On 5 June, the world celebrated World Environment Day, a day established by the United Nations to raise awareness and encourage action towards the protection of the environment worldwide. To mark this day, CERN is launching a series of articles, entitled “CERN’s Year of Environmental Awareness”, presenting the environmental challenges facing the Organization and its efforts to tackle them. The articles on environmental protection and sustainability will be complemented by infographics providing data on CERN’s environmental initiatives, as well as tips and suggestions that each and every one of us can follow to improve CERN’s environmental footprint. Throughout the Year of Environmental Awareness, activities will be proposed to encourage the CERN community to contribute to environmental protection.
The topics covered in this series of articles stem from the CERN Environment Report 2017-2018, published last year, and its upcoming update covering 2019 and 2020. The report is aligned with the internationally recognised Global Reporting Initiative Standards. In accordance with these standards, CERN identified and prioritised environmental topics of significance to the Organization (following a methodology based on the principle of materiality). The identification of topics and the prioritisation process began with focus group meetings with internal stakeholders representing various technical, administrative and managerial functions at CERN, ranging from users to staff representatives to Council members. They were asked to express their views about important environmental topics and to prioritise them. Based on the insights from these meetings, CERN identified and interviewed external stakeholders, such as Host State representatives, to establish the relative importance of the identified topics.
This process revealed various perspectives and highlighted a range of environmental concerns and opportunities for CERN. A list of topics deemed to be of material importance in the CERN context was then drawn up. This list included energy, emissions, ionising radiation, waste, water and effluents, noise and biodiversity. Environmental compliance in relation to these topics was also included in the CERN Environment Report 2017-2018. In addition, CERN’s knowledge and technology transfer work was identified as an activity that could have a positive impact on the environment.
CERN’s Year of Environmental Awareness will be officially launched by the Director-General at an online event on 24 June. The event, involving representatives from the Host States, will feature presentations on environmental subjects and a round-table discussion. You are also invited to discuss and share your ideas on environmental topics at CERN via a dedicated Mattermost channel.
This article is a part of the series “CERN’s Year of Environmental Awareness”.