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DRC sets ambitious target: Reducing 50% of our carbon emissions by 2030

The climate crisis causes disasters and protracted climate change that leads to forced displacement and worsened conditions for millions of the world's most vulnerable. At DRC, we have now committed ourselves to respond to the climate crisis by reducing the carbon footprint that emerges from our work for people affected by conflict and displacement around the world.

Floods, extreme droughts, devastating hurricanes. Natural disasters and prolonged climate change are becoming increasingly violent and unpredictable. And worse, they often occur in areas populated by some of the world's most vulnerable people – those who have been forced to flee their homes. Thus, climate change and disasters exacerbate pre-existing crises and increases the risks of people living with instability, poverty and conflict.

According to the United Nations, every year massive changes in climate force at least 20 million people to leave their homes in search of safety. Many of them already live as forcibly displaced.

We will focus on finding the most sustainable alternatives to relief packages, tents and other parts of our response, in order to reduce the carbon and environmental footprint resulting from our local efforts

Secretary General Charlotte Slente

To contribute to mitigating the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis, the Danish Refugee Council has now set an ambitious goal: By 2030, we must halve our CO2 emissions compared to 2019.

"This is an ambitious goal, but we have already begun to work systematically on reducing our CO2 emissions in connection with ensuring emergency aid and lasting solutions for displaced people," says Secretary General Charlotte Slente.

"Of course, we are looking at transport, travel, energy consumption and supply chains – but also at the specific help we provide in crisis areas.  We will focus on finding the most sustainable alternatives to relief packages, tents and other parts of our response, in order to reduce the carbon and environmental footprint resulting from our local efforts."

Casefoto Landingsside AFG Juni 21

Aimal, 11, is of millions of people displaced by drought. He lives in Shahrak Sabz in Afghanistan and is solely responsible for providing for his six younger siblings, his mother and himself. Every day Aimal goes to the city to beg and sell garbage for recycling.

Photo: DRC Afghanistan

A huge step in the right direction

In collaboration with Global Focus, DRC has prepared a CO2 accounting tool that makes it possible to quantify our carbon footprint, assess the most polluting practices and then implement mitigation measures. But the challenges cannot all be solved by equal measures, explains Charlotte Slente.

"Depending on the country, the context, and the nature of our activities, the sources of CO2 emissions vary quite a lot, and therefore there is no universal solution. With 9,000 employees in 40 countries, I see it as a huge step that an organisation like ours starts to work ambitiously and systematically with climate and environmental considerations in all parts of the work for forcibly displaced people. "

It will take some time to go through all stages of our work with the mission of significantly reducing carbon emissions. But we are determined to cut at least 50% of our carbon footprint by 2030, and I am confident that we will reach that target

Secretary General Charlotte Slente

Systematic reduction in all stages of our humanitarian work

Due to the nature of our work, achieving carbon neutrality solely through mitigation measures is not possible:

"But we will do our very best to ensure the greatest possible CO2 reduction at all stages of our humanitarian efforts – and in time also look at options for offsetting the emissions that cannot be reduced or avoided," explains Charlotte Slente.

"We are proud to have started this ambitious journey. It won't be easy and it will take some time to go through all stages of our work with the mission of significantly reducing carbon emissions. But we are determined to cut at least 50% of our carbon footprint by 2030, and I am confident that we will reach that target."

The work on mapping and implementing CO2 reduction efforts will be described in our new annual climate and environmental report, which will be published later in May.