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EMAS in the European Institutions

EMAS in the European Institutions

The European Commission was the first EU Institution to become registered with EMAS and currently, 17 EU Institutions and bodies are EMAS-registered. The European Commission EMAS team members are proud and honoured to have served sometimes as 'mentors' to their colleagues in setting up the scheme in other institutions – "Walking the talk", as we say!

logo EMAS EU registration

The European institutions' EMAS stories

figures since implementing EMAS

EMAS stories about EU institutions

The European institutions' EMAS news

Extension of the EMAS family among EU Institutions!

How EMAS has been extended among the EU Institutions and agencies? Let’s find out through an interview with Elisabetta Tonin who recently joined the EMAS corporate team at DG HR, European Commission.

Elisabetta Tonin
Elisabetta Tonin
Photo by Massimo Pistore

How many EU Institution and Agencies are now EMAS Registered?

The Commission was the first EU Institution to register under EMAS already in 2005, and currently there are 17 EU Institutions and bodies which are EMAS-registered! A big success! And we are welcoming more and more institutions every year in our family. During the last year we had 5 new entries, the newest ones being the European Training Foundation (ETF) in Turin and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in Paris, presenting their experience at the next GIME meeting!

Another EU jargon abbreviation, can you explain to us what GIME is?

GIME is the Interinstitutional Group for Environmental Management, it was created to exchange environmental best-practices in line with the EU Green Deal towards a climate neutral Europe by 2050. The group had been rather inactive for 2 years due to the pandemic and lack of resources, but it has recently been revamped and now we’re experiencing a very high participation and interest from many EU institutions all over Europe.

Which topics do you discuss, or which activities do you organize within the GIME?

We discuss green “hot” topics like the calculation of the environmental impact of telework, the reduction of emissions related to business travel, the biodiversity enhancement, energy saving measures, carbon removals/carbon offsetting, etc... Every institution brings to the table their internal discussions, perplexities and new measures in place in order to keep the interinstitutional dialogue alive. Moreover, the "core” of the GIME members organise common communication and staff awareness actions, such as the Interinstitutional VeloMai promoting sustainable commuting among their staff under the motto “Cycling for Peace” and supporting Ukraine. The highlight is, of course, the organisation of the Interinstitutional EMAS Days which involved more than 600 EMAS practitioners and a group of eco-volunteers during the 2022 edition. This was a unique opportunity to share environmental best practices and know-hows acquired by the EMAS pioneers. Have a look at the relevant e-poster and e-programme to get a glimpse of what it was all about...

Why do you think interest and participation in green aspects has increased?

Air pollution, biodiversity, climate change, energy are all urgent topics to be addressed all over Europe. A change of direction is urgently needed from all of us, and, of course, the European institutions are frontrunners of the transition towards a climate neutral society and want to lead by example..

How can we stay updated on interinstitutional dialogue?

You can regularly consult this detailed website or write to us at for more information. Fresh ideas and initiatives are always welcome!


EU Institutions and bodies participate in first purely digital Earth Hour 2020

On Saturday, 28 March, between 20.30 and 21.30, 34 Europeans Institutions and bodies (6 new ones in relation to 2019), will symbolically switch off the lights on the facades of their main buildings (besides any security and legal compliance restrictions). Earth Hour, a WWF initiative, is now one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, this year celebrating its 13th anniversary (see video).

In view of the ongoing health crisis as a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, the Earth Hour global organising team is recommending all participants to celebrate Earth Hour purely digitally this year. There are still many ways to take part online or at home and show your support for the planet on and around the Hour.

But most of the European institutions already go far "beyond the hour" by implementing the environmental management system EMAS and/or ISO 14001, which continuously reduces their environmental impact throughout the year. Moreover, they exchange environmental best-practices striving for environmental excellence via interinstitutional environmental management groups (GIME and Greening Network), in line with the EU Green Deal towards a climate neutral Europe by 2050.

digital Earth Hour 2020 logo

What is the Commission doing to reduce its own carbon footprint?

In order to reduce its environmental impact and to lead by example, the European Commission has been the first EU Institution to be EMAS-registered already in 2005. The system now covers the eight main sites of the Commission in Europe, located in seven Member States. This represents about 35,000 persons and 1.6 Million square meters. In Brussels, where the Commission has long-term verified data, the results per capita show the following changes between 2005 and 2018: Buildings energy consumption reduced by 65% representing cumulative savings exceeding EUR 110 Million; Carbon dioxide emissions from buildings reduced by 87%; Per km vehicle fleet CO2 emissions (manufacturer specifications) reduced by 53%; Water use reduced by 61%; Paper use reduced by 71%; Non-hazardous waste reduced by 28%. For more information regarding Commission’s environmental performance in relation to the 2014-2020 environmental objectives. The Commission's EMAS Steering Committee adopted in January 2020 a Global Action Plan containing 232 ongoing or new actions addressing resource use (energy, water, paper), carbon dioxide emissions, waste and biodiversity amongst others. Notwithstanding this impressive performance, the Commission is keen to reduce its environmental impact and to lead by example. As such, it will present in 2020 a comprehensive action plan to implement for itself the principles and recommendations presented in the Green Deal with the objective of becoming climate neutral itself by 2030.

More information on the EMAS in EU Institutions webpage on Europa including EU Institutions’ EMAS stories and best-practices.

List of participating EU Institutions and bodies: the European Commission (EC), the European Parliament (EP), the Council's General Secretariat (GSC), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CDJ), the European External Action Service (in Brussels), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Ombudsman's (EO), the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CDT), the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership Joint Undertaking (ECSEL-JU), the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA), the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Fisheries Control Agency to join Institutions and Agencies (EFCA), the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy (F4E), the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), the European Banking Authority (EBA), the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) and the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR-JU).


The first "Interinstitutional EMAS Week": Lessons-learned and the way forward…

From 23 to 27 May 2016, just before the Green Week 2016, the Commission, the Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Council, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, joined forces by organising the first Inter-institutional EMAS Week in Brussels. "Institutions invest for a greener future" was dedicated to sustainable infrastructures, alternative mobility, green purchasing and staff involvement. A unique opportunity to share environmental best practices and know-how. The programme included thematic debates, info-fair stands, film screenings, staff forums, photography and drawing competitions and much more. The interinstitutional EMAS week culminated with the EU Open Days event on Saturday 28 May 2016. For an insider's view about the events of the week, have a look at the special of the EMAS Reflex and the relevant video (below). Moreover, see video by European Parliament's Vice President Ulrike Lunacek concerning the event. All EMAS teams agreed that it was an experiment worth repeating, so there will be another interinstitutional EMAS week next year!