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Climate Change Conference in Bonn setting standards for environmentally compatible events

All environmental impacts of COP 23 will be analysed and wherever possible adverse environmental effects minimised. The benchmark being applied is the internationally recognised environmental verification scheme EMAS.

The organisers of COP 23 in Bonn are aiming for high standards in environmental performance. All environmental impacts of this event will be analysed and wherever possible adverse environmental effects minimised. The benchmark being applied is the internationally recognised environmental verification scheme EMAS, which sets the bar particularly high for eco-friendly services. Unavoidable CO2 emissions such as those arising from travel to and from the venue must subsequently be offset.

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks commented: "We will make the climate summit as environmentally sound as possible. Eco-friendly management of an event involving 25,000 people from a range of cultures and with diverse customs is a major challenge. So I am very pleased that our contractors and suppliers for COP 23 are actively supporting this goal with their creative ideas."

The eco-friendly management of the conference encompasses, for example, paper consumption, recycled materials, a predominantly vegetarian, organic and regionally sourced selection of food, beverages, waste, mobility, energy and water supply, pavilions and other temporary structures. Another important aspect is awareness raising among all staff and participants of COP 23.

The challenges

Sustainable procurement

Wherever possible, COP 23 uses recycled products or recyclable/reusable materials. This covers everything from the temporary structures and conference materials to nameplates and water bottles. Over 95 suppliers and service providers involved in the climate summit have been required to agree to a Sustainability Code based on an existing UN code of conduct. This is supplemented with sustainability guidelines developed especially for COP 23 and aimed at exhibitors and those organising pavilions or setting up stands. The 650 volunteers have also been equipped with eco-friendliness in mind.

Optimising waste prevention

Around 50 drinking fountains are distributed across the entire COP 23 site. Every conference participant is provided with their own water bottle, a measure that alone can save over half a million plastic cups. Moreover, at COP 23 conference documents will primarily be presented in electronic form, thus avoiding printed papers. The catering will also focus on waste prevention. This includes the use of reusable tableware. If the carpets and tiles from the pavilions in the Bonn Zone cannot be reused, they will be made into clothing, shoes, car mats or felt products.

Climate-friendly catering

Most of the dishes on offer at the summit are vegetarian and at least half the meals are made with certified organic produce. All meat and fish is from certified organic sources. At least 20 percent are from regional producers. In addition, specific products such as coffee, tea and chocolate are 100 percent fair trade.

Climate-friendly mobility

An electric shuttle is available to conference participants free of charge for travel between the two conference venues, the Bonn Zone and the Bula Zone. Public transport in the Bonn region is free for all delegates, accredited observer organisations and journalists for the duration of COP 23. The bus fleet includes around 15 vehicles with alternative drives. A shuttle service in the Rheinaue Park, with smaller electric and fuel cell-powered buses takes participants between the Bonn and Bula Zones. There are also 600 free bicycles available for travelling between the venues, to hotels or the city centre.

Energy supply and energy efficiency

During COP 23, heating of interior spaces will be restricted to an average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. Participants and volunteers are asked to save energy, including by switching off lights and electronic appliances when not in use. Besides maximising energy efficiency, the COP organisers are also ensuring that as much as possible of the electricity used in the buildings is from renewable sources. The electric shuttle of the public utility company Stadtwerke Bonn is powered exclusively by renewable energy.


Unavoidable greenhouse gases, caused primarily by travel to and from the conference, will be offset through high-quality certified emission reductions (CERs) from international climate projects. The Federal Environment Agency is publishing a call for tenders on this today, looking for ambitious projects which not only deliver emission reductions but also enhance sustainability in the project country. To mark the partnership with Fiji for COP 23, the tender has a regional focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The German government will then buy CERs from these projects equivalent to the amount of emissions caused by the Climate Change Conference in Bonn.

EMAS Certification

Environmental performance during COP 23 will be verified by an independent environmental auditor. At the close of the conference on Friday 17 November 2017, the EMAS certificate will be presented to the Federal Environment Ministry and the UNFCCC following the successful completion of the on-site inspection. After the conference, all environmental data will be evaluated to allow a comparison with the goals, and this information will be reviewed again by the environmental auditor.

Guided tours at COP

The UNFCCC offers guided tours focussing on the sustainability aspects of COP 23, covering topics such as waste separation, catering, Climate Neutral Now, the availability of hire bikes and electric shuttles. Details of tours of the relevant areas of the Bonn Zone will be published in the first week of the conference.

Call for tenders for certified emission reductions

The call for tenders for the purchase of CERs will be published on the UBA website on 8 November under the project number 96539 (formally, this means that the documents will be published for the EU-wide process on Monday, 6 November).

08.11.2017 | Pressreport No. 351/17 | Sustainable Development