The European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee step up their climate commitments

Over the last decade, both EU bodies have successfully reduced consumption: -42% electricity, -54% gas, -58% water, -83% waste and -96% paper

In the context of the climate emergency, energy crisis and high inflation, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) have signed a new environmental commitment with concrete actions to reduce energy consumption, waste, pollution and to improve the overall environmental footprint of all their activities.

On Wednesday, 30 November 2022, the Presidents of the European Committee of the Regions and of the European Economic and Social Committee signed a new environmental policy that includes an updated environmental management system with stronger commitments to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lists priority actions to keep reducing energy and water consumption, waste and pollution.

The president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Christa Schweng, said: There is no time to waste when it comes to the fight against climate change. Our Committees' joint actions show determination to achieve climate neutrality. There is always a room for improvement in our own yard and we should all start from there. It's our shared responsibility for our generation and the next to come.

The president of the European Committee of the Regions, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, said: We all have a responsibility in facing the climate and energy crises. Our institutions need to lead by example. Proud that the European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee join forces to reduce our two institutions' environmental footprint.

The Committees' new environmental management system includes actions such as reducing gas, electricity and water consumption and the use of plastics, encouraging a responsible use of paper, sustainable public procurement, seasonal food and fighting food waste. In June 2019, the canteen of the Jacques Delors building, shared by both Committees, became the first plastic-free canteen of the European Institutions.

With the new agreement, both Committees reaffirm their commitment to keep reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from administrative operations and activities, greening events, promoting sustainable mobility among staff in daily commuting and encouraging staff environmental actions through awareness raising.

The 2022 Environmental Results of both committees show a reduction of 42% in electricity consumption, a 54% reduction in gas consumption, a 58% reduction in water consumption and a 96% reduction in paper consumption compared to 2009. In terms of waste, an 83% reduction has been achieved compared to 2010 data.

The Committees updated environmental management system complies with the requirements of the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) regulation. First launched in 1993, EMAS is a management instrument developed by the European Commission for companies and organisations to evaluate, report, and improve environmental performance. Both Committees have been engaged in setting up an EMAS-compliant environmental management system since 2008.

Background information:

The new environmental policy is available on the EESC website and the CoR website.

The EMAS Regulation 1836/93 was first introduced in July 1993 as an environmental policy tool devised by the European Commission in a step towards fulfilling the Community’s goal of sustainable development. EMAS has been open for voluntary participation by organisations since April 1995. Click here for more information.