Reducing our ecological footprint
Applying EMAS at the European Parliament
The European Parliament recognizes its responsibility for making a positive contribution to sustainable development as a long-term goal. Parliament fulfils this responsibility in its political and legislative role, but also in the way it operates and the decisions it takes on a day-to-day basis.
The European Parliament therefore decided that its administration would embark on the path of applying the EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) standard, with the aim of continually improving its environmental results in accordance with the EMAS Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 and ISO 14001:2015 standard.
From energy consumption to carbon emissions, mobility, water and waste, we have established best practices to reduce our environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Key achievements in reducing our ecological footprint
The European Parliament has come a long way since 2007, when EMAS was introduced in its three places of work. Between 2012* and 2019, the Parliament has managed to:
- reduce its carbon emissions by 38%
- reduce its electricity consumption by 16% and gas consumption by 23%
- increase the share of its energy use which it generates on site from renewable sources to15%
- reduce its paper consumption by 44%
- reduce its food waste by 22%
- increase its waste recycling rate to 67%, and
- develop and implement a systematic institution-wide approach to greening public procurement (GPP), with regular workshops for those organising calls for tender.
Read more about our targets and achievements.
* Except for carbon emissions, where the base year for comparison is 2006
Using green electricity and offsetting emissions
Since 2016, the Parliament has been offsetting all of its irreducible carbon emissions, making it the first 100 % carbon-neutral EU institution. It also uses 100% “green” electricity obtained from certified renewable sources.
In addition, 15% of total energy used is generated on-site from renewable resources, like geo-thermal heat pumps, co-generation and photovoltaic panels.
The Parliament was also the first EU institution to launch a comprehensive food donation programme in 2016, where unsold food is donated to charity instead of being thrown away.
Decommissioned PCs, laptops, screens and furniture are also donated to charitable organisations for re-use.
To build a sustainable future together, everyone needs to be on-board. At the European Parliament, staff are continuously encouraged to think green both at work and in their private life.
Trainings and campaigns which help increase their knowledge and awareness of sustainable solutions are facilitating better waste management, reduced water use, more sustainable commuting to the workplace and many other aspects of the working environment.
For additional information, please contact the EMAS team at the following email-address:
By relying on the commitment of every single employee and the support of all its services, EMAS provides the framework for the European Parliament to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and save resources for future generations. As part of the European Green Deal, the Parliament is also studying its forward-looking policies on carbon neutrality, and how to lead by example in the fight against climate change.