President Presents Plan for Climate Neutral Office

President Presents Plan for Climate Neutral Office

On Monday, 14 September 2020, President Zuzana Čaputová presented the plan for her climate neutral President’s Office. 

The ambition is to become the first climate neutral office and thus show the way for other institutions. The president announced this series of new environmental measures on the roof of Karácsonyi Palace, which will become green in the future.

The president noted that Slovakia has undertaken to become a carbon neutral country by 2050. “Carbon neutrality does not mean that we won’t produce any CO2 emissions, but that we will only produce an amount which we can compensate for and which the country will be able to absorb. In order to accomplish this, we will have to adopt many measures and change many of our habits. since the energy, transportation and industrial sectors are responsible for the lion’s share of the production of CO2 emissions, most of the changes will have to take place in these segments.

For this reason, the President’s Office has taken the initiative to support the goal of carbon neutrality by specific actions. In cooperation with the Ministry of Environment of the SR and its Environmental Policy Institute, the carbon footprint of the President’s Office was calculated and realistic objectives were established. As a result of this calculation, the President’s Office can become carbon neutral by 2030 and thus cease to contribute to the worsening of the climate crisis.  

The President announced the following specific measures:

Transition to electromobility. Vehicles used by the President’s Office are highly unecological and annually produce over 30 tons of CO2. This number can be significantly reduced. Therefore, the fleet the vehicles with internal combustion engines will gradually be replaced by electric cars or hybrids. Another possibility is to lease vehicles of this type. The planting of at least 1,300 trees every year. Experts from the Tatra National Park (TANAP) and the Forests of the Slovak Republic are prepared to specify the territories and proper mix of trees suitable for planting. The first trees could be planted during the president’s upcoming regional trip. The use of commercial planes instead of the special government plane for long-distance flights.   

The meals served during state visits and important events will be comprised exclusively of food made in Slovakia; this will reduce the carbon footprint related to the import of food from distant countries while also supporting domestic production.   Improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings in the administration of the President’s Office. Despite the fact that many of them are historical buildings, solutions and materials of the highest energy and ecological standards can be used during their reconstruction. Installation of photovoltaic panels on these buildings where possible. Installation of green infrastructural elements, such as green roofs, on office buildings, green walls in interiors and green shelters. Gifts for the presidents of other states will comply with environmental criteria, and will include honey from the Presidential Garden and products made of recycled materials.

The measures presented today by the president complement others which the President’s Office has already implemented in order to reduce CO2 emissions. For example, by purchasing energy made exclusively from renewable resources, the President’s Office reduced its production of CO2 by 300 kilograms compared to last year. 

We have embarked on green procurement and we will extend it to other products and services. According to our purchasing criteria, a product should be ecologically friendly, energy efficient and recyclable. We have reduced the use of plastic, single-use items. We do not buy bottled water but we drink tap water. We strive to reduce the amount of waste that we produce, and to ensure that the waste that is produced is separated and composted. As part of the City Bees Project, bee hives, which support biodiversity, were installed in the Presidential Garden.” 

President Čaputová emphasized that the President’s Office wants to be an inspiration for other public institutions. Therefore, it will be prepared to share its experience and assistance. At the same time, she thanked the Ministry of Environment of the SR and the Environmental Policies Institute which used its calculator to help the office calculate its carbon footprint and made it possible to set specific objectives based on real data. “I am pleased that this calculator will eventually be accessible for other institutions and the general public. I believe that thanks to it a growing number of institutions in Slovakia will join the effort to become carbon neutral and that Slovakia will meet its commitment to become a carbon neutral country 2050.