Brussels, 30 November 2012
Environment: Commission recognises innovative water management solutions
The European Commission has announced the winners of this year's European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme Awards. The six winning organisations showed excellence in respecting and safeguarding the environment, and in applying innovative solutions to improve their water management. The awards were handed out at a ceremony in Brussels last night.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Water is a precious resource, and it needs better care. So I am very happy to congratulate all the EMAS Award winners for managing water issues in their organisations with such impressive results. With these awards the European Commission recognises their outstanding environmental performance in this field. Keep up the good work!"
This year's winners, selected from among 27 entries, are: Abwasserverband Anzbach Laabental (Austria), Riechey Freizeitanlagen GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), Neumarkter Lammsbräu Gebr. Ehrnsperger e. K. (Germany), Lafarge Cement (United Kingdom), Comune di Tavarnelle Val di Pesa (Italy), Bristol City Council (United Kingdom).
Private sector winners and their achievements
Micro-organisations: Abwasserverband Anzbach Laabental (Austria) is an association of innovative sewage works founded in 1972. Member communities clean their sewage in an ecologically sound manner and promote eco-friendly waste disposal to the public. They register all non-domestic polluters to avoid dangerous water pollution, and association members only cooperate with certified suppliers that are evaluated annually.
Small organisations: Riechey Freizeitanlagen GmbH & Co. KG (Germany) runs the Wulfenerhals camping and holiday park on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn. They have established an integrated water cycle system and a biological water treatment plant that enables re-use of recycled waste water for watering their lawns. They have also installed water-saving mechanisms in their showers and use only biological cleaning and washing liquids.
Medium-sized organisations: Neumarkter Lammsbräu Gebr. Ehrnsperger e. K. (Germany) is a brewery produces organic beers and non-alcoholic drinks. The company saves water by using rainwater and recycled water. Neumarkter Lammsbräu educate their employees about saving water and ensure the responsible use of water from the company-owned wells. Since they use only ecological raw materials, no pesticides go into their wastewater.
Large organisations: Lafarge Cement (UK), the UK's largest cement maker commissioned independent water footprinting work for the whole life-cycle water impacts of their products. This led to better water efficiency in the cement-making process: 1.22m3 water per tonne PCE (Portland Cement Equivalent) in 2010, as opposed to 0.142m3 water per ton PCE in 2011. When developing new cements, they now take into account the water required by the end user.
Public sector winners and their achievements
Small organisations: Comune di Tavarnelle Val di Pesa (Tuscany, Italy) requires water saving technologies to be installed in all newly constructed buildings. It has also introduced agricultural improvement plans to reduce erosion and runoff. The Council now considers water management aspects when deciding on capital investments, procurement and other activities, and organises environmental training for the hospitality industry.
Large organisations: Bristol City Council (UK) promotes water efficiency schemes including rainwater harvesting, sustainable urban drainage and reduced water consumption in the city’s horticultural programme, reducing Bristol’s water consumption by 11 % since 2009/10. The strategy for future city development includes key policies for water conservation. The surface water quality of rivers across the city is also being improved through local initiatives.
The European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for organisations aiming to improve their environmental and financial performance and communicate their environmental achievements. EMAS leads to enhanced performance, credibility and transparency of registered organisations.
In 2005 the European Commission decided to reward the excellent work of EMAS registered organisations by introducing the EMAS Awards. The EMAS Awards recognise outstanding achievements in one particular environmental management aspect each year.
The theme of the 2012 Awards is “Water Management, including Water Efficiency and Water Quality”. This year, 27 bodies from 14 European countries were nominated. Six winners were selected by a jury of experts chaired by Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency. The award ceremony took place in the “Ateliers des Tanneurs” in Brussels, Belgium.
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