EU House in Vienna Introduces New Environmental Standards

PeopleOther ♦ Published: February 12, 2024; 16:33 ♦ (Vindobona)

At a solemn ceremony, the First Vice-President of the European Parliament, Othmar Karas, and Wolfgang Bogensberger, Chief Executive Officer of the Commission's Representation in Austria, unveiled the EMAS environmental certification plaque for the European Union House at Vienna.

Wolfgang Bogensberger (l.), Head of the European Commission Representation in Austria, and First Vice-President of Parliament, Othmar Karas (r.) disclose the EMAS plaque. / Picture: © Vertretung der Europäischen Kommission/APA-Fotoservice/Juhasz

This award marks an important milestone, as it certifies that the building in the Wipplingerstraße and its plants meet the high requirements of environmental and energy efficiency standards.

Karas stressed the European Parliament's leadership role in sustainable development and the importance of EMAS certification: "As the first EU office in Europe to be honoured with this label, we are putting a strong signal for environmental protection, cost savings and social responsibility." He thanked all the employees for their commitment, which made this success possible.

Bogensberger stressed that the Vienna representation of the European Commission and the European Parliament's Liaison Office are pioneering in climate protection. "Our commitment does not end with this certification. By 2030, we are aiming for climate neutrality of the EU House," he said, optimistic about achieving this goal.

Since 2020, the European Commission's representation and the European Parliament's Liaison Office have been working intensively on the implementation of EMAS, with the support of their Brussels teams. Their efforts have already been commended by a document by the Federal Minister for the Environment, Leonore Gewessler. With EMAS certification, the House of the European Union in Vienna underlines its pioneering role in environmental protection and sustainable management, a commitment that goes well beyond the borders of Austria.

EMAS: an EU tool

The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a voluntary instrument of the European Union that supports companies and organizations in continuously improving their environmental performance. It was first introduced in 1993 and is open to all types of organizations that want to reduce their environmental impact. EMAS goes beyond the requirements of traditional environmental management systems and places a strong focus on continuous improvement, legal compliance, employee involvement and transparent communication to the public and other stakeholders.

The basic principles of EMAS include an initial environmental assessment of the organization's activities to identify areas with significant environmental impacts. Based on the results of the environmental assessment, an environmental management system (UMS) is implemented aimed at the continuous improvement of environmental performance. Regular reviews and assessments of environmental performance and compliance with the UMS and the organization's environmental policy. Organizations participating in EMAS must publish an environmental statement containing an assessment of their environmental performance. This declaration is validated by an independent environmental verifier and made publicly available. EMAS calls upon organizations to work continuously to improve their environmental performance by setting specific, measurable targets and reviewing them regularly.

EMAS is intended to be attractive to organizations that take their environmental responsibilities seriously and want to demonstrate this through external validation of their efforts. By participating in EMAS, organizations can not only reduce their environmental impact, but also increase their operational efficiency, save costs and build the confidence of customers, partners and the public.

House of the European Union in Vienna