We live in a time of unprecedented global challenges, when vision and action to protect our planet are needed as never before. This is why I am so pleased to introduce this publication on sustainable procurement.

Two years ago on World Environment Day, I called on United Nations agencies to join me in moving the UN toward climate neutrality and toward more sustainable management operations. Today, I am pleased to see we have taken some important steps in this direction. I welcome the efforts undertaken by several UN agencies, funds and programmes to find new ways of making sustainability part of our everyday work.

Sustainable procurement and operations is one such example. Together, we are continuing to use this market-based tool to reduce harmful impacts.

However, much more needs to be done – and soon. The world’s leading scientists warn that the climate is changing faster than predicted due to the continued increase in global greenhouse gas emissions. Building a more sustainable, low-carbon economy is a matter of scientific urgency. But it is also an opportunity to invest in the clean energy sources of the future, expand energy  access, protect development gains, and build more climate-resilient societies.

Action is needed at all levels – from Heads of State and Government to national and municipal authorities, the business community and local citizens’ organisations. As this report makes clear, promising initiatives are emerging everywhere, including many in the developing world.

In this “year of climate change,” I am urging the United Nations family to take further steps towards overall sustainability by greening our procurement and aligning it to the highest ethical standards of the organization.

We must lead by example and become a greener, more environmentally responsible organization. We have no time to lose, and much to gain for this and future generations.