International Organization for Migration (IOM)

HQ: Geneva, Switzerland

Focal Point: Eva Mach


Internal Sustainability Team: 1 full-time staff 

- 2018-19 emissions cover all IOM offices worldwide.
- 2017 emissions cover IOM's Headquarters, seven regional offices and one country office
The entity may not report waste data for all its personnel. Please refer to the entity's personnel chart below for more information.
All entity personnel are included in the entity's greenhouse gas emission inventory.


"People have always moved due to the environment, and they will continue to do so in the future. Environmental migration is a present reality. Disasters displace millions every year, and climate change already affects migration patterns around the world. Even when societies are slowed down by COVID-19, nothing stops cyclones and floods, the climate continues to change, the environment keeps degrading, and many people are still forced out of their homes. Others, on the contrary, are trapped in environmentally fragile regions or cannot resort to usual seasonal agricultural activities.

On World Environment Day, I join the voices of the UN leaders calling to protect our biodiversity and to take climate action. Even while we battle this global pandemic, we must not forget the critical impacts of environmental change and make sure our recovery keeps focused on climate change and biodiversity. 

Let’s take action now, for people and for nature!"

António Vitorino, Director-General, IOM


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and societies.

As the leading international organization working on migration, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to:

  • Assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management.
  • Advance understanding of migration issues.
  • Encourage social and economic development through migration.
  • Uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.

IOM’s full mission statement is available here:


IOM’s environmental sustainability and environmental management efforts are aligned with the UN system-wide commitments, including the new Strategy for Sustainability Management in the United Nations system 2020–2030 – Phase I. 


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recognizes that a healthy environment is inherently linked to the safety, security and well-being of migrants and societies. As part of IOM’s mission to uphold the well-being of migrants and communities, IOM made an institutional commitment in 2017 to mainstream environmental sustainability in its strategies, projects and programs, and facility management and operations. To achieve these objectives, IOM launched its Environmental Sustainability Programme, with a focus on three key environmental management areas: energy, water, and waste management.

The goal of the Environmental Sustainability Programme is to build on already available good practices and policies and strengthen internal governance related to environmental sustainability.

Since joining the United Nations Environment Management Group in 2017, and in order to adhere to the environmental sustainability commitments of the United Nations, IOM has been gradually improving its environmental reporting. Environmental reporting was piloted in three offices in 2017, ten offices in 2018, and was rolled out globally in 2019.


IOM is institutionally committed to work towards the highest possible level of environmental sustainability in its programs, facilities and operation. The Organization aims to set up an environmental management system by 2030, in line with existing UN system-wide commitments.

IOM has already developed a variety of policy tools seeking to reduce the environmental impacts of its operations through efficient resource management.

IOM also incorporates environmental sustainability principles through project development and implementation. IOM’s Project Handbook, the main internal guidance document for project design and implementation, highlights environmental sustainability as a guiding principle.

In 2020, IOM offices around the world reported to be working towards reducing their environmental footprint by:

  • Raising environmental awareness of staff through verbal reminders, meeting discussions, Environmental Working Groups (inter alia IOM Egypt), establishing Environmental Sustainability Committees (inter alia IOM Thailand), publishing regular Green Focal Point newsletters (inter alia IOM Ireland), sending email notifications and staff-advisories (inter alia IOM Austria, IOM Jordan, IOM Iraq, IOM Mexico, IOM Philippines), organizing brown bag lunches regarding climate change, conducting monthly Green Team meetings, and wearing green every Friday to show solidarity on the Climate Crisis (IOM Philippines).
  • Developing and circulating internal documents such as a draft Environmental Management System Manual (IOM Australia), Green Office administrative instructions (inter alia IOM Bolivia, IOM Guinea, IOM Guinea-Bissau, IOM Nigeria), a national environmental sustainability strategy (inter alia IOM Egypt), and environmental sustainability action plans (inter alia IOM Niger, IOM Turkey).
  • Complying with the IOM-wide air travel policy of flying economy class only, which creates significantly lower emissions than flying in business class. In addition, all air business travel requires authorization which can only be granted in exceptional circumstances and in the absence of other alternatives options.
  • Encouraging train travel over air travel (inter alia IOM Germany/Nuremberg, IOM Austria).
  • Recommending switching off unused electronic devices, such as air-conditioners, water dispensers and central printers, when leaving the office in the evening (inter alia IOM Nigeria, IOM Guinea-Bissau, IOM Ireland, IOM Turkey).
  • Saving energy by replacing all lights with LED or CFL, introducing dark hours in the office and working without lights and AC for 1 hour, adopting energy-saving thermostat settings (inter alia IOM Egypt); encouraging staff to use stairs, instead of the elevator (inter alia IOM Guinea-Bissau).
  • Promoting renewable energy use on-site (inter alia IOM Bangladesh, IOM Chad/ Baga Sola & Faya, IOM Central African Republic, IOM Egypt, IOM Netherlands/Utrecht, IOM Nigeria field hubs, IOM South Sudan/Malakal, IOM Slovakia/Bratislava, IOM Timor-Leste, IOM Viet Nam located in Green One UN House (GOUNH). 
  • Locating IOM offices in United Nations common premises with advanced sustainability features (inter alia IOM Denmark at UN City Copenhagen, IOM Viet Nam at Green One UN House (GOUNH)). 
  • Planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide and reduce landslide risk by increasing soil retention (inter alia IOM Bangladesh, IOM Ethiopia, IOM Niger). 
  • Recommending the use of plants in the office to improve air quality, such as snake plant, Chinese evergren, philodendrons, rubber plants, ficus, aloe vera, and ferns (inter alia IOM Nigeria).


