Green Action Handbook - CARE Climate Change

Green Action Handbook - CARE Climate Change

The future depends on w hat we do in the present.

Mahatma Gandhi


CARE International in Vietnam’s


1.0 Why Go Green? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

2.0 What are Green Teams? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

2.1 Green Team Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

2.2 How do Green Teams Work? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

2.3 What Makes Green Teams Successful? . . . . . . . . . . . 5

3.0 Going Green: What Actions Can We Take? . . . 7

3.1 Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

3.2 Water. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

3.3 Waste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

3.4 Transport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

3.5 Purchasing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

4.0 Where Can I Get More Information? . . . . . . . 14


As a result, staff members believe that CARE should take urgent steps to minimise its

emissions. CARE International has suggested a ‘roadmap’ for reducing operational

greenhouse gas emissions. Based upon the experience of CARE Green Teams around

the world such as CARE Brazil and CARE Netherlands, the suggested roadmap entails

the following steps:

1. Establish and coordinate ‘Green Teams’

2. Assess greenhouse gas emissions

3. Implement emission reduction activities

4. Consider offsetting for carbon neutrality (see Box A for definition)

5. Refine calculations and continue investing in emissions reductions

This Green Team Action Handbook will enable CARE Vietnam to take the first step on the

roadmap and establish and coordinate Green Teams across its country and field offices.

Once this has been achieved we will continue further along the roadmap.



Climate change is an environmental change, but given that human societies are affected

directly and indirectly by the climate system – and given that human activities are driving

climate change – it is also a human issue.

Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have recognised the need to take direct

action. CARE International in Vietnam is especially concerned about climate change due

to its disproportionate impacts on poor people. The impacts of climate change present

a new set of challenges in our efforts to reduce poverty and promote social justice.

Changing temperatures, erratic rainfall, floods, cyclones and droughts all have significant

consequences for the livelihoods, health, food security, educational opportunities and

survival of people living in poverty, and CARE staff around the world are seeing first-hand

the effects of a changing climate on their work.

Climate Change: A change in the global or regional climate change, for example in

temperature and rainfall, which persists for decades or longer. This can be caused

by human activities that alter the global atmosphere and which are in addition to

natural climate variability.

Carbon Footprint: All greenhouse gas emissions associated with an individual’s or

organisation’s activities.

Carbon Neutral: Achieving a net zero carbon footprint through a combination

of emissions reductions and purchase of carbon offsets. NGOs should seek to

responsibly reduce emissions to the greatest extent possible before balancing

remaining emissions by purchasing offsets.

Carbon Offsets: A measure to compensate for the release of greenhouse gases

by storing or avoiding the emission of a set amount of carbon dioxide from the

atmosphere to compensate for emissions by another party in another location.

Climate Risk: Risk arising from climate change impacts (both chronic and


Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) strategies include both traditional disaster

risk reduction (DRR) measures which reduce vulnerability to catastrophic climate

change impacts, and other measures which improve resilience to the more

gradual impacts. These can include establishing disaster early warning systems

and building storm resistant houses; raising awareness of potential new health

risks; and planting crops and trees more suited to warmer conditions.

Vulnerability: Conditions which increase the likelihood that a community will be

negatively affected by climate change, resulting from a combination of exposure

to climate conditions, how sensitive the community is to those conditions, and

the capacity to adapt to those changes.



• Reduce CARE Vietnam’s greenhouse gas emissions by increasing energy and water

efficiency, minimising waste, and implementing green procurement practices

• Ensure each field and country office concerns are met

• Research potential future solutions


CARE Vietnam’s Green Team program is designed to support CARE in minimizing its carbon

footprint through raising staff awareness on climate change and making improvements

across a wide range of consumption activities including: • Energy

• Water

Green Teams seek to change behaviour at the individual • Waste

and organisational level through education, training • Transport

and practical support.

• Purchasing

Green Team members discuss energy, water, waste, transport and purchasing and map out

practical actions their office can take to reduce impact in each area. Green Team members

are encouraged to share their experiences, local knowledge, ideas and to support each

other in making further changes to office behaviour.

Green Teams consist of between six and ten interested staff members and include staff

from all program areas including: • Finance

• Information Technology

• Administration

• Procurement

• Programs

Green Teams will play a central role in leading their respective offices through the five

steps outlined in CARE International’s Roadmap (see Section 1.0).

A CARE Vietnam Green Team meeting is held annually and attended by representatives

from Green Teams in each field and country office. The annual meeting is an opportunity to

share and celebrate the collective achievements of the group and to discuss future actions

that can be taken in order to further CARE’s progress in reducing its carbon footprint.


• Strengthen staff understanding and awareness of the issue of climate change

• Engage staff and provide practical information and guidance to encourage

behaviour change


Each office floor is assigned one or more Green Team members. Green Team members

conduct informal and fun training for their floor on topics such as ‘how to print double

sided’, ‘how to recycle’ and ‘how to use the air conditioner responsibly’. These trainings

may be every three to six months. Green Team members are available to answer questions

and provide support to staff on their floor.

