have been achieved through basic housekeeping measures such as turning out the lights, adjusting air-conditioning thermostats and careful use of vehicles and paper. A range of more substantive emission reduction measures is planned or in the process of implementation and these are expected to deliver additional reductions over the next two years.
SPC’s Director-General Colin Tukuitonga, stated, “We are happy with the progress we have made to date but there is still much to do. SPC sees the emission reduction strategy as an important opportunity to demonstrate to our members that significant reductions in our carbon footprint are possible, while also delivering economic benefits to the organization. Given the magnitude of the climate change and energy program support we provide to member countries, it is important that SPC be seen to lead by example and to practice what it preaches.” (SPC)