IOM offsets all unavoidable emissions derived from facilities and operations through the procurement of UNFCCC certified carbon credits. In 2021, 36,444 tons CO2eq worth of carbon credits were purchased. This amount was determined using the UN Greening the Blue verified total emissions from 2020 and incorporating an additional 5% error margin on top of that.


IOM launched its waste inventory in 2019 for the 2018 reporting year and received waste-related data from IOM offices located in 75 countries. In 2020, IOM offices from 72 countries participated in the waste inventory for the 2019 reporting year. For IOM offices that were not able to collect and submit data due to COVID-19, the waste data was calculated on the basis of the previous year’s inventory (when available).

The waste inventory collects data on the amount and type of non-hazardous and hazardous waste generated onsite and the ways this waste is managed. The inventory captures IOM offices’ waste footprint and highlights good practices related to refusing, reducing, reusing and recycling. IOM offices around the world are taking the following measures to reduce their waste footprint by:

  • Raising awareness of staff on waste management through participation in environmental campaigns and initiatives, such as “Say Yes to Less” (inter alia IOM Headquarters, IOM Egypt), “Green It Up” (inter alia IOM Philippines), and celebration of international days, such as Earth Day (inter alia IOM Headquarters), World Clean Up Day (inter alia IOM Egypt), World Habitat Day (inter alia Niger).
  • Encouraging staff to sort and properly manage trash and recycling, for example, by placing recycling bins in each room throughout the office (inter alia IOM Ireland); collecting lids, batteries, tonners, paper, boxes, etc. for recycling, and organizing adequate reuse or disposal through expert companies (inter alia IOM Colombia, IOM Headquarters); sorting waste between recyclables (papers, plastics, metals, glass) and general waste, with identified baskets for each type (inter alia IOM Argentina/Regional Office, IOM Headquarters); donating scraped electronics to different charity organizations to be recycled, reused, or used for vocational training (IOM Kenya).
  • Including take-back clauses in procurement contracts (22% of reporting offices), such as, for used cartridges and toners, glass drink bottles (inter alia IOM Germany/Nuremberg), water bottles for mains-fed filtered drinking water (inter alia IOM Japan), used plastic bottles given back to vendors for recycling (inter alia IOM El Salvador).
  • Installing mains-fed filtered drinking water to reduce single-use plastic bottle use (48% of reporting offices), for example, by placing filters on each office floor and connecting them to main water supply (inter alia IOM Bulgaria); connecting water dispensers to the building water line (inter alia IOM Greece, IOM Headquarters); installing water purifying systems at the site from the borehole (IOM Tanzania/Kasulu).
  • Encouraging staff to use reusable containers, cutleries, plates, cups, and paper straws, and to bring their food in reusable bags, in order to avoid single-use plastic usage, for example, by switching from using plastic bottles and cups in the office to water jugs and glasses (inter alia IOM Nigeria, IOM Ghana); banning single-use plastic bags and styrofoam (IOM Ghana, IOM Egypt), encouraging staff to bring their own cups to the shared coffee machines on each floor (inter alia IOM Denmark); stopping using bottled water and start using only refillable bottles (inter alia IOM Iraq); switching from plastic to environmentally friendly kitchenware and not allowing procurement of plastic kitchenware (inter alia IOM Jordan); using paper cups instead of plastic cups (inter alia IOM Kenya); stopping the procurement of plastic cups for staff use and requesting them to have their own reusable cups at the office (inter alia IOM Haiti).
  • Encouraging digital methods to collect and circulate information in new IOM-wide administrative systems.
  • Encouraging staff to adopt sustainable printing habits (67% of reporting offices), in order to save paper and to reduce waste by printing only necessary documents, by setting printers to double-side (82% of reporting offices), black-and-white printing, recommending to print several pages on one sheet when printing a large document (inter alia IOM Honduras/Tegucigalpa); considering switching to ink-saving and space-reducing fonts (inter alia IOM Egypt); asking clients to take photos of IOM informational materials on their phones and email documents to stakeholders in order to reduce paper consumption and printing (inter alia IOM Australia/Sydney).
  • Raising environmental awareness of staff through slogans “Think Green before you print”, "Please consider the environment, do you really need to print this mail?", "Print less, save tree" in email signatures and posters in front of printers (inter alia IOM Armenia, IOM Bahrain, IOM Bangladesh, IOM Dominican Republic, IOM Egypt, IOM Estonia, IOM Guinea, IOM HQ, IOM Netherlands, IOM Russia, IOM Senegal, IOM Tanzania/Moshi, IOM Zimbabwe).
  • Performing paper inventory and setting up specific paper reduction goals (inter alia IOM Dominican Republic, IOM Egypt, IOM Ireland). 
  • Encouraging the use of biodegradable or recyclable products, for example,  using 100% recycled envelopes, papers and folders in the office (inter alia IOM Australia/Melbourne); distributing reusable cloth bags  to staff (inter alia IOM El Salvador); using paper shopping bags instead of plastic ones (inter alia IOM Estonia); giving preference to products in biodegradable packaging by procurement (inter alia IOM Malaysia); acquiring biodegradable cups for waiting areas (inter alia IOM Uruguay);  using single-use teaspoons that are made of paper (IOM Netherlands).
  • Reducing the environmental footprint of events (inter alia IOM Slovenia), for example, by banning all contracted vendors to use plastic when catering IOM events and activities (inter alia IOM Kyrgyzstan, IOM Philippines); not using plastic bottles during workshops and meetings (inter alia IOM Austria); eliminating printed meeting agendas (inter alia IOM Egypt), including vegetarian food options during workshops (inter alia IOM Philippines).
  • Encouraging thoughtful use of resources and products, for example, by re-using several times plastic passport holders (inter alia IOM Uruguay); purchasing purified water from suppliers using returnable containers (inter alia IOM Guatemala); using water dispensers with re-fillable water bottles (inter alia IOM Malawi), using pencils, erasers and sharpeners instead of ballpoint pens.
  • In countries with good water quality, encouraging staff to use tap water for drinking (in multiple-use personal water bottles and mugs) in order to avoid usage of single-use plastic cups and bottles (inter alia IOM Austria, IOM Denmark, IOM Estonia, IOM Finland, IOM Ireland, IOM Netherlands, IOM Poland, IOM Slovakia, IOM Slovenia, IOM United Kingdom).
  • Encouraging composting of organic waste, such as food and garden waste (inter alia IOM Cambodia, IOM France, IOM Iran, IOM Mexico, IOM Morocco, IOM Kenya, IOM Philippines, IOM South Sudan, IOM Tanzania/Dar Es Salaam, IOM Thailand.
  • Supporting creative upcycling solutions, for example, by donating empty Nespresso capsules to artists for making jewellery and decorative artwork out of them (IOM Egypt).


