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Environment and sustainability

Symbolic image for the environment

Every year, the impact of climate change on our planet is more tangible, making any mitigating or adaptive actions increasingly urgent. As a large employer with sites across Europe, the European Patent Office recognises that we have a responsibility to contribute to local and global environmental efforts.

The EPO plans to reach CO2 neutrality by 2030 and has embedded concrete actions in its Strategic Plan 2023 to achieve this ambitious objective. We have adopted an ambitious, comprehensive and collaborative environmental policy guiding all aspects of our work including our core business - the patent granting process.

As a sustainable organisation, we intend to contribute to the United Nations Paris Agreement (limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels), to the UN Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as to the more recent European Union action plan for climate neutrality: the European Green Deal (no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050).

A holistic approach graph

We are committed to delivering all our activities with the lowest possible environmental impact. This holistic approach covers direct and indirect emissions, such as those originating from the EPO's buildings, paper consumption, IT infrastructure, business-related travel and commuting.

The EPO adheres to the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). Since its introduction 11 years ago, we have significantly reduced its annual consumption of electricity, water and heat, produced less residual waste and lowered its CO2 emissions.

Every employee has an important role to play in bringing the EPO one step closer to carbon neutrality. We are proud of the commitment of our staff to sustainability as well as their readiness to embrace new and more sustainable ways of working during these times of crisis and beyond.

Collaboration extends beyond the EPO. We have simplified access to patent information on sustainable technologies for the public and relevant stakeholders. We have developed the Y02/Y04S patent classification scheme dedicated to climate change mitigation or adaptation technologies.

Moreover, we are increasing our cooperation with local, regional and international partners focusing on environmental sustainability, for example by producing empirical studies on critical technologies to foster an informed policy debate.

Environmental policy

Environmental reports

These independently verified statements report on the EPO's performance under our environmental management scheme. They include reports on 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 2021
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Environmental Report 2020
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Environmental Report 2019
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Environmental Report 2018 Download
Environmental Report 2017 Download
Environmental Report 2016 Download 
Environmental Report 2015 Download
Environmental Report 2014 Download
Environmental statement 2014 Download 
Environmental statement 2013 Download 
Environmental statement 2012 Download
Environmental statement 2010 Download 
Environmental statement 2009 Download

Dutch versions

Milieurapport 2019
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Milieuverklaring 2016 Download
Milieuverklaring 2014 Download
Milieuverklaring 2013 Download
Milieuverklaring 2012 Download
Milieuverklaring 2010 Download 
Milieuverklaring 2009 Download

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