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Brussels, 26 November 2010

Commission announces winners of environmental management awards

Six organisations have won the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) Awards for excellence in environmental management. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Brussels last night. The Commission's annual environmental awards have been handed to private companies and public organisations for outstanding environmental achievements since 2000. The 2010 awards focused on resource-efficiency, taking into account water and energy consumption, waste generation and carbon emissions. This year, a record 42 organisations from 15 European countries were nominated. The six winners were selected by a jury of six experts in the field of environmental management and resource efficiency.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "I congratulate the winners – and all the nominees – on their commitment to improving the environment. They have shown that joining the EMAS scheme makes good business sense; limiting their environmental impact not only reduces emissions and waste but also saves energy – and money."

The results are as follows:

Micro-organisations: Soc. Coop. Dog Park a r.l (Italy)

The Naples-based charity provides shelter, day-to-day care and medical assistance for stray and lost dogs. The jury praised the organisation for its actions on resource-efficiency. These include reducing water consumption in daily activities such as grooming and cleaning kennels by 30% and reusing shredded office paper as an absorbent bed in the kennels. The Dog Park also uses photovoltaic technology to convert sunlight into electricity.

Small organisations: Ecoprint AS (Estonia)

The aims of the Tartu County-based printing company include developing "Green Print" – the first environmentally friendly printing service on the Estonian market. Notable achievements include the use of rainwater in the printing-house damping system – which is estimated to reduce water consumption by as much as 60%, a 44% reduction in office paper use in 2009, and energy savings through the use of wind turbines and solar panels.

Medium-sized organisations: Oxfam-Solidarité (Belgium)

Oxfam-Solidarité supports over 25 countries through the proceeds of its food and craft shops. The organisation extends the life of old computers through a re-use and recycling service. More than 40% of the computers they collect are repaired and sold in second hand shops. Those that cannot be repaired are dismantled, with some parts reused and the rest sent for recycling. Oxfam-Solidarité has seen a 20% reduction in paper use over two years and a 10% cut in CO2 emissions from transport due to better planning and routing of missions. 

Large organisations: Mahou S. A. (Spain)

Spanish brewing company Mahou's motto is: "Grow larger without growing in environmental impact". The Mahou-San Miguel Group, which produces 80% of Spanish beer exported to other countries, has reduced landfill disposal of waste by over 90% through better awareness of waste segregation. CO2 emissions have been reduced by more than 45% over the last decade through an energy management system which has reduced heat needs, and the use of biogas as an alternative source of fuel.

Public organisations:

Small organisations: Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (Germany)

The University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde is dedicated to the
sustainable development of rural areas.
The university was praised for its use of green IT – choosing computers and servers on the basis of their energy consumption and their ability to be dismantled and recycled. Notable actions include green procurement of office materials and equipment, a wood pellet heating system, as well as the use of green electricity and solar panels. Students are also educated on sustainability issues.

Large organisations: Sandwell Homes (UK)

Social housing organisation Sandwell Homes, based in West Bromwich in the West Midlands, provides housing management and repairs and maintenance services to almost 30,000 council-owned properties. The organisation is reducing energy consumption and the use of raw materials in the homes it manages and uses solar panels and photovoltaic cells to generate some of its own energy. Tenant engagement is encouraged through an eco-champion project and examples of good practice are shared through a green website.


EMAS is a management tool for companies and organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. Companies can cut costs by reducing consumption of resources, such as energy and water and by minimising the use and waste of materials. EMAS came into force in 1995. Today, more than 5,200 organisations, covering over 7,500 sites, are registered with EMAS. The scheme has recently been revised to reduce costs and bureaucracy, for example by the use of tools like EMASeasy, and to enable organisations located outside the EU to participate.

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