23 July 2019
The EPO has published its Environmental Report 2018 which presents the environmental impact of the EPO's operations data across all locations in Berlin, Munich, The Hague and Vienna in 2018 and compares the results with those achieved in 2017.
The report shows that CO2 emissions from air and rail travel fell by one fifth last year as a result of a change in staff behaviour and the installation of business tools enabling staff to conduct video conferences from their PCs. However, overall energy, water consumption and residual waste increased over 2017 due to the operation of multiple buildings in parallel at The Hague site and the start-up phase of the EPO's new main building at that location.
Added to this, the report underlines that the EPO's environmental activities have been governed by the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) since 2009 - a management instrument developed by the European Commission for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance. Over the past decade of implementing this scheme, the Office has reduced its yearly electricity consumption by 13%, water consumption by 9%, residual waste generation by 24%, heat energy consumption by 20%, paper consumption by 3.9%, and CO2 emissions from energy consumption has been reduced even by 68%.
Looking to the future, the EPO recently reaffirmed its commitment to fostering its environmental sustainability: Under the Office's Strategic Plan 2023, the EPO will continue to apply rigorous environmental auditing through the EMAS. There will be defined objectives for its carbon footprint, energy consumption, paper consumption, plastic elimination, and CO2 emissions from air travel. Specific measures directly contributing to achieving these targets will also be taken. The Strategic Plan further highlights particular attention will be paid to assessing how the Office can make a greater contribution to the long-term environmental goals of the Paris Agreement 2015.