Hosted annually since 1974, the event draws participants in over 140 countries and encourages policy makers, businesses, and individuals to focus on important environmental issues.
The 2020 theme is #ForNature and calls for urgent action to protect biodiversity,recognising that a disruption to ecological balance can also have negative consequences for human health.
A loss of biodiversity could create conditions that allow infectious disease to thrive and limit the potential to discover new treatments.
Sustainability and environmental protection are long-standing goals and to achieve objectives, the Office follows established best-practices, for example,
Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) validation. EMAS provides a framework for full regulatory compliance with legislation and steers organisations towards sustainable business practices. The EPO was first certified in 2009 and received validation again in May 2020.
The Office's green focus has yielded positive results. In 2019, the EPO reduced its electricity consumption by 4.3%, water consumption by 6.2% and residual waste by 29.2%.
This year, staff received new laptops that are expected to consume approximately 50% less energy than older computers. Improved IT infrastructure and digital teleconferencing capabilities have also empowered staff to work remotely, thereby cutting individual transport-related emissions.
The European Inventor Award: a look at green innovation
The brightest innovators are honoured annually at the European Inventor Award, with many of those alumni having developed technology that drives progress while providing solutions for climate and environmental issues.
· Dutch chemist Gert-Jan Gruter solved a problem that had baffled chemists for nearly 150 years. His solution helped develop a plant-based bioplastic that requires no petrochemicals, is completely recyclable and cuts associated CO2 emissions by up to 70%.
· Some 7 to 12% of the world's annual CO2 emissions are related to concrete production. By adding limestone-producing bacteria, Hendrik Marius Jonkers created self-healing bio-concrete that seals cracks, thereby reducing the need to manufacture new concrete.
· Conventional showers in Europe typically spray out around 10 litres of water per minute, meaning a 10-minute shower can use up to 100 litres of water. While working on a NASA project, Mehrdad Mahdjoubi developed a closed-loop system that consumes 90% less water and 80% less energy than a conventional shower.