UK diplomats want to become ‘the greenest in the world’


DIPLOMATS’ official cars are being replaced with low-carbon vehicles by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of an ambitious programme to cut emissions and become ‘the greenest diplomatic service in the world.’

The UK’s Oslo and Holy See Embassies have already replaced their cars, and 30 other UK posts around the world will be among the first to receive either an all-electric or hybrid Jaguar I-Pace by April 2020.

Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, commented on the scheme: “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, and our fleet of flag cars is a high-profile tool for demonstrating the UK’s international leadership on climate change diplomacy.

“I want us to be the greenest diplomatic service in the world. Shifting our vehicles away from petrol to all-electric will help us achieve this.”

Fast charging stations will also be installed at posts as part of the programme.

Converting to low-emission vehicles for its entire fleet is part of a wider Foreign Office effort to improve its environmental footprint.

The The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to achieving the targets set for all government departments to have a 25% electric fleet by 2022 and an all-electric fleet by 2030.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is also extending the use of solar energy on its buildings to reduce its carbon footprint and eliminating the use of single-use plastics across its global estate – saving 142,000 items from going to landfill every year.

The International Energy Agency estimates that transportation is responsible for 24% of all global CO2 emissions.

In 2018 to 2019, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK/domestic greenhouse gas emissions were 7,753 tCO2e (tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent), representing a 60% reduction compared to 2009 to 2010 and ahead of the 2020 Greener Government Commitment target. Of this, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office fleet accounted for 94 tCO2e.

The first 30 Posts set to receive a low-emission flag vehicles are:

  1. Abu Dhabi
  2. Atlanta
  3. Brasilia
  4. Brussels
  5. Bucharest
  6. Calgary
  7. Chicago
  8. Colombo
  9. Dubai
  10. Hanoi
  11. Kiev
  12. Kingston
  13. Lisbon
  14. Madrid
  15. Mexico City
  16. Montreal
  17. Moscow
  18. Paris
  19. Pristina
  20. Riga
  21. Rio De Janeiro
  22. Sao Paulo
  23. Singapore
  24. Stockholm
  25. Sydney
  26. Taiwan
  27. Tallinn
  28. The Hague
  29. Vilnius
  30. Zagreb

Embassies can now only purchase petrol or diesel vehicles as a last resort in locations where electric vehicles are not serviceable or available.

Action taken to eliminate single-use plastics across the Foreign and Commonwealth Office global estate has seen a 98% reduction in the UK of single-use plastics, and 15 Posts now operate entirely free of single-use plastics.

Upon completion, the campaign is expected to see the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s single-use plastic footprint cut by 99%, saving 142,000 items from entering local landfills per year.