In recognition of the voluntary efforts and commitment of individual staff members CARE

Vietnam has committed to providing greater institutional support, including allocating

resources and staff time to their efforts, encouraging senior staff to champion the work

and recommendations of the team, and coordinating team activities during the initial

years of planning and implementation.


The Green Teams at CARE Vietnam aim to engage staff to take action in the following


• Team-based approach: providing both support and pressure to

change behaviours.

• Office monitoring and evaluation: using surveys and small-scale

audits to reinforce staff progress.

• Incorporation of small (but significant) changes into pre-existing

office routines: for example turning off computers and lights at

the end of the day.

• Starting to engage in the next level of activities: described in the

CARE International roadmap i.e. those things that require more

effort and investment (ensuring the next office equipment that is

purchased is more energy efficient).

Green Teams promote and build motivation for new behaviours which then become

habit and routine over a longer time frame. Because Green Teams deal with a whole

range of sustainable behaviour issues (energy, water, transport, waste) linkages can be

made between them.

Over time green routines become normal and the continuation of these becomes

necessary to sustain the self-identity of belonging to a ‘green office’.






The demand for energy in Vietnam is increasing rapidly and with it the amount of

greenhouse gas emissions we emit. However the good news is that there are many ways

to save energy in the office without drastically changing the way we do things. Whether

it is electricity, gas, or petrol, energy costs both you and the earth and it is easy to use

less and….Switch Off !

Actions we can take today:

• Use window blinds to reduce the temperature in offices from direct


• Use air conditioning and heating responsibly. Set the cooling between 24-

27ºC. Set the heating between 18-20ºC…and don’t forget to close the door!

• Use natural ventilation in preference to

air conditioning. Simply open a window! If

necessary, use an electric fan instead of air

conditioning when temperatures rise.

• Turn off computers when not in use especially

overnight and during weekends.

• Switch off lights during the day.

• Turn off mobile phone and lap top chargers

at the wall socket when they are fully


• Switch to energy saving lighting.

• Ensure heating and cooling appliances are serviced regularly.


A difference of just

one degree in cooling

or heating can reduce

energy consumption and

greenhouse emissions by

10 percent?

Actions we can take in the future:

• Consider replacing conventional light switches with movement sensors in

areas that aren’t in constant use such as in corridors, meeting rooms and


• Consider installing solar power solutions for the building.

• When buying new office equipment such as photocopiers, printers and

computers, check that the appliance is energy efficient and will decrease

energy use in the office (for example buying a photocopier that is also a

printer and scanner means only one machine is switched on but it performs

three functions).




Washing dishes, taking a shower, flushing the toilet, washing clothes, washing our hands

– every time we turn on the tap we use energy to pump, clean and deliver the water to

us and as a result CO2 is emitted. Approximately 60 percent of people in Vietnam depend

on underground water resources. Due to over-exploitation, underground water levels

are decreasing. Currently during the dry season, many big rivers are facing abnormally

low water levels and the threat of water shortages will rise in the future as the climate

changes. Water shortages will impact around 8.5 million urban residents and 21 million

rural residents who don’t have access to safe water yet.

There are no magic solutions to the fact that there is less rain and more people using

more water. It isn’t feasible to build more dams or access more underground water

because of the high costs and environmental risks. Damning floods large areas of land,

reduces river flows, and degrades areas that plants and animals need to survive. It is also

very expensive to build more dams, and the pipes, treatment systems and drains that are

needed to access underground reserves.

The best solution is to use less water in the first place! This can be done in our homes and

here in the CARE Office. We can all be part of the solution by using less water and using

water wisely…Every Drop Counts !

Actions we can take today:

• Turn off taps properly.

• Use the dual flush option on

toilets which save water.

• Repair any dripping taps and

leaking toilets.

Actions we can take in the future:

• Fit water-saving devices – e.g.

low-flow high-efficiency taps,

shower heads, and aerators/

flow restrictors.

• Install push tap buttons on

sinks, which can cut down water usage by 50 percent.


The amount of CO2 emitted to

pump, clean and deliver the water

that the average person flushes

down the toilet in a year is equal

to the emissions from driving

145 kilometers.

Using the short flush option on a

dual flush toilet can save 42 000

litres per year!

• When buying new office equipment check that the appliance is water

efficient and will decrease water use in the office.




In the past decade, strong economic growth and urbanization have pushed waste

management to the forefront of environmental challenges with which Vietnam must

contend. The amount of solid waste generated in Vietnam has been increasing steadily

over the last decade. In 1996, the average amount of waste produced per year was 5.9

million tons/yr. Today that figure has more than doubled with 14.8 million tons of waste

being produced per year. Those numbers are predicted to increase by over 60 percent

before 2010. Studies indicate that the amount of solid waste produced by each person

in Vietnam on a daily basis will rise to 1.2 kilograms per capita/day, a rate which will put

Vietnam on par with other large Asian cities.

But there’s a solution. We can all do our bit to…Reduce, Reuse, Recycle !

Actions we can take today:

• Set your printer default to doublesided

printing to use both sides of a

sheet of paper.

• Place paper used on one side in the

scrap paper tray so others can use it

to take notes.

