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Environment and sustainability

Symbolic image for the environment

The European Patent Office consumes large amounts of heat and electrical energy, as well as water and paper, and generates both waste and CO2 emissions. It has addressed these environmental issues by introducing an environmental management system that meets the requirements of the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

The following principles and objectives guide the EPO's actions:

  • Promote a responsible approach to the environment within the EPO and communicate and implement this policy at all levels of the Office
  • Minimise the consumption of energy, water, paper and other resources
  • Minimise waste and pollution
  • Comply with relevant environmental legislation, regulations and other requirements
  • Provide appropriate resources to fulfil the Office's policy commitments
  • Promote and encourage involvement in local environmental initiatives and schemes
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Direct environmental aspects

  • Electricity from renewable sources has been used at all EPO buildings in The Hague since 2011 and in Munich since 2013, with Berlin and Vienna following in 2014 and 2015.
  • The EPO's consumption of energy and water was again reduced significantly in 2017, with electricity falling by 3.1%, heating by 2.7%, water by 5.6% and CO2 emissions by 3.8%.
  • Compared to 2012, the savings of approx. 15 000MWH/y are equivalent to the consumption of nearly 700 residential homes per year.
  • The new building in The Hague has been constructed on sustainable principles, e.g. minimisation of environmental impact in the construction phase, greatly reduced energy consumption once in use, optimum and particularly user-friendly air-conditioning. The EPO has voluntarily decided to comply with the certification criteria of multiple standards for sustainable buildings (Bouwbesluit 2012, BREEAM, BNB) and to aim for an energy efficiency rating 20% above the requirements of the 2012 Dutch building regulations.
  • At the Munich and The Hague sites, electric vehicle charging stations have been installed in recent years. Electric vehicle charging is becoming a popular workplace benefit, and the EPO is supporting drivers of electric vehicles who need to travel in and around its host cities.
  • The EPO has established a waste separation system with clearly identifiable and distinguishable waste containers in all work areas.
  • Use of the videoconference rooms and installation of the Lync system at individual workplaces have helped to cut emissions from air travel and business trips by 8%.

Indirect environmental aspects

  • The EPO has developed a dedicated patent classification scheme for climate change mitigation technologies (CCMTs), and it makes patent documents containing information on sustainable technologies available over the internet free of charge.
  • The EPO, in co-operation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has produced four studies on patenting trends in climate change mitigation technologies worldwide (2010), in Africa (2013), in Latin America and the Caribbean (2014) and in Europe (2015). In 2017 it expanded its co‑operation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and published a policy brief on the latest trends and statistics concerning the development and deployment of mitigation technologies. The EPO and IRENA are currently working on a second policy brief focusing on digitalisation for the energy transition.
  • The identification of environmental criteria was included in the financial regulations for procurement processes in 2016.
  • The reduction in paper consumption in the patenting process was achieved by launching "eDrex" at the beginning of 2017, with the effect that the patent specification intended for publication (Druckexemplar) is in most cases no longer collated and edited on paper.
  • The EPO has organised a "Health and Safety" event with information to encourage employees to cycle to work.
  • The EPO's urban "Beekeeping" initiative was launched in June 2017 when two beehives framed the EPO's Isar building side-roofs and housed 30 000 to 120 000 honey bees.
EMAS logo (JPG)

These independently verified statements report on the EPO's performance under our environmental management scheme. They include reports on environmental policy and compliance with legal requirements, as well as information on energy, waste, water, paper consumption and emissions.

From 2015 onwards, Environmental Statements are called Environmental Reports, and the cover dates reflect the year the publication is reporting on rather than the year of its release.

English versions

Environmental Report 2017 Download (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Environmental Report 2016 Download (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Environmental Report 2015 Download (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Environmental Report 2014 Download (PDF, 742 MB)
Environmental statement 2014 Download (PDF, 273 KB)
Environmental statement 2013 Download (PDF, 337 KB)
Environmental statement 2012 Download (PDF, 575 KB)
Environmental statement 2010 Download (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Environmental statement 2009 Download (PDF, 549 KB)

Dutch versions

Milieuverklaring 2016 Download (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Milieuverklaring 2014 Download (PDF, 278 KB)
Milieuverklaring 2013 Download (PDF, 399 KB)
Milieuverklaring 2012 Download (PDF, 254 KB)
Milieuverklaring 2010 Download (PDF, 282 KB)
Milieuverklaring 2009 Download (PDF, 469 KB)

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