Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.

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VEHA - Field Implementation Guidance

Procurement (Mobilisation)
Best value for money (BVM) interventions
Needs assessment

Needs assessment


Environmental factors causing/contributing to the needs and affecting the humanitarian activity

If distributed items are not familiar to and wanted by affected populations, then there is a risk that they will not be used, and will create solid waste or exacerbate existing humanitarian needs. If distributed items are single-use / disposable, or not sourced sustainably, they will create waste that pollutes and degrades the environment and ultimately affects animal and human health and wellbeing.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Identify, evaluate and prioritise sources of eligible goods, services, and works to ensure quick delivery, best value for money, alignment with intervention needs, and market availability.

Product specifications should consider the different and specific local needs of men, women, and persons of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics.


Environmental impact categories

Air pollution
Soil pollution
Water pollution
Climate change
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural Resource Depletion
Soil erosion

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Waste due to surplus or unwanted products and packaging

Unsustainable environmentally damaging coping mechanisms if people’s humanitarian essential needs are not appropriately met.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Distribution of items that are not familiar to or unwanted by recipients leads to waste.

The practice of procuring excess quantities of items, and their associated packaging, presents a significant waste challenge during distribution.


Summary of environmental activities

Sustainable procurement considers the environmental, social, and economic consequences of product design, materials used, manufacturing methods, packaging, logistics, re-use, recycling, and eventual disposal.

In green procurement methods, organisations can meet their needs for goods, services, and utilities in a way that achieves value for money whilst reducing waste, environmental degradation, and pollution.

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

When deploying humanitarian assistance, organizations should assess affected populations’ needs, and either procure items they are familiar with, in the required quantities, or source and promote more sustainable items, to increase acceptance and reduce waste.

Avoid procuring single-use items and source items locally if they can be sustainably sourced and produced.

Sustainable materials management focuses on developing products with a lower environmental footprint, including manufacturing, sourcing, re-use, and recycling.

Near sourcing involves reassessing sourcing both at the global and domestic levels.

Sustainable distribution ensures that the mobility of freight-related to logistics operations is performed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

Demand responsive systems set demand responsive systems where supply chains are tightly integrated so that the goods being delivered are the outcome of an expressed demand. A better level of order fulfillment tends to reduce returns. This is in line with the setting of pull-logistics systems that are increasingly replacing more conventional push logistics.

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

Assessment of humanitarian support to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh has identified waste from disposal of single-use items, from unused, unwanted, unfamiliar items, and reselling of unwanted items in local markets. All of this causes harm to the environment and reduces the effectiveness of assistance to affected people.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Number of single-use items avoided through promoting user acceptance and changing to reusable items.

Activity Status
Very high
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Mitigation of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time to undertake proper needs assessments.

Time and resources to work with supply chains to sustainably source items as locally as possible.

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