Skip to main content

What is UNIDO Headquarters Doing to Be Climate Neutral? - Facility Management Services at the Vienna International Centre

13 February 2024 UNIDO

DG Müller was accompanied on his tour by Karl Stroebl, Siamak Sekhavat, Chief of BMS Beatrice Rossi y Costa, Managing Director Yuko Yasunaga and Mr. Carlos Baumann (from left to right).

Vienna, February 6, 2023 – Recognizing that sustainability and climate neutrality also begin at home, the Director General Gerd Müller of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) embarked on a comprehensive tour of the Facility Management Services (BMS) at the Vienna International Centre (VIC). The visit shone a spotlight on BMS' pioneering initiatives in maintaining and enhancing the VIC's technical infrastructure while prioritizing environmental sustainability, and served as an occasion to encourage new efforts.

DG Müller: “It is great to see the important work that Facility Management does first hand. My great thanks go to BMS Chief Ms. Rossi y Costa and her team for all their efforts to secure the daily functioning of all of our operations here at the VIC. The team is doing a great job making our Headquarters ever more efficient, effective and sustainable.” He commended BMS for harnessing innovation and fostering strategic partnerships to pave the way for a greener, more sustainable Vienna International Centre and asked BMS to start a comprehensive review and update of UNIDO’s climate neutrality initiative with UNFCCC.

BMS, with its team of 100 dedicated professionals comprising engineers and technicians, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the seamless operation of technical facilities at the VIC. BMS continually explores novel approaches to minimize environmental impact and bolster sustainability efforts. In the buildings' Automation Centre, Müller glimpsed the nerve centre of the VIC's technical installations, where experienced technicians monitor processes around-the-clock and act as first responders to any potential technical emergencies.

Karl Stroebl, DG Müller and Beatrice Rossi y Costa (from left to right).

Climate neutrality and eco-friendly practices

In 2015 the VIC achieved for the very first time the climate neutrality, earning prestigious certifications attesting to its eco-friendly practices. While BMS works continuously to reduce its environmental footprint further through the modernization of technical equipment, a complementary agreement was signed between the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and UNIDO. Through this, the Organization has for several years now offset unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions associated with VIC operations – such as the provision of heated water from the Vienna City Network or operating the on-site emergency generators - via Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) credits. These credits were established with the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol to finance projects which reduce the harmful effects of climate change on vulnerable communities worldwide.

Moreover, with the support of the Host Government Austria, the VIC's electricity supply strategy has been changed to embrace renewable energy sources, resulting in a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2015. By exclusively purchasing electricity generated from renewables, the VIC has managed to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions as regards electrical power consumption.

In the same vein, since 2019 BMS has adhered to a Waste Management Concept for the VIC in line with the highest local standards particularly for safe disposal and recycling.

Siamak Sekhavat, DG Müller and Martin Steiger (from left to right).

Modernization of operations

Notable highlights of BMS’s ongoing projects are the imminent replacement of facade cleaning gondolas and the refurbishment of elevator systems, whereby the latest regenerative drives and automated, optimized traffic performance lead to energy efficiency, cost savings, and smoother and safer operations overall.

Roman Julian Allmeder and DG Müller (from left to right).

State-of-the art conference technology

The tour also offered behind-the-scenes glimpses of the state-of-the-art technologies now available in the conference rooms in VIC Building C. Recent years have seen upgrades to all the technical capabilities necessary for seamless conference running, including extensive digitalization of audio-visual infrastructure, lighting, translation and telecommunications support. 

DG Müller and representatives of the Women's Guild (from left to right).

The United Nations Women’s Guild

During his tour of the VIC facilities, the Director General also met with the United Nations Women’s Guild (UNWG) Vienna, a charitable organization supporting children in need and mother-childcare programs worldwide.