In President Biden’s first foreign policy speech, he underlined the importance of leading by example on climate, saying that “integrating climate objectives across all of our diplomacy and raising the ambition of our climate targets. That way, we can challenge other nations, other major emitters, to up the ante on their own commitments.” For over a decade, the Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) has helped the Department integrate climate considerations into its management and operations both to help conserve natural and financial resources and to showcase U.S. solutions. The winners of the 2021 GDI Awards highlight the teams and individuals who have best exemplified the President’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis, leading by example, and reducing the Department’s environmental footprint.
U.S. Tri-Mission Rome is the 2021 GDI Award Winner for Excellence in Team Sustainability Performance. The Rome Green Team worked to alleviate significant waste management challenges in the city by becoming one of the first large-scale organizations to implement a recycling program. The Tri-Mission now recycles 80 percent of their trash. Their partnership continues with the city through collaborative work on a one-stop recycling repository center near the embassy. The Tri-Mission also constructed a permeable parking lot to reduce runoff and installed charging stations for their new electric vehicles. Other efforts include upgrading chillers and elevators to reduce energy use and purchasing renewable energy credits to offset their carbon footprint.
U.S. Embassy New Delhi is the 2021 People’s Choice Award Winner. The award is chosen by employee vote. New Delhi focused their greening efforts on waste management and energy efficiency. They overhauled their recycling program and installed a composting machine to help reduce their carbon emissions from waste by an estimated 50 percent. They are also generating revenue from selling recyclable materials, which they will use to create an urban rainforest to provide a home for pollinators and wildlife. In addition, they achieved drastic reductions in their energy consumption by installing smart timers, sensors, and solar water heaters throughout the compound and residences.
Reid Deaver, the facility manager at U.S. Embassy Skopje, is the winner of the GDI Award for Excellence in Individual Sustainability Leadership for U.S. Domestic Hires. Deaver arrived at post in 2019 and quickly worked to re-invigorate the Skopje Green Team. He formed alliances with other embassies and environmental organizations to create joint initiatives and projects. His leadership in the region helped contribute to a pilot of the Department’s new automated tracking system for utility bills. Wanting to support reducing air pollution in Skopje, he brought on a Virtual Air Quality Fellow and oversaw the transition of the embassy from diesel to natural gas. Deaver also won a grant to update landscaping and utilize rainwater, which will conserve over 250,000 gallons of city water a year.
Ahmad AlTibi, a mechanical engineer at U.S. Embassy Amman, is the winner of the GDI Award for Excellence in Individual Sustainability Leadership for Locally Employed Staff. AlTibi went above and beyond to identify ways to green the embassy – from evaluating solar water heaters to installing water bottle refilling stations. He also played an integral role in ensuring the embassy’s new annex received LEED Gold certification and helped to significantly improve the embassy’s energy and water efficiency through reviewing the operations of key systems.
The Greening Diplomacy Initiative is managed by the Office of Management Strategy and Solutions (M/SS). Learn more about GDI and M/SS at www.state.gov/eco-diplomacy.