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Given its central place in shaping policies, monitoring their implementation, and the wide range of stakeholders it works with, the Commission has a key role to play and is determined to be a front runner of the transition towards a climate neutral society, working together with other EU, international and national public organisations and private businesses.
The European Commission aims to become climate neutral by 2030 by gradually reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% compared to 2005 levels (corresponding to approximately -38% compared to 2019, the year from which emissions data for all sources is covered). Any remaining emissions will be compensated by 2030 with high quality carbon removals. The Commission will achieve this reduction through the ambitious but realistic goals set out in the Greening the Commission Communication and action plan. Targets are based on a thorough analysis, and are accompanied by specific measures in four main areas:
Buildings and workspace represented 43% of European Commission emissions in 2019: a new real estate policy in Brussels and further action at other sites will reduce emissions by 30% between 2019 and 2030.
- In Brussels, measures will include a 50% reduction in the number of buildings managed (with a 25% reduction of office buildings). This is implemented through flexible working and increased teleworking, and a gradual shift to dynamic collaborative workspaces. Improvements will also be made to the environmental performance of the building stock. The Commission will also study, quantify and mitigate the climate impact of teleworking.
- In Luxembourg, office moves to new, greener, more efficient buildings by 2025, will have a substantial impact, while smaller sites will undergo renovation wherever possible.
- On-site energy production will be developed, for instance by installing photovoltaic panels and solar water heating.
- The European Commission will adhere to New European Bauhaus values to build a sustainable and inclusive future.
Staff work-related travel represented 28% of Commission emissions in 2019. By organising smart and intelligent missions and greener modes of transport, emissions should be halved by 2024. Internal guidelines on work-related travel will be revised, and an IT tool integrated into the travel management system will monitor emissions from travel, making it easier to choose greener options for transport and accommodation.
Measures concerning more flexible working, including increased teleworking, staff commuting, work-related travel and the corporate vehicle fleet (100% zero-emission fleet by 2027) could reduce work-related travel and encourage the use of greener and more sustainable modes of transport, which will reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Car parking spaces in Brussels will be gradually reduced by at least 35% by 2030, aided by the use of smart monitoring and planning tools.
Travel for external experts (subsidised by the Commission) to attend meetings represented 14% of Commission emissions in 2019. The objective is to reduce these emissions by 50%. The Commission will mirror the efforts made in staff work-related travel using a mix of online, hybrid and in-person meetings, and will monitor emissions.
IT infrastructure and assets represented 5% of Commission emissions in 2019. For this strategic area, the Communication maintains a balance between greening actions and an increased use of IT. A reduction of 30% of emissions is expected by 2030. Measures include gradually reducing the number of local data rooms to a maximum of three by the end of 2022, streamlining IT and decommissioning obsolete systems, and reducing the individual digital carbon footprints of staff through awareness-raising campaigns.
The Commission will strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible and will only rely on carbon removals to the smallest extent possible. The Commission does not intend to start procuring offset credits for carbon removal activities before 2030. There is currently a lack of common standards for certification of high-quality carbon removals with real environmental benefits. To fill this gap, the Commission will propose a common EU regulatory framework on carbon removal certification for the transparent identification and recognition of activities that unambiguously remove carbon from the atmosphere in a sustainable way. It may re-assess the opportunity to launch preparatory pilot projects on carbon removals as part of its progress review.
See links for more information:
- The Commission presents a new Human Resources Strategy to attract top talent from all Member States and deliver on priorities as well as a Communication on Greening to become climate-neutral by 2030
- Questions and Answers on the HR Strategy and Greening
- Factsheet – A new HR strategy for the Commission
- Factsheet – Greening the Commission
- People first – the new Commission HR Strategy
- Communication on the HR Strategy
- Communication on Greening
Status date: Submitted (22/4/2022)
Our actions – the Pathway
- Have an employee engagement strategy to support and contribute to achieving the organisation's climate and environmental goals
The European Commission pledges to start an employee engagement drive to further support and encourage staff to take steps that make a positive impact on the climate, to complement our North Star Pledge (see: which kind of pledges can be made?) . We will start an internal campaign to encourage staff to take steps on Count Us In, the world's largest community of people and organizations taking practical action on climate change, and a partner of the European Climate Pact.
In line with our new HR strategy and Greening the Commission Communication, our four priority steps are:
- Walk and cycle more
- Fly less
- Speak Up At Work
- Dial it down
Beyond reducing emissions from the Commission, we will invite our staff to take at least two ‘Count Us In’ steps by the end of 2022. If you work at the European Commission, join us and make a pledge!
Status date: Submitted (22/4/2022)