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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 8 April 2014

Environment: European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme – 2014 award winners announced

The European Commission announced the winners of this year's European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme Awards in Hannover, Germany, last night. The six winning organisations were selected by an independent jury of environmental technology and eco-innovation experts. The winners all apply innovative solutions as a way of improving their environmental performance, demonstrating how important innovation is in the transition towards a circular and resource-efficient economy.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "It is a real pleasure to see the levels of creativity, excellence and engagement shown by the entries for the EMAS Awards 2014. Eco-innovation not only brings environmental benefits, but also makes sound business sense. So I am proud to congratulate all the EMAS Award winners for their outstanding achievements. Keep up the great work!"

This year's winners, selected from 29 entries, are VAS. & EK. KOTTARIDI G.P. (Greece), HR Björkmans Entrémattor AB (Sweden), Sächsische Bildungsgesellschaft Dresden mbH and Umweltbundesamt (Germany), Voestalpine VAE + Weichensysteme + HYTRONICS GmbH (Austria), Aeropuerto de Menorca Aena-Aeropuertos S.A. (Spain).

Private sector winners and their achievements

Micro-organisations: VAS. & EK. KOTTARIDI G.P. (Greece) produce barbecue briquettes made from Greek olive pits. This EU-patented product is a renewable source of energy and free of chemical additives. The briquettes are the first green product of their kind, produced in an innovative and environmentally-friendly manner from waste material.

Small organisations: HR Björkmans Entrémattor AB (Sweden), a pioneer in the floor-mat rental and laundry market, has developed an innovative mat washing system. The closed system, with its low washing temperatures, special detergents and a water reuse rate of up to 98%, brings sizeable energy and water savings, and significant reductions in both the volume of water used, as well as waste-water generated.

Medium-sized organisations: Sächsische Bildungsgesellschaft Dresden mbH (Germany) uses EMAS to familiarise future skilled workers in the chemical and waste disposal industries with corporate sustainability. SBG’s vocational teaching approach encourages students to transfer and reproduce EMAS skills and values, giving them tools to develop their own ideas for improving environmental performance. Students can then incorporate EMAS principles into their future jobs, spreading knowledge about environmental management to different companies.

Large organisations: voestalpine VAE + Weichensysteme + HYTRONICS GmbH (Austria) apply a holistic life cycle approach to engineering and producing railway turnouts (points). VAE has optimised its use of materials and logistics, as well as the recycling of turnouts. Other best-practice initiatives include the adoption of a CO2-neutral energy policy and an insistence that the companies' affiliates adhere to global Human Systems Engineering standards.

Public sector winners and their achievements

Small organisations: Aeropuerto de Menorca (Spain), managed by Aena Aeropuertos SA, has significantly reduced its water consumption by reusing waste water treated in a membrane bioreactor plant. The airport has also significantly reduced electricity use through an automatic climate and lighting control system.

Large organisations: Umweltbundesamt (Germany), the German federal scientific agency for the environment, built the first zero-energy public building in Germany, ‘Haus 2019’, in 2013. The Haus' shell is airtight and it gets its electricity from renewable sources, including photovoltaïcs and a heat pump that obtains energy from pumped groundwater. Haus 2019 fulfils the EU legal requirements on energy efficiency for public buildings six years in advance, and should encourage others to follow.

Background

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 introduced the EMAS awards to recognise examples of excellence in environmental management among the wide range of registered organisations.

The theme of the 2014 Awards is “Effective eco-innovations supporting improvements in environmental performance”. This year, 29 organisations from 14 European countries received nominations. The winners in each of the six categories were selected by a jury of independent experts chaired by Elisa Tonda, Head of the Business and Industry Unit in the UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics. The awards ceremony took place in the “Neues Rathaus” (New Town Hall) in Hannover, Germany, in the context of the Industrial GreenTec Fair.

For more information:

EMAS Awards website:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/emasawards/index.htm

EMAS Regulation:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:342:0001:0045:en:PDF

Contacts :

For the press:

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Andreja Skerl (+32 2 295 14 45)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail


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