British Embassy Montevideo achieves carbon-neutral status

It has become the first embassy in the world to achieve the certification

Net Hero Podcast

British Embassy Montevideo has become the first embassy in the world to achieve the international carbon-neutral certification.

It previously joined the UN Climate Neutral Now initiative, which was launched in 2015 to encourage everyone in society to take action to help achieve a zero emissions world by 2050, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Montevideo is the capital and largest city of Uruguay – the British Embassy there achieved net zero emissions by taking various actions including measuring its carbon footprint, reducing them as much as possible and compensating where there are any emissions that cannot be avoided.

Carbon credits, obtained through One Carbon World (OCW), support a Uruguayan reforestation project of 22,000 hectares of trees, called Guanaré, in the department of Treinta y Tres, which is verified by the Rainforest Alliance.

All electricity, heating and water emissions from both the Embassy and the British residence were also measured in 2019, following which an action plan was drawn up and measures were taken to reduce emissions.

Ambassador Faye O’Connor said: “Every action counts. I am very proud that my team has achieved the success of being the first embassy worldwide to reach net zero emissions and am very grateful to One Carbon World for their support. But it is important to do more – my ambition is to try to be the first embassy to truly achieve zero emissions.

“This implies that every year we are going to adopt new measures to compensate less. That is why I am looking for an electric car for personal use and we are going to use official electric cars as soon as possible. We are also going to install more solar panels to heat my residence and the Embassy using renewable energy.

In addition, the Embassy previously installed solar panels, eliminated single-use plastics, recycled and created an organic garden.

Niclas Svenningsen, Manager for the Global Climate Action, UN Climate Change added: “Embassies, being the face and voice of governments in other countries, have good reasons to showcase the best of what they represent and inspire others by their own actions. With climate change being the defining issue for the future of the planet, showing leadership in taking climate action in all aspects of work is essential.

“For this reason, we are glad to count the British Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay, as a participant in our Climate Neutral Now initiative and look forward to continued participation as we all strive to achieve a net zero society.”