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UNHCR and IKEA Foundation announce new commitment to reduce emissions in refugee operations


UNHCR and IKEA Foundation announce new commitment to reduce emissions in refugee operations

IKEA Foundation commits to accelerate UNHCR’s transition from diesel to solar energy in its offices globally.
3 July 2023
UNHCR logo

GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today welcomes the IKEA Foundation as a new partner to the Green Financing Facility (GFF) with its $23.7 million commitment to accelerate the transition of UNHCR offices to solar energy.

The GFF initiative aims to accelerate private sector investments to solarize UNHCR’s operations in high-risk and unpredictable settings and reduce carbon emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030.

As a GFF partner, the IKEA Foundation will help UNHCR reduce its reliance on costly, polluting diesel generators in hundreds of remote, off-grid locations such as in Kenya and Uganda.  The IKEA Foundation joins the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) who provided $4 million (2019) and $8 million (2020) respectively, to the GFF.

“UNHCR is fully committed to reducing our carbon footprint and becoming a leaner, greener organization,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “The decision to go green with the Green Financing Facility means the cost savings from our sustainability efforts will be channelled towards better serving refugees, making it a win-win situation for both the environment and displaced people in need.”

The Green Financing Facility was launched in 2019 as a solution to unblock longstanding challenges around limited annual budgets, the inability to enter into long-term contracts, and limitations on managing and operating solar infrastructure. As an innovative financing mechanism, the GFF provides guarantees and other new arrangements to successfully transition to green energy in humanitarian settings.

By investing in the GFF we hope to demonstrate how reducing carbon emissions can help vital agencies like UNHCR not only lower their carbon emissions but become more effective and direct more of their money towards the people they serve,” said Per Heggenes, the CEO of IKEA Foundation. “We are delighted to announce this funding and call on other organizations to join us and help make UNHCR’s ambitious greening goals a reality.”

About the Green Financing Facility (GFF)

UNHCR’s Green Financing Facility is an innovative financing mechanism that transitions UNHCR’s offices globally from fossil fuels to renewable energy, particularly those in remote, off-grid settings.

The GFF uses financial guarantees to enable longer-term contracts, as well as a revolving fund to enable the same capital to solarize multiple sites over time.

UNHCR’s GFF will result in reduced carbon emissions of 60-90 per cent for most UNHCR operations and financial savings of up to 25 per cent, depending on country context. By backing open, competitive procurements for commercially viable contracts, it also creates a positive impact on market development of the solar industry in these high-risk and unpredictable settings.

Solar companies interested in partnering with the GFF can contact [email protected] to find out more about upcoming tenders.

About the IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation is a strategic philanthropy that focuses its grant making efforts on tackling the two biggest threats to children’s futures: poverty and climate change. It currently grants more than €200 million per year to help improve family incomes and quality of life while protecting the planet from climate change. Since 2009, the IKEA Foundation has granted more than €1.5 billion to create a better future for children and their families.

In 2021 the Board of the IKEA Foundation decided to make an additional €1 billion available over the next five years to accelerate the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Learn more at the IKEA Foundation website or by following them on LinkedIn or Twitter.