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Politics & press news – Embassy 23 – February 2010

FCO reduces its carbon footprint

Foreign Office staff have been asked to fly economy class as part of the FCO’s bid to reduce its carbon footprint.

The FCO recently joined the 10:10 campaign, which challenges individuals and organisations to cut their carbon emissions by 10 per cent in 2010.

The majority of the FCO’s carbon footprint comes from air travel, so staff have been encouraged to travel in economy class on flights of up to five hours. Economy seats take up less room on a plane, and aviation emissions are calculated by the amount of room a person takes up on a plane.

The Foreign Office also plans to use technology, such as video-conferencing, to reduce air-miles. Last September more than 200 diplomats from across the FCO’s global network took part in its first-ever virtual leadership conference.

The other major source of greenhouse emissions comes from the FCO’s estate, and so the department has pledged to reduce the energy used to heat, cool and light British diplomatic missions and offices in London.

Initiatives will include improving the efficiency of the IT system, purchasing eco-friendly vehicles for embassy fleets and turning down the heating and air conditioning.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has urged all UK embassies to pledge their support, 14 of which have already signed up. They include the British missions in Baku, Belgrade, Brazil, Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dubai, Nairobi, San Jose, Sydney, Tokyo, Washington and Zagreb.

For information on the 10:10 Campaign and how your mission can participate, visit www.1010uk.org

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