Socio-political responsibility and active contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved through the implementation of an environmental management system. The Austrian Parliamentary Administration, Parlamentsdirektion, is the first national parliament with this goal and is therefore setting an example for others. The renovation of the 130-year-old historic parliament building of Austria provides the perfect framework for the introduction of environmental and sustainability management into the Austrian Parliamentary Administration. The comprehensive building refurbishment, in connection with the social and political call for responsible use of resources for future generations, allows a unique opportunity for cultural change, which is needed for the implementation of such a broad concept. In the course of the renovation, the structural requirements in accordance with the Disability Equality Act and the UN Disability Rights Convention will be created. By overcoming barriers using modern technology, people with disabilities will also have full access to parliamentary operations and have the opportunity to fully participate in public, democratic and political life. Since the current locations serve only as interim locations for the duration of the renovation, it was decided to aim for certifications in connection with the commissioning of the historic main building. The focus lies on certification according to the environmental management system EMAS. EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) stands for continuous improvement of the environmental performance that an organisation provides, either directly or indirectly.
This project aims to achieve three main goals:
Goal 1: A strong signal for sustainability and accessibility in particular within the public administration as well as in society, and thereby contributing to the SDGs, the 17 development goals of the United Nations.
Goal 2: The first national parliament with EMAS certification and sustainability management, and a benchmark for other national and international administrative organisations. No national parliament in the world has yet been certified.
Goal 3: Implementation and promotion of a national and international sustainability network for the exchange of best practice examples.