An important part of a GHG management program is the design of an efficient data collection system to construct and consistently replicate inventories from year to year. Such a design is particularly important when considering staff changes that can make consistency difficult to achieve. In addition, small organizations often have only limited time and resources available to do this. The United Nations Foundation (UNF) overcame these obstacles by streamlining its data collection and management system to support its inventory development process. This new system allows the organization to complete its inventory in less time and with fewer resources while at the same time simplifying the process enough to allow any staff member to complete the task.
UNF is a public foundation that builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems. The organization’s staff numbers nearly 100 and is located in two offices, the headquarters in Washington, D.C., and a smaller office in New York City. UNF did not have enough resources to implement an organization-wide electronic GHG data management system, so it instead created internal tracking methods that permit easy and streamlined data gathering.
An example of one of these methods is the tracking of staff air travel miles. UNF’s original tracking method for business air travel required a staff member to review their credit card records and estimate the number of miles traveled, a tedious and time-consuming process. With the new system in place, UNF’s travel agency provides electronic records of the total number of miles flown by UNF staff.
All of the UNF’s methods are documented in a simple and concise manual that provides the necessary organization specific instructions required to compile activity data and create a transparent and replicable GHG inventory. The manual codifies the UNF’s data management system and lists the person to contact in order to gather the different types of data.
UNF’s new data management system provides clear directions and will make it easier for staff to compile data for its inventory. The system ensures that even though different staff members may conduct the inventory each year, the results will be consistent and reliable, and will use minimal institutional resources.