EMAS in the European Institutions

The European Commission was the first EU Institution to become registered with EMAS and currently, 12 EU Institutions and bodies are EMAS-registered. The European Commission EMAS team members are proud and honoured to have served sometimes as 'mentors' to their colleagues in setting up the scheme in other institutions – "Walking the talk", as we say!

Discover the Emas registered European Institutions
The European CommissionThe 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. 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 35,000.

The Commission’s Political Guidelines for the period 2019-2024 recognise the importance of Europe continuing its leading role on the global stage in reducing environmental impacts. They include, at their core, the commitment to develop a European Green Deal under which achieving tougher climate related targets will play a particularly important role. Becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is the greatest challenge and opportunity of our times. It involves taking decisive action now!

As the Commission is keen to reduce its environmental impact as an institution and employer, it will present an action plan in 2021 to reflect the objectives of the Green Deal and become climate neutral itself by 2030. A feasibility and scoping study for the Commission to become climate neutral by 2030 has been carried out and will be one of several sources informing the action plan. This ambitious goal is envisaged in the new Commission’s Environmental Policy, see flash-animation and e-poster in English and English/French.

Currently, the Commission's environmental management system covers its eight largest sites which are located in seven European countries, meaning 58 occupied buildings in Brussels, 14 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 1,610,185 m2 – or 96% 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, as well as EC Representations across Europe, 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 2005-2019):

  • Energy for buildings = - 65% (MWh/person)
  • CO2 emissions for buildings* = - 86%* (tonnes/person)
  • Office paper = - 71% (sheets/person/day)
  • Water use = - 58% (m3/person)
  • Non hazardous waste = - 38% (tonnes/person)

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

Concerning its 2014-2020 environmental performance improvement targets, the Commission has already in 2017 reached and far exceed its targets for water (-8%), office paper (-31%) and non-hazardous waste (-7,3%).

These impressive achievements led the EMAS Steering Committee on 30 January 2019, following mid-term review, to adopt more ambitious environmental performance targets for 2014-20. These included reducing water use by 5% (instead of 4%); office paper consumption by 34% (instead of 0.4%); CO2 emissions of Commission fleet vehicles, according to manufacturer specifications, by 14% (instead of 6%) and non-hazardous waste generation by 10% (instead of 2%). See EMAS Results’ brochure.

The Commission's EMAS Steering Committee adopted in January 2020 a Global Action Plan containing 232 ongoing or new actions addressing resource use (energy, water, paper), carbon dioxide emissions, waste and biodiversity amongst others. Notwithstanding this impressive performance, the Commission is keen to reduce its environmental impact and to lead by example.

All the above noteworthy environmental 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 134 million € (during 2005-2019) in Brussels alone, at a direct cost of under 70 € per person for coordinating EMAS in 2019.

For further information, see the Environmental Statement 2020 (period 2019) – Corporate Summary and the Environmental Statement 2020 (period 2019) – Consolidated Volume: Corporate Summary and 8 Annexes.

See also separately: Annex A for Brussels, Annex B for Luxembourg, Annex C for Petten, Annex D for Geel, Annex E for Seville, Annex F for Karlsruhe, Annex G for Ispra and Annex H for DG SANTE-Grange.

Lastly, for your reference, see also:


Contact information:

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

European Commission - DG HR: Human Resources and Security
Unit D.2: Working Environment & Safety
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.

The European Environment AgencyThe 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 https://www.eea.europa.eu/about-us/emas/index_html.

The European ParliamentThe European Parliament

The European Parliament is EMAS registered for its three places of work (Strasbourg (FR) - Luxembourg and Brussels (BE)) since December 2007. In 2016, President Martin Schulz and Secretary-General Klaus Welle signed a new environmental policy reaffirming the EP's administration commitment to "maintaining its EMAS registration and its environmental approach to continuous improvement with a view towards achieving environmental sustainability in all its administrative activities".

The EMAS project in the EP was launched by the Bureau in 2004, with the aim to continually improving its environmental performance.

By relying on the commitment of every single employee and the support of all its services, EMAS provides the framework for the European Parliament to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and save resources for future generations. As part of the European Green Deal, the Parliament is also studying its forward-looking policies on how to reduce its carbon footprint towards carbon neutrality.

More information can be found at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/20150201PVL00096/Environmental-management.

The European Union Intellectual Property OfficeThe European Union Intellectual Property Office

EUIPO is the European Union Intellectual Property Office responsible for managing the EU trade mark and the registered Community design and has been EMAS registered since September 2008.
The EUIPOs Integrated Management Policy states the following: "Our commitment to making management standards better includes both learning from international best practices and establishing an integrated policy to ensure all our processes are efficient. This means combining operational efficiency with advanced human resource capabilities, information systems as well as the physical infrastructure."

