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Foreign Ministry to get embassies, consulates competing for Green Standard

Overseas missions to be ranked annually on green performance in everything from recycling and energy efficiency to raising awareness in the local community

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Smallholder horticulture project – a joint cooperation program between the Foreign Ministy's MASHAV program, USAID and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture. (MASHAV)
Smallholder horticulture project – a joint cooperation program between the Foreign Ministy's MASHAV program, USAID and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture. (MASHAV)

GLASGOW, Scotland — The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday launched an innovative Green Standard that its Jerusalem headquarters and all 108 of its missions abroad will have to meet.

Unveiled during the UN climate conference here, the standard will oblige each embassy and consulate to earn at least 60 out of a maximum of 100 points.

To encourage competition, the missions will be ranked annually on the basis of their green credentials.

A prize will be awarded to the winners, although the precise nature of that prize has not yet been decided.

The initiative — the brainchild of Yaron Reuveni, from the Foreign Ministry’s operations department, and Ambassador Gideon Behar, Israel’s special climate envoy — is expected to profoundly change not only the way in which the missions run themselves internally but also how they act to raise awareness about the environment and the climate crisis in the communities in which they are stationed.

“The climate crisis is the most important problem and challenge facing the world,” said Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, adding, “I’m very proud of the Foreign Ministry’s mobilization for ‘green diplomacy.’ It’s the right move, both morally and politically.”

The points are spread through eight categories, ranging from the purchase of green supplies and the treatment of waste through reduction, reuse, and recycling to energy and water efficiency, transportation, work in the local community, and the ambassador’s residence.

Each category is broken down into sub-clauses listing obligatory and optional steps.

The category on transportation, for example, makes the encouragement of public transportation obligatory but also offers optional points for reducing the use of cars with combustion engines, organizing group transport to work for staff and inspiring them to cycle to the office, or at least to share the ride.

Of the 60 minimum points, 31 are compulsory.

All missions will have to appoint a staff member to take charge of implementing the green standard, with the steps to earn the points being integrated into annual work plans.

Officials hope that the standard will be adopted by other Israeli ministries and other organizations abroad, ranging from government ministries to businesses.

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