By Peter Brukx
Acting Under Secretary for Management Carol Z. Perez announced the winners of the Department of State’s 2021 Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Awards on Earth Day, April 22. These awards help to identify worldwide best practices that support U.S.-government-wide sustainability and climate goals.
The GDI Award for Excellence in Team Sustainability Performance went to Tri-Mission Rome. Tri-Mission Rome’s Green Team became one of the first large-scale organizations in the city to implement a recycling program, now recycling 80 percent of the Tri-Mission’s trash. The Tri-Mission also constructed a permeable parking lot to reduce runoff and installed charging stations for their new electric vehicles.
The People’s Choice Award for Team Sustainability Performance went to Embassy New Delhi. Embassy New Delhi focused its greening efforts on waste management and energy efficiency. They overhauled the embassy’s recycling program and installed a composting machine, helping to reduce their carbon emissions from waste by an estimated 50 percent.
The inaugural GDI Award for Excellence in Individual Sustainability Leadership went to Ahmad Al Tibi for the locally employed staff category and Reid Deaver for the U.S. direct-hire category. Al Tibi, a locally employed staff member at Embassy Amman, 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 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification. He helped to significantly improve the embassy’s energy and water efficiency through reviewing the operations of key systems.
Deaver, the facility manager at Embassy Skopje, arrived at post in 2019 and worked to reinvigorate the Skopje Green Team. Deaver also won a grant to update the landscaping and utilize rainwater, which will conserve more than 250,000 gallons of city water a year. His work captured the attention of the North Macedonian government, culminating in a visit at post from the Minister of the Environment, March 2021.
Peter Brukx is an eco-pathways intern in the Office of Management Strategy and Solutions.