More information can be found at: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/quality.

The European Central BankThe European Central Bank

Since it registered with EMAS in 2010, the European Central Bank (ECB) has constantly been improving its environmental management system through its Green ECB initiative. The ECB is always looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint and make its environmental performance even stronger. Take a look this video to learn more about what the ECB is doing.

You can also find more information on the ECB’s website.

The European Economic & Social Committee / the European Committee of the RegionsThe European Economic & Social Committee / the European Committee of the Regions

The European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions are two consultative bodies of the European Union. They are unique in that they share joint services and infrastructure. They have also jointly undertaken to implement an environmental management system, formalised by EMAS registration and ISO 14001 certification in 2011. This approach has made it possible not only to obtain these certifications but also to make all stakeholders aware of the environmental aspects associated with everyday activities. Implementing EMAS also provides an opportunity to take account of the principles of sustainable building management, to optimise heating, lighting and paper consumption, to develop a more sustainable canteen, to select environmentally friendly cleaning products and paint, to reduce and sort waste, to reduce food waste at events, etc.
All measures and results are set out in the environmental statement:

The General Secretariat of the CouncilEuropean Council and Council of the European Union

Many of the General Secretariat of the Council's (GSC) activities have some impact on the environment. The GSC has been working since 2010 to reduce this impact and protect the environment, through high quality environmental management which applies to all GSC activities in the buildings it occupies in Brussels. The GSC obtained ISO 14001 certification and the EMAS registration in 2016.

The main goals of the GSC's environmental programme include:

  • cutting primary energy consumption through renewable energy production and efficient energy use
  • ensuring efficient use of water and preventing water pollution
  • waste prevention and reduction, re-use of materials and promoting recycling
  • employees involvement
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • reducing paper consumption and using recycled and eco-friendly paper

The GSC also promotes environmentally-friendly mobility among employees and visitors and incorporates environmental criteria into public procurement procedures.

For more information, please consult GSC's Environmental statement.

The Court of Justice of the European UnionThe Court of Justice of the European Union

The European Union is at the forefront of commitments to ensure protection of the environment worldwide. The Court of Justice of the European Union, as an institution, attaches great importance to this question and it has decided to commit itself to that endeavour with vigour and conviction by using the Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and being EMAS-registered since 2016.

More: https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/P_134088/en/

The European Court of AuditorsThe European Court of Auditors

The Court was officially EMAS-registered on 10 March 2017, and we successfully operate an environmental management system in line with EMAS Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 and ISO 14001. Our registration number is LU-000004.
For additional information, please see the Court's corporate environmental management webpage, where you can find our environmental statement, in which we present our environmental performance results and any future plans for improvement.
The European Food Safety AuthorityThe European Food Safety Authority

Since 2015, EFSA has been working on the implementation of an environmental management system, obtaining in November 2016 the ISO 14001:2004 certification and, in February 2017, the EMAS registration. Being EMAS registered has contributed to the implementation of EFSA's key values such as openness and transparency, meeting the expectation of the local communities; innovation, pushing EFSA to be pro-active encouraging the green economy; and cooperation, establishing a strong dialogue with the other organisations part of the EMAS community.

For more information, check out EFSA's Environmental Statement:

The European Investment Bank GroupThe European Investment Bank Group

The EIB Group is the European Union’s long- term financing institution. It provides finance and technical assistance to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth through two complementary entities, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF). In September 2015, our Board of Directors approved the EIB Climate Change Strategy. Part of this far-reaching initiative was to implement an Environmental Management System for the Group allowing us to manage our internal environmental performance in an effective manner. In December 2018, we obtained ISO14001 certification and then in March 2019 EMAS registration.

With EMAS, the EIB Group can look forward to an environmentally conscious future. It will give us a framework to plan and build our internal environmental programmes; remove single-use plastics, monitor and improve our energy performance, reduce waste, recycle and reuse resources to their best advantage. In a world that is increasingly looking towards the “circular economy”, EMAS gives us a robust and stable platform on which to build.

On its successful EMAS registration, EIB Secretary General Marjut Santoni said: "This achievement is attributable to EIB-wide efforts and intense cooperation across all services. Being EMAS-minded will motivate each one of us to minimise our environmental impact. As the EU financing institution targeting climate action as a priority, we must demonstrate the same strong commitment to the environment that we require from our stakeholders and business partners.”

For more information please check EMAS Environmental Policy and the Environmental Statement 2019.

The European institutions' EMAS stories

Together we make a world of difference Towards paperless institutions Waste reduction and recycling Greening of EU buildings Water reduction
Dicover our stories European Parliament Council of the European Union European Commission European Central Bank European Economic and Social Committee and European Committee of the Regions Commuting and mobility Towards paperless institutions Waste reduction and recycling Water reduction Greening of EU buildings Green purchasing Employee involvement

The European institutions' EMAS news

EU Institutions and bodies participate in first purely digital Earth Hour 2020

60+ Earth HourOn Saturday, 28 March, between 20.30 and 21.30, 34 Europeans Institutions and bodies (6 new ones in relation to 2019), will symbolically switch off the lights on the facades of their main buildings (besides any security and legal compliance restrictions). Earth Hour, a WWF initiative, is now one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, this year celebrating its 13th anniversary (see video).

In view of the ongoing health crisis as a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, the Earth Hour global organising team is recommending all participants to celebrate Earth Hour purely digitally this year. There are still many ways to take part online or at home and show your support for the planet on and around the Hour.

But most of the European institutions already go far "beyond the hour" by implementing the environmental management system EMAS and/or ISO 14001, which continuously reduces their environmental impact throughout the year. Moreover, they exchange environmental best-practices striving for environmental excellence via interinstitutional environmental management groups (GIME and Greening Network), in line with the EU Green Deal towards a climate neutral Europe by 2050.

What is the Commission doing to reduce its own carbon footprint?

In order to reduce its environmental impact and to lead by example, the European Commission has been the first EU Institution to be EMAS-registered already in 2005. The system now covers the eight main sites of the Commission in Europe, located in seven Member States. This represents about 35,000 persons and 1.6 Million square meters. In Brussels, where the Commission has long-term verified data, the results per capita show the following changes between 2005 and 2018: Buildings energy consumption reduced by 65% representing cumulative savings exceeding EUR 110 Million; Carbon dioxide emissions from buildings reduced by 87%; Per km vehicle fleet CO2 emissions (manufacturer specifications) reduced by 53%; Water use reduced by 61%; Paper use reduced by 71%; Non-hazardous waste reduced by 28%. For more information regarding Commission’s environmental performance in relation to the 2014-2020 environmental objectives. The Commission's EMAS Steering Committee adopted in January 2020 a Global Action Plan containing 232 ongoing or new actions addressing resource use (energy, water, paper), carbon dioxide emissions, waste and biodiversity amongst others. Notwithstanding this impressive performance, the Commission is keen to reduce its environmental impact and to lead by example. As such, it will present in 2020 a comprehensive action plan to implement for itself the principles and recommendations presented in the Green Deal with the objective of becoming climate neutral itself by 2030.

More information on the EMAS in EU Institutions webpage on Europa including EU Institutions’ EMAS stories and best-practices.

List of participating EU Institutions and bodies: the European Commission (EC), the European Parliament (EP), the Council's General Secretariat (GSC), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CDJ), the European External Action Service (in Brussels), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Ombudsman's (EO), the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CDT), the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership Joint Undertaking (ECSEL-JU), the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA), the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Fisheries Control Agency to join Institutions and Agencies (EFCA), the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy (F4E), the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), the European Banking Authority (EBA), the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) and the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR-JU).

Interinstitutional EMAS Days 2019: Let’s get more sustainable together!

EMAS daysEU Institutions have been among the first to commit to the fight against climate change and to continuously reduce their environmental impact, by implementing the EMAS environmental management system.

EMAS - the only premium environmental management tool currently available on the market - encourages environmental excellence and helps organisations meet their sustainability objectives.

Following on previous common EMAS events, 6 EMAS-registered EU Institutions have joined forces to organising the Interinstitutional EMAS Days between 18 to 19 March 2019 dedicated to green public procurement, mobilizing the EMAS networks and groups of volunteers, the gradual suppression of single-use items and the staff involvement on EU institutions’ commitments against oceans’ plastic pollution and climate change. Find the poster here.

This will be an opportunity to share environmental best practice and know-how acquired by the EMAS pioneers. The programme will include thematic debates, participatory workshops, thematic panels, film-screenings and much more..

Staff from all 6 participating EU Institutions* are invited to join the debates, share ideas and inspiration and be part of the change!

* The European Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Council, the Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions.

Interinstitutional EMAS Day 2017: Let's get greener together

Let's get greener togetherBuilding on the experience in 2016, the European Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Council, the Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions have joined forces to organising an Interinstitutional EMAS Day on 8th June 2017 (soon after EU Green Week) at EC building, Rue Philippe Le Bon 3, in Brussels dedicated to sustainable infrastructures, biodiversity in the city and staff involvement.

This was an opportunity to share environmental best practice and know-how acquired by the EMAS pioneers.

The programme included thematic debates, info-fair stands, an art exhibition and much more…
read more on: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/emas_for_you/news/news48_en.htm

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!