Freie Universität Awarded Highest Seal of Quality for Sustainable Environmental Management in the European Union

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Freie Universität Berlin has received the EMAS seal of approval for outstanding environmental performance. In September 2021, the university successfully completed the validation process established by the European environmental standard Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and is now part of a group of around 20 certified universities and colleges across Germany. In an official ceremony, Jan Eder, General Manager of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin, presented the EMAS registration certificate to the president of Freie Universität Berlin, Günter M. Ziegler. The EMAS certificate is considered to be the world’s most demanding seal of approval for corporate environmental management.

Günter M. Ziegler indicated he was pleased to accept the award, while stressing that the recognition was well deserved because over the years Freie Universität Berlin has devoted great efforts toward funtioning sustainably and implementing environmental management. These efforts met with success due to intensive preparation and broad participation by various departments of the university. On behalf of the entire university, he thanked Andreas Wanke, head of the Unit for Sustainability and Energy Management, and Hela Lange, who coordinated the certification process.

In a four-day review process, Freie Universität presented its activities to the environmental expert and reviewer, Dr. Georg Sulzer. In his final report, Dr. Sulzer stated that there was "a very high level of environmental awareness throughout," and he praised the systematic approach and the high level of commitment of all the involved departments and units at the university. The audit included the university management and the Unit for Sustainability and Energy Management, as well as the Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, the Department of Veterinary Medicine, the Department of Earth Sciences, the Department of History and Cultural Studies, the Department of Law, the School of Business and Economics, and the library system. In addition, Dr. Sulzer pointed out the positive work in environmental management being done by the Procurement Office, the Engineering and Utilities Division, the Center for Continuing Education, and the Occupational Safety Service.

Professor Ziegler said, "Overall, this positive evaluation shows that sustainability and environmental and climate protection are firmly anchored at Freie Universität. They are an active and visible part of all activities throughout the institution." That is why the university was able to take on a pioneering role in the German university landscape with its climate emergency declaration in December 2019 and its goal of climate neutrality by 2025. "We will consistently continue working toward these goals," Ziegler emphasized. The EMAS award is both a recognition and an incentive for continuing this work.


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