Germany is laying tangible groundwork for this in many areas, including with pioneering legislation on renewable energies, climate protection and the Federal Government’s Sustainability Strategy. Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in which “sustainability will play an important role both in terms of substance and organisation”, is also intended to do justice to the increased importance of this issue, as Federal Chancellor Merkel declared in Berlin on 4 June 2019. This means that tried and tested sustainability standards will be consistently taken into account in the planning and implementation of all events relating to the Presidency.
In organising events, Germany will also take its lead from previous presidencies. Austria and Finland provided important food for thought in this area in 2018 and 2019, which the Federal Government would like to take up and continue within the framework of approximately 500 scheduled events. This includes :
- dispensing with small gifts for arriving delegations
- the use of regional and fair trade food, plant-based products and tap water
- concepts for minimising waste
- assessing venues and hotels for environmental certification and compliance with sustainability standards
- the procurement of sustainable bags for liaison officers assisting guest delegations in Germany
In order to fully comply with its responsibility in the area of climate policy, the Federal Government will make its Presidency of the Council of the European Union climate neutral and compensatefor all unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. This will be done by acquiring and surrendering carbon credits from climate protection projects certified under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. Unavoidable emissions will thus be offset by emissions savings made elsewhere. The Federal Environment Agency has calculated the emissions for all planned events on behalf of the Federal Government and is procuring the necessary credits from high-quality CDM projects. To avoid underestimating emissions, conservative standard values were used for the calculation. The assumptions made for calculating emissions will be reviewed as part of a sustainability reporting process following Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Federal Government is therefore adhering to the principle of climate-friendly action, namely first avoiding and reducing, then offsetting emissions.
As a political sign of its independence, Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union will, as a rule, refrain from any kind of sponsorship. Refraining from private-sector sponsorship of events guarantees that the Presidency will be conducted without appearing to be subject to outside influence.