Press release

Low-emission cars to help make UK diplomats “the greenest in the world”

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is to replace diplomats’ cars with all-electric or hybrid models as part of a wider FCO effort to reduce carbon footprint.

  • Foreign Office to replace diplomats’ cars with all-electric or hybrid models
  • FCO aiming to become the “greenest diplomatic service in the world”
  • change is part of wider FCO effort to reduce carbon footprint

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is replacing diplomats’ official cars with low-carbon vehicles as part of an ambitious programme to cut emissions and become the greenest diplomatic service in the world.

The UK’s Oslo and Holy See Embassies have already replaced their cars, and 30 other UK posts around the world will be among the first to receive either an all-electric or hybrid Jaguar I-Pace by April 2020. Fast charging stations will be installed at posts as part of the programme.

Converting to low-emission vehicles for its entire fleet is part of a wider Foreign Office effort to improve its environmental footprint.

The FCO is committed to achieving the targets set for all government departments to have a 25% electric fleet by 2022 and an all-electric fleet by 2030.

The FCO is also extending the use of solar energy on its buildings to reduce its carbon footprint and eliminating the use of single-use plastics across its global estate – saving 142,000 items from going to landfill every year.

Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, said:

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, and our fleet of flag cars is a high-profile tool for demonstrating the UK’s international leadership on climate change diplomacy.

I want us to be the greenest diplomatic service in the world. Shifting our vehicles away from petrol to all-electric will help us achieve this.

The UK will host COP26 in 2020. The event in Glasgow next year will be the UN’s 26th climate change conference, and bring together over 30,000 delegates from around the world, including climate experts, business leaders and citizens to agree ambitious action to tackle climate change.


The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that transportation is responsible for 24% of all global CO2 emissions.

In 2018 to 2019, the FCO UK/domestic greenhouse gas emissions were 7,753 tCO2e (tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent), representing a 60% reduction compared to 2009 to 2010 and ahead of the 2020 Greener Government Commitment target. Of this, the FCO fleet accounted for 94 tCO2e.

The first 30 Posts set to receive a low-emission flag vehicles are:

  1. Abu Dhabi
  2. Atlanta
  3. Brasilia
  4. Brussels
  5. Bucharest
  6. Calgary
  7. Chicago
  8. Colombo
  9. Dubai
  10. Hanoi
  11. Kiev
  12. Kingston
  13. Lisbon
  14. Madrid
  15. Mexico City
  16. Montreal
  17. Moscow
  18. Paris
  19. Pristina
  20. Riga
  21. Rio De Janeiro
  22. Sao Paulo
  23. Singapore
  24. Stockholm
  25. Sydney
  26. Taiwan
  27. Tallinn
  28. The Hague
  29. Vilnius
  30. Zagreb

Embassies can now only purchase petrol or diesel vehicles as a last resort in locations where electric vehicles are not serviceable or available.

Action taken to eliminate single-use plastics across the FCO global estate has seen a 98% reduction in the UK of single-use plastics, and 15 Posts now operate entirely free of single-use plastics. Upon completion, the campaign is expected to see the FCO’s single-use plastic footprint cut by 99%, saving 142,000 items from entering local landfills per year.

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Published 26 December 2019