• Use scrap paper to make notepads

rather than using new paper.

• Recycle used paper in the recycling stations on each floor.

• Use staple-free paper joiners or paper clips over conventional metal staples

so paper can be easily recycled.

• Use rechargeable batteries.

• Purchase products that are reusable or come in reusable packaging.

• Avoid using disposable products such as paper cups, paper towels and

paper plates.

• Take the CARE Green Team Bag with you when shopping instead of accepting

plastic ones.

• Investigate options for recycling toner cartridges.

Actions we can take in the future:

• Install a compost bin. The decomposition process of

a compost bin produces less greenhouse gases than

materials left to decompose in landfill. For every

tonne of food waste at the office you compost,

you reduce the amount of greenhouse gases

emitted by a third of a tonne.


The amount of petroleum used

to make a plastic bag would

drive a car up to 11 kilometers?

We use 3.93 billion plastic bags

per year.

photo: Ken Huffman


Motorbikes and cars are major contributors to greenhouse gas pollution. In Vietnam

vehicular emissions represent as much as 40 percent of known local emission sources.

More specifically, motorcycles, the primary contributors to traffic emissions, contribute

43 percent of total particulate matter emissions, 54.5 percent of carbon monoxide, and

54.1 percent of hydrocarbon. The number of motorcycles on our roads is increasing by

20 percent every year.

As well as greenhouse gas pollution, vehicle exhaust causes air pollution. This can have

serious health effects in urban areas like Ha Noi. Each year, Hanoi witnesses more than

620 deaths and 1 550 people who catch respiratory diseases caused by air pollution.

According to the Global Environment Outlook released by the United Nations Environment

Programme in 2008, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were two of the six cities suffering from

the most serious air pollution in the world.

But it’s not all bad news! There are simple actions we can take each time we use

our motorbikes to do our bit and reduce emissions. We can also....Use Alternative

Transport !



3.4 Transport Continued...

Actions we can take today:

• Don’t Idle! Air pollution can affect our health, the environment and reduce

visibility. Idling is a significant contributor to air pollution in Vietnam.

Children’s asthma rates are increasing and studies show it’s partly due to the

particulates and toxic gases in vehicle emissions. Turn off your motorbike

or car when you are stopped in traffic or waiting for someone – doing this

reduces the amount of pollution and uses less fuel than idling.

• Cycle or walk short distances.

• Take the bus.

• Use Skype for meetings to reduce travel miles.

• Keep tyres at the correct pressure. Incorrect pressure increases fuel

consumption, creates handling

difficulties and affects tyre wear.

• When hiring a vehicle opt for the

most fuel efficient and one which

can transport the whole team.

• Service CARE vehicles regularly; this

can save up to 5 percent on fuel use.

Actions we can take in the future:

• Consider the installation of videoconferencing

equipment to reduce

the need for international travel for


• Develop a motorcycle clinic scheme

for CARE staff – CARE International


• With every litre of gasoline

you save greenhouse pollution

is reduced by 2.5 kilograms

• Cycling just 10 kilometers

once a week instead of driving

will save 300 kilograms of

greenhouse pollution a year…

and it’s good for your health!

in Vietnam could pay for two motorbike services per staff member per year

to reduce emissions and contribute to improving air quality in urban areas.

• Next time purchasing fuel efficient vehicles choose manuals rather than

automatic as they use less fuel.

• Investigate options for making conferences and off-site events greener

by offsetting miles traveled and energy used during the event (this means

investing in new technology or donating money towards carbon abatement



Every week we make purchasing decisions at the office – stationary supplies, printing

companies, cleaning products, and electrical appliances like computers and printers. All

these purchases have some impact on the environment because it takes energy, water

and materials/waste to create and deliver all products.

We can support our procurement team to make wise buying decisions to help the


Actions we can take today:

• Support CARE’s efforts to sign up to a scheme to collect used toner cartridges

for recycling by placing them next to the recycling bin for collection.

• Request re-manufactured toner cartridges – they offer the same quality as

new cartridges at a lower price.



3.5 Purchasing Continued...

Actions we can take today:

• When placing a stationary order choose a stationery supplier who’s

committed to providing the best choice of environmentally friendly

products. Specify recycled products such as paper, envelopes, cardboard,

pencils, stationery and office furniture where possible.

• When developing and printing publications, business cards, leaflets and

flyers request recycled or FSC-certified paper.

• Purchase cleaning products that do not contain chemicals and solvents that

are toxic and harmful to health, such as chlorine-based bleach.

• Purchase liquids and spray products as opposed to aerosols that contain

potentially damaging propellants.

Actions we can take in the future:

• Buy office equipment with an Energy Star label which rates models on their

energy efficiency, saving CARE money and helping the environment.

• Buy multifunction IT equipment rather than individual faxes, printers,

scanners and copiers.

• Use only environmentally-accredited printing companies which have

achieved the independently verified ISO 14001 standard.



If you’d like to get involved or know more about being a Green Team member please

ask a Green Team Member on your floor or the Climate Change Team.

Remember that being green is only half the challenge – don’t

forget to encourage and inspire others!



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