Submitted by: Piraeus Bank
Posted: Oct 24, 2011 – 09:51 AM EST
ATHENS, Greece, Oct. 24 /CSRwire/ - Piraeus Bank is the first bank in Greece to have certified its Environmental Management System (EMS), in all its branches (359) and administration buildings (24), a total area of 187.831 m2, under ISO 14001:2004 and EMAS.
EMAS integrates the management requirements of the widely acknowledged environmental management standard ISO 14001:2004. However, as a premium EMS, EMAS goes beyond the ISO 14001:2004 requirements. The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a voluntary management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance.
The core elements of EMAS are performance, credibility and transparency. By carrying out annual updates of environmental policy targets and actions to implement and evaluate them, registered organisations continually improve their environmental performance and provide evidence that they comply with all environmental legislation that is applicable to them. Employee involvement and training under EMAS is a major component of the certification procedure. Third party verification from independent auditors significantly adds credibility by guaranteeing the value of both the actions taken and the disclosed environmental information. Transparency is generated by the environmental statement, which is required as part of EMAS registration. The communication tool makes available to the public information on the environmental impact and performance of the organisation. Companies that qualify are included in the EMAS Register, an online database which lists all EMAS