By Caroline D’Angelo and James Vaughn
The 2019 Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Award went to Embassy Canberra for their sustainability leadership. Post’s Canberra Greening Initiative (CGI) did everything from composting with worm bins and creating a trash-to-art competition to collecting rainwater and installing solar panels. CGI reduced post’s environmental footprint, avoided utility costs and increased resilience along the way.
In accepting the award, W. Patrick Murphy, senior bureau official in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said, “I congratulate the entire Embassy Canberra team on their highly successful conservation efforts. Their leadership and hard work with the Canberra Greening Initiative has proven to be an inspiration—not just to the greater Canberra community, but to the Bureau and Department as well. The recognition by the local government of the embassy’s commitment to sustainable practices also demonstrates the strength of the enduring U.S.-Australia alliance and friendship.”
Embassy Panama won the People’s Choice GDI Award, selected by a vote of Department of State employees. Every month in 2018, Embassy Panama recycled approximately one ton of waste, and its Green Team worked to reduce their waste stream even more by switching to biodegradable containers in the cafeteria. Off the compound, the embassy planned Panama’s first ever Bike to Work Day, which was attended by 250 cyclists.
Embassy Ouagadougou received the Runner-Up Award. The embassy’s new solar array provides about 20 percent of their daily electricity needs, saving $15,000 in energy costs every month. As most electricity in Burkina Faso is generated from imported diesel fuel, this is an excellent example of U.S. environmental solutions for improving air quality, increasing operational resilience and reducing energy costs.
Sponsored by the Greening Diplomacy team in the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation, the annual GDI Awards recognize innovative leadership within the Department in sustainability, energy and environmental diplomacy.
Caroline D’Angelo is acting director and James Vaughn is an eco-management analyst for the Greening Diplomacy Initiative in the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation.