CERN publishes its second public environment report

The document details the current status of CERN’s environmental footprint, along with objectives for the coming years.

Life at CERN
A herd of sheep next to the Globe and the ATLAS experiment (Image: CERN)

On 24 November, CERN published its second public environment report, covering the years 2019 and 2020. In 2019, CERN made a commitment to communicate on its environmental footprint every two years in order to ensure transparency and demonstrate its leadership in environmental management for research organisations. Like the first report, which covered the years 2017 and 2018, the second environment report has been prepared following the sustainability reporting standards laid out by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The period covered by the second report encompasses two years of CERN’s accelerator complex shutdown. Consequently, the level of many environmental indicators decreased significantly with respect to the previous reporting cycle. As an example, CERN’s electricity consumption in 2019 and 2020 was about 64% lower than when the machines were running.

Beyond presenting the current status of CERN’s environmental footprint, the report sets out the objectives for the coming years. “The production of CERN’s first public environment report in 2020 enabled us to establish reporting frameworks and set concrete goals. This second report is about turning words into action,” declares CERN’s Director-General, Fabiola Gianotti.

As an example, the Laboratory is committed to reducing its direct (scope 1) greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by the end of 2024. In an effort to reach this goal, CERN has launched a leak repair campaign to decrease emissions from fluorinated gases in the large experiments. In addition, this report innovates by presenting data on its indirect (scope 3) emissions for the first time, which includes emissions related to business travel, personnel commutes, catering, waste management and water purification. This marks an important step in understanding and controlling the environmental impacts beyond CERN’s walls and upstream and downstream of the Organization’s supply chain.

The environmental impact of the HL-LHC is also discussed in the report. In the long term, the new collider will enjoy better performances and a higher data per unit of energy used ratio – for which a metric has been developed and is presented in the report. With respect to Run 1, the HL-LHC will increase the energy efficiency of CERN’s flagship facility by a factor of ten over 20 years.


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Links to the Environment Report in English:
and French:

Environmental protection