CERN reinforces its commitment to sustainability

CERN released its first public Environment Report today. Presented to the CERN Council at its June meeting, the report covers the years 2017 and 2018 and has been prepared according to the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Reporting Standards. It details the current status of CERN’s environmental footprint, along with objectives for the coming years.

“CERN aspires to be a model for environmentally responsible research,” said the Laboratory’s Director-General, Fabiola Gianotti. “This report underlines our strong commitment to environmental protection, both in terms of minimising our impact and applying CERN technologies for environmental protection”.

CERN has a robust framework in place for environmental protection, at the heart of which is the CERN Environmental Protection Steering board, CEPS, which is made up of representatives of all sectors of the Laboratory. CEPS has a mandate to identify and prioritise environmental issues to be addressed, propose programmes of action, and follow-up their implementation. For example, the CERN management accepted and financed an objective to reduce CERN’s direct greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by the end of 2024. Among the actions being taken to achieve this, CERN has for several years been developing environmentally-friendly cooling systems that have potential for applications in other domains.

As well as managing its environmental footprint responsibly, CERN also wishes to make a positive impact on environmental issues through the technologies it develops. The report covers some of the innovations made at CERN that are being adapted for environmental protection.

“We want to be part of the solution,” said Frédérick Bordry, CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, “contributing to best practice and finding solutions for the future. Several of our technologies have considerable potential in many areas including the environment. For example, we are implementing energy recovery systems at the LHC, and pioneering the use of superconductivity on a large scale, which could improve the efficiency of electricity distribution networks.”

For many years, CERN has been reporting quarterly to relevant Host State authorities on the results of its environmental monitoring. “CERN works closely with Host State authorities in matters of environmental protection,” said Doris Forkel-Wirth, Head of the Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Protection Unit. “With this new report, we are adding to our transparency and accountability.”

This report is based on an extensive analysis of dialogues with key internal and external stakeholders in accordance with the materiality process required by the Global Reporting Initiative standards. The materiality process identifies the areas considered to be of greatest material importance both to the Organization and key stakeholders, as described in the report. The environmental domains covered result from this process and include topics covered by the Global Reporting Initiative standards, as well as specific topics important to CERN and its stakeholders.

CERN will publish an environment report every two years. The next will cover the period 2019-2020, and be published in the second half of 2021.


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