EMAS in the European Institutions

The European Commission was the first EU Institution to become registered with EMAS. Other EU institutions are also responding to the challenge of taking responsibility for their environmental impacts. The European Commission EMAS team members are proud and honored to have served sometimes as 'mentors' to their colleagues in setting up the scheme in other institutions – “Walking the talk", as we say!

EMAS in the European Commission

The European Commission (EC) sets an example by reducing the environmental impact of its own activities through EMAS. Key priorities are the efficient use of natural resources (mainly energy, water and paper), the reduction of overall CO2 emissions, waste prevention, recycling and re-use, green public procurement, and sustainable mobility.

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In September 2001 the EC decided to pilot the implementation of EMAS in four services in Brussels. The Commission was the first EU Institution to achieve an EMAS-registration already in 2005. Since January 2010, this system has progressively extended to all the services' activities and buildings in Brussels, Luxembourg, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) sites and DG SANTE’s site at Grange, significantly increasing the number of concerned employees from 4,000 to approximately 32,000.

Currently, the Commission's environmental management system covers its eight largest sites which are located in seven European countries, meaning all occupied buildings in Brussels (62), 17 buildings in Luxembourg, and the five Joint Research Centre (JRC) sites in Petten, Geel, Seville, Karlsruhe, Ispra and DG SANTE’s site at Grange. In total, this reaches up to 1,540,596 m2 – or 92% of the EC sites.

For the coming years, the Commission aims to further extend the scope of its EMAS registration to include executive agencies under Commission facilities management control and by doing so to ensure the continuous reduction of its environmental impact.

Since the first EMAS registration in 2005, the Commission has achieved significant results
(These results refer to the Brussels site during the period 2005-2015):

  • Energy for buildings = - 61% (MWh/person)
  • CO2 emissions for buildings* = - 85%* (tonnes/person)
  • Office paper = - 56% (sheets/person/day)
  • Water use = - 56% (m3/person)
  • Non hazardous waste = - 28% (tonnes/person)

* CO2 emissions reduction exceeds that of energy consumption as electricity has been purchased from 95% renewable sources since 2009.

These impressive improvements result from a combination of technical measures, green public procurement and the personal commitment of the European Commission’s staff.

The Commission has generated cumulative energy savings of 86 million € (around 355 € per person per year, 2005-2015) in Brussels alone, at a direct cost of under 68 € per person for coordinating EMAS in 2015.

For further information, see the EMAS Environmental Statement 2016 (period 2015) in English, as well as the original signed version by the EMAS Verifier in English.

For reference, see the EMAS Environmental Statement 2015 (period 2014) in English, in French, in German, in Dutch, in Italian and in Spanish.

Lastly, find out more about "EMAS as a resource efficiency tool: EU Institutions' success stories" as presented during the EMAS side session during EU Green Week 2014.

Contact information:

Mr Celso Sanchez Martinez - EMAS Management Representative
Mr Michael Rourke – EMAS Officer
Mrs Sofia Gregou – EMAS Communication, Training and Documentation

European Commission - DG HR: Human Resources and Security
Unit D.2: Working Environment & Security
Rue Montoyer 34, MO34 01/78, B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
Email: EC-EMAS@ec.europa.eu

NOTE: Please only use this contact information if you would like to get in touch directly with the team dealing with the Environmental Management System of the European Commission premises. For example, this may apply if you are a Commission employee or contractor, or you are a neighbour who wants to make the environmental team aware of environmental issues.

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European Environment Agency

The  European Environment Agency was the first EU body to introduce an environmental management system in 2004 and received its EMAS registration in spring 2005. Since then, EEA has helped other organisations introduce environmental measures and was itself nominated for an EMAS Award in 2009. More information can be found at http://www.eea.europa.eu/about-us/emas

European Parliament

The European Parliament  (EP) received EMAS registration for its Luxembourg site in November 2008. The EP is now the proud holder of ISO 14001:2004 and EMAS certificates for all three of its main locations. In 2007, the Parliament decided to cut its carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 and with that goal in mind, commissioned a study on its actual footprint. That study has now been finished and the action plan based on the study is being evaluated. For more information, please visit the website of the European Parliament. More information can be found at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/20150201PVL00096/Environmental-management

European Central Bank

Since their registration with EMAS in 2010, the ECB has constantly improved its environmental management system under their Green ECB initiative and is always looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and make their environmental performance even stronger.

Check out the Green ECB initiative video.

European Union Intellectual Property Office

The  Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the European agency in Alicante responsible for managing the registration systems for Community trademarks and designs, has been EMAS registered since September 2008. More information can be found at: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/

The first "Interinstitutional EMAS Week": Lessons-learned and the way forward…

From 23 to 27 May 2016, just before the Green Week 2016, the Commission, the Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Council, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, joined forces by organising the first Inter-institutional EMAS Week in Brussels. "Institutions invest for a greener future" was dedicated to sustainable infrastructures, alternative mobility, green purchasing and staff involvement. A unique opportunity to share environmental best practices and know-how. The programme included thematic debates, info-fair stands, film screenings, staff forums, photography and drawing competitions and much more. The interinstitutional EMAS week culminated with the EU Open Days event on Saturday 28 May 2016. For an insider's view about the events of the week, have a look at the special of the EMAS Reflex and the relevant video (below). Moreover, see video by European Parliament's Vice President Ulrike Lunacek concerning the event. All EMAS teams agreed that it was an experiment worth repeating, so there will be another interinstitutional EMAS week next year!