IOM launched its water inventory in 2019 for the 2018 reporting year and received water-related data from IOM offices located in 91 countries. In 2020, IOM offices from 84 countries participated in the water inventory for the 2019 reporting year. For IOM offices that were not able to collect and submit data due to COVID-19, the water data was calculated on the basis of the previous year’s inventory (when available).

The water inventory collects data on the volume and source of water used onsite and highlights good practices, for example:

  • Placing posters above kitchens and bathrooms sinks encouraging staff to avoid wasting water and unnecessary flushing (inter alia IOM El Salvador, IOM Malaysia).
  • Reporting any water leaks in building to ensure efficient use of water resources (61% of reporting offices), for example, by checking water tank for leaks every morning and evening (inter alia IOM Chad); having an in-house maintenance unit with technical staff responsible for regular checking of all leakages, electric appliances, security items, pipelines and drain (inter alia IOM Jordan).
  • Encouraging regular checks by staff to ensure efficient use of water resources (67% of reporting offices).
  • Encouraging water efficient irrigation methods for landscaping, for example, by installing water sprinklers to reduce the use of water for irrigation (inter alia IOM Tajikistan); using rainwater source for irrigation (inter alia IOM Tanzania/Kibondo); using grey water output of wastewater treatment plant for irrigation (inter alia IOM Viet Nam).
  • Encouraging the installation of water meters to identify water usage in each operational site (27% of reporting offices, including IOM Angola, IOM Chile, IOM Georgia, IOM Hungary, IOM Mexico, IOM South Sudan/Wau, IOM Viet Nam).
  • Participating in water audits (inter alia IOM Armenia).
  • Reusing A/C water for watering indoor plants (inter alia IOM Uruguay).
  • Installing water faucets that have flow restrictors (inter alia IOM Viet Nam, IOM Denmark).
  • Encouraging the use of green cleaning products (inter alia IOM Egypt, IOM Nigeria, IOM Turkey).


IOM will continue its participation in the UN environmental inventory, as part of the UN system-wide commitment to advance environmental sustainability, including climate action, and to publish transparent environmental performance data through the annual Greening the Blue report. In line with the iterative approach, IOM is committed to further improving data quality, consistency and accuracy of the environmental inventory.

IOM is currently working towards launching its first environmental policy, which seeks to align IOM activities with global environmental standards to improve environmental sustainability, resource efficiency and quality management. IOM is also in the process of developing its institutional environmental sustainability strategy in line with the Strategy for Sustainability Management in the United Nations system 2020–2030 – Phase I.

Example work of IOM

Recent News & Stories

IOM Celebrates World Cleanup Day 2019 By Cleaning Up The Nile Bank and Hosting a Green Exhibition - 20 September 2021

IOM Ghana Commits to Going Single-Use Plastic Free, Adds 'Green' Approaches to its Projects - 29 June 2021

Success with Staff-Requested Environmental Initiatives at the IOM Office in Egypt - 9 June 2021