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Commission greener than ever
Commission Européenne - IP/09/1349 23/09/2009
Brussels, 23 September 2009
Commission greener than ever
The European Commission has long been at the political forefront of fighting global climate change. As an organisation with a large workforce, it also leads by example and makes a real difference. Building on the success of its pilot project launched in 2001, the European Commission has now decided to extend its environmental management system to all its activities and buildings in Brussels and Luxembourg. With this certification scheme — based on the EMAS regulation (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) — the Commission implements a system that defines and evaluates environmental aspects of its activities, leading to continuous improvements in areas such as increased energy efficiency, optimal use of natural resources and reduction of CO 2 emissions.
"Our staff have a long-standing genuine commitment to decrease the environmental impact of the Commission's own activities. The Commission committed as early as 1997 to 'green housekeeping' which led it to evaluate, report on and reduce the environmental impact of its activities through the pilot implementation of the EMAS regulation. By extending EMAS further in the Commission, we build on our accumulated experience to face the challenge of continuously reducing our environmental footprint in the years to come," said Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President for administrative affairs, audit and anti-fraud.
Extending the environmental management system to the whole Commission in Brussels and Luxembourg
Based on the positive outcomes of the pilot phase, the environmental management system based on the EMAS regulation has proven to be the most appropriate instrument to manage and improve environmental performance at the European Commission. The system also demonstrated synergies between different departments and involved employees in working towards common objectives. The decision taken by the Commission today extends this management system to all its activities and buildings in Brussels and Luxembourg. Official EMAS registration by the competent national authorities should be achieved in 2012 for all Commission activities, and in 2014 for all buildings.
Main achievements of EMAS pilot phase in Brussels ( 2002- 2008)
(1) Reduction of energy consumption, water consumption and CO 2 emissions from buildings 1 :
Electricity and water consumption have fallen by 14% and 23% per m² respectively. CO 2 emissions were reduced by over 7% per m² in these buildings.
(2) Reduction of paper consumption
Offset paper consumption was reduced by 48 %, and office paper by 41 % since 2003.
(3) Reduction of waste generation
The amount of waste generated decreased by 11 % from 331 kg/person/year to 294 kg/person/year. About 54 % of this volume is recycled.
(4) Promotion of sustainable means of transport
The latest survey data (mid-2008) indicates the positive impacts of the Commission efforts to promote sustainable means of transport. The proportion of staff in Brussels commuting by private car has fallen to 29% (from 50% in 1998), while the proportion using public transport — bus, tram, metro or train — has risen to 50% (from 32% in 1998).
The Commission is working closely with the Brussels Region on a new urban planning project focused on the area around its main building cluster in Brussels. One of the goals is to make the neighbourhood a more sustainable place in which to work and live, with specific attention to sustainable transport.
All EC environmental statements are available on the EMAS website:
For comparison reasons, only the 19 office buildings currently included in the EMAS scope in Brussels are considered