Social performance

An organisation’s social performance is the sum of its effects on socially relevant areas, such as the environment and HR policy. How does MSF score in these areas?

MSF calculated the CO2 footprint of its Amsterdam office. We did this in 2012 on the basis of the data from 2011 and we will repeat the analysis in a few years, when enough time has passed for the outcomes to have significantly changed.

CO2 emissions

We measured our CO2 emissions on the basis of the GHG Protocol, which uses 3 categories of ‘scopes’. In scope 1, an organisation has a direct influence on its emissions, while this influence is lower in scope 2 and the lowest in scope 3. It turns out that the majority of our CO2 emissions, measured in tonnes of carbon, fall under scope 3:

Scope 1: Direct emissions through the use of fuel for heating, etc. 74.30
Scope 2: Indirect emissions through electricity consumption 151.60
Scope 3: Indirect emissions caused by transport, commuting, etc. 12,196.90
Total carbon emissions (in tonnes): 12,422.80

The majority of our CO2 emissions are caused by the transport of emergency aid supplies and air traffic; factors that are hard to influence because the speed and availability of medical materials and staff must always have priority.

Energy and water consumption

The consumption of electricity and gas by the Amsterdam office was already relatively low in comparison with similar organisations. However, by installing energy-efficient lighting we have been able to reduce our electricity consumption by 24 per cent over the past 2 years (compared with 2011).
We also produce relatively little waste and CO2 emissions caused by commuting. Our office is located in the heart of Amsterdam, which means it is easier to reach by bicycle and public transport than by car. Our more than 200 staff members share only one company car.

However, we do use more than average amounts of paper and water. Our high paper consumption is related to the production of PR materials which are needed to raise more funds. But we could use less water; in 2013 we installed water-saving toilets.


The medical aid we provide has direct and positive effects on the lives of many, many people. However, our organisation also has indirect effects on the societies in which we work.

Of the 11,451 people in our employment in 2013, 10,222 were inhabitants of the project countries themselves. Not only do all our staff members work under fair conditions of employment, they also enjoy access to a range of insurance and health care benefits.

It goes without saying that MSF pays wage taxes in the countries where we work. Last year, we paid a total of € 4.6 million in wage taxes in the project countries. In the Netherlands, this amount was € 3.6 million.

Supply chain responsibility

MSF is the end user of many products; from medicines to emergency tents and from medical equipment to hospital mattresses. We require all our suppliers to provide products that comply with the standards of organisations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) of the United Nations. These standards involve both working conditions and terms and conditions of employment.

This means that we expect all our suppliers to deliver goods that have not involved child labour or working under the applicable minimum wage levels, for example.

MSF does not have the capacity to actively monitor compliance with the ILO standards. However, there are other organisations to perform this task, such as the ILO itself. We carefully select our suppliers based on all the relevant information that is available. If abuses come to light, then we immediately start searching for alternatives.

Plans for 2014

To reduce our net energy consumption even further, in 2014 we shall investigate the feasibility of placing solar panels on the roof of our Amsterdam office. However, we are not the owner of the building in which our head office is situated. We will be discussing the options with the building’s owner.

Furthermore, our office furnishings are due for renewal. Of course, we will take the well-being of our staff and environmental aspects into account in the choice of new tables, chairs, carpeting, etc.