Four of the 41 departments of the European Commission have made strong progress reducing the environmental impacts of their work and therefore got recognised with an EMAS registration.
EMAS (the EU's Eco-Management and Auditing Scheme) is a voluntary instrument for private companies and public organisation to evaluate and report their environmental performance. It was set up in 1991 and extended to the public sector in 2001. Issues: Environment Commissioner Dimas and Vice-President for internal affairs Kallas commended their services for "practicing what the Commission preaches" in a special press meeting on 3 May.
The two commissioners were joined in the appraisal for their departments by Secretary General Catherine Day (former DG for environment) and Brussels regional environment minister Evelyne Huytebroeck. The four "green" departments are the Secretariat General, DG Environment, DG Personnel & Administration and the Office for Infrastructure & Logistics (OIB) in Brussels.
Some of the departements' green efforts include: reducing energy and water consumption: between 2003 and 2004 the commission achieved a 4% drop in CO2 emissions; reducing paper use: in 2003 and 2004 the Commission used 12% less paper per staff member; promoting the use of public and green transport: commission staff using public transport increased from 32 to 38% between 1998 and 2004 and service bicycles were put at the disposal of EU officials.
The volume of waste, on the other hand, increased slightly (by 1.3%) but that was "in line with an increase in staff" and recycling and waste disposal were "optimised".
Commissioner Kallas promised to be transparent on the Commission's overall use of energy, water, paper etc. by publishing more detailed figures on a annual basis. Latest & next steps: The Commission intends to introduce the EMAS requirements for all of its departments, starting with DG Informatics.
Posted on 18th May 2006
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