The Energy Community Secretariat is committed to do its utmost to support the Contracting Parties in the transition of their energy sectors to a sustainable path, in line with numerous environmental and climate acts as adopted by the Ministerial Council. At the same time, the Secretariat’s supporting role does not come without an environmental impact, including a substantial carbon footprint. For instance,
- In 2019, the Secretariat organized 98 official meetings, which were attended by approximately 2.700 participants.
- The participation at the Secretariat events, together with the staff's travelling, amounted to roughly 3.6 million flight kilometers in 2019.
These considerations resulted in a decision to engage in introducing the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) at the Secretariat. The EMAS Regulation, which is the EU’s flagship measure in environmental management, requires organizations to assess, manage and continuously improve their environmental performance.
As one of the first steps in the EMAS process, the Secretariat published its Environmental Policy in June 2020. This paper underlines the Secretariat’s overall environmental commitment and specifies the organization's objectives in terms of environmental performance. The Environmental Programme, in return, translates these objectives into measurable targets. For each target, several actions were determined. The Secretariat expects to be in a position to apply for EMAS certification in July 2021. The publication of its first Environmental Statement is envisaged latest in August 2021.
The pages below highlight measures particularly relevant to Secretariat's staff and its visitors.
Secretariat's green office measures
To identify potential energy saving measures that it can directly influence, opposite to those managed at the office building level, was the starting point for the Secretariat's line of action.
Sustainable travel rules
Professional travel, conducted overwhelmingly by an airplane, is undoubtedly the most significant direct environmental aspect related to the Secretariat’s activities. Regular travelling by the experts to the Contracting Parties to support the stakeholder’s efforts to implement the Treaty is an integral part of the Secretariat’s business activities. To facilitate information exchange, the Secretariat additionally organizes around 100 events every year, either in Vienna or across the region. This results in further travelling by its staff and by its numerous event participants (in total 3.6 million flight kilometers in 2019).
Revised rules and principles
Whilst setting up its environmental management system, the Secretariat revised its travel and event management rules. In name of sustainable travel principles, the revised travel rules promote video conferencing as an alternative to travelling and prioritize travelling by train whenever possible. Starting 2021, the Secretariat’s event management builds on the principle of hybrid events. Parallel to participation on site, all its events can also be attended virtually. In order to fulfill the criteria of hybrid events, the Secretariat upgraded its conference facilities in June 2021.
Green event measures
The Secretariat successfully completed the tending of its catering services in June 2021. Building on its prior market research, a certified environmental management system and Vienna based operations were included into the procurement criteria. When assessing the offers, the service provider’s waste management concept and use of organic food ingredients will be decisive.
Later, together with growing number of face to face meetings, the Secretariat will release a green event guide. The purpose being to present its event participants the green event measures set in place, such as the virtual participation option, commuting options to its premises, waste separation, energy measures, or catering services.
The environmental aspect and impact assessment underlined the significance of procurement in the Secretariat’s operations. This was reflected in the Secretariat's first 2020 - 2021 Environmental Programme with a broad majority of the actions aiming to incorporate sustainability into its everyday procurement and purchasing activities. To establish a framework, a Sustainable Procurement Procedure was adopted. This procedure will be subject to regular updates, whenever a new, sustainable purchase criteria is to be incorporated.
Depending on the contract matter, specific environmental requirements will be outlined in our tender documents. For small amount purchases, the Secretariat elaborated internal green purchase tips, which are tailored to the categories of products and services concerned. In this way, the Secretariat opts for acquiring works, goods and services that have minimal environmental, social and economic impacts.