If you have any questions, please write to


Environment and sustainability

Symbolic image for the environment

The European Patent Office adheres to the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) to implement a sustainable environmental management system. Since the introduction of EMAS 11 years ago the EPO has significantly reduced its yearly consumption of electricity, water and heat, produced less residual waste and lowered its CO2 consumption from energy consumptions by more than two thirds.

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
Loading ...

Direct environmental aspects

  • In 2019, the Office reduced its consumption of energy (-19.2%) and electricity (-4.3%), lowered waste generation (-29.2%), and produced fewer carbon emissions (-24.2%). Paper use was marginally higher (+1.2%) but current projects within the EPO Strategic Plan 2023 are aimed at addressing this issue.
  • The innovative new main building in The Hague was constructed in a way that goes beyond the building standards of the EU and the Netherlands. Two special features of the building will lead to CO2-savings. Firstly, solar panels installed on the roof will produce some of the electricity consumed in the building. Secondly, a system of heat pumps will help to cool the building in summer and heat it in winter.

Indirect environmental aspects

  • The EPO has developed a dedicated patent classification scheme for climate change mitigation or adaption technologies, and it makes patent documents containing information on sustainable technologies available over the internet free of charge.
  • By tagging patent documents, which traditionally fall under a wide range of technical areas, the Y02/Y04S scheme groups under a common umbrella all mitigation and adaptation technologies as well as smart grids. The scheme was devised in close co-operation with expert partners in the field, using technology guidelines produced by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As a result, the scheme makes it easier to retrieve relevant information quickly and accurately. It also makes it possible to map sustainable technologies, identify trends and facilitate further R&D. Y02/Y04S has become a standard for searching patents for climate change technologies and is commonly used by patent offices, intergovernmental organisations and academia for producing empirical analysis to support decision-making in the field of climate technology.
  • In particular, 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 the EPO enhanced 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.
  • Using the features of the patent system to produce structural transparency regarding climate technologies, the EPO is making a significant contribution to the fight against climate change and sending a strong signal of its willingness to assume broader social responsibilities.
  • The EPO is taking various steps to raise awareness of the use and benefits of the Y02/Y04S scheme, including participating in specialised conferences and seminars targeting industry and academics in the field of climate technologies and organising information sessions aimed at policymakers at national, European and international level.
  • The EPO is an accredited observer at the UNFCCC and participates regularly in the Conference of the Parties meetings, where it follows discussions on innovation and technology. The EPO also attends the UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee in its observer capacity.
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 2019
Download (PDF, 9 MB)
Environmental Report 2018 Download (PDF, 880 KB)
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

Milieurapport 2019
Download (PDF, 9.7 MB)
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)

Quick Navigation