The Making of a Sustainable Europe Day at the Irish EU Presidency Headquarters
Life is still ‘greener’ at Dublin Castle says General Manager George Moir, four months after the certification of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union to Event Sustainability and Environmental Management Systems awarded by Certification Europe.
Today is Europe Day and Dublin Castle is ready to host the European Forum on Architectural Policies. This is just one of over 180 meetings and events that the Irish Government has scheduled during Ireland’s EU Presidency in Ireland, which are attended by over 15,000 delegates.
Each of those events is a chance for Dublin Castle to display and promote the Olympic standards that the Headquarters of the Irish EU Presidency has achieved in December 2012. Only London 2012 Olympic Games in fact have been granted such a top standard of sustainability and environmental friendliness before.
Four months after the implementation of Events Sustainability and Environmental Management Systems, we have asked to George Moir, General Manager of Dublin Castle to explain how ISO 20121 and ISO 14001 have changed their processes and their strategic perspective towards events organisation.
How does Dublin Castle benefit as EU Presidency Headquarters from ISO 20121 and ISO 14001 certifications?
George Moir (GM): Dublin Castle has hosted and will host further EU Presidency events until the end of June 2013. Our certification to ISO 20121 and ISO 14001 has set an Olympic standard for sustainability for governmental summits and has focused both our mindset and that of our client Government Departments for a Greener Irish Presidency.
How do you believe you have particularly improved in your Management Systems since your initial steps to certification?
GM: Our monthly team and management meetings now have an extra 'agenda item' on sustainability.
We are now more aware of how we organise various meetings and events with a greener outlook, and we are more capable of reinforcing the benefits of our environmental-friendly positioning.
What Management hurdles in Environmental Compliance and Event Sustainability did you experience before, which now you see as being overcome?
GM: Dublin Castle had been compliant with a few items under the Sustainability umbrella over the years. However these items had never been documented or put on an official footing before. It was a case of doing 'things because it seemed right'. Now that we have documented our processes, thanks to ISO certification, we can continually look for improvements.
What process changes have you implemented which advantage your stakeholders during the Irish EU Presidency term?
GM: We have taken many changes to the advantage of our clients and partners. They include:
- Filtered Water is available at all times to Delegates attending conferences. No bottled water is served during the Presidency meetings.
- Waste Disposal is monitored in the Conference Areas, Kitchen Areas and Staff Canteen.
- Information on Public Transport and Cycle schemes is provided to employee/visitors.
- Dublin Castle has a list of energy using equipment and it is measured individually.
- Automatic light controls are in place, and heating is thermostatically controlled
- We use recycled paper and printer cartridges
- We communicate this policy and relevant environmental, social and financial procedures to visitors, customers, staff, contractors and suppliers, consulting key stakeholders on matters of sustainability.
How does OPW/Dublin Castle's staff contribute to the daily implementation of the Event Sustainability and Environmental Management Systems?
GM: Apart from the day to day implementation of the 'greener' working arrangements, regular meetings and training courses have been organised and through these initiatives staff are very much aware of the need to monitor and implement all the key elements of our event sustainability programme. Feedback is sought and given to all staff.
What are Dublin Castle's Sustainability Management targets for the future?
GM: Our aim is to maintain our accreditation. We want to continually improve and identify ways to provide a more cost efficient service, therefore more sustainable, for both ourselves and our customers. Possibly we will role this achievement out to other areas of the Office, however this will need 'buy-in' on a Corporate wide basis.
While Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union will pass the relay in two months, Dublin Castle management aims at keeping its Olympic Standard of Sustainability in the future. With their certification, EU2013 Headquarters will continue their journey as one of the ‘greenest’ landmarks within the heritage of the Office of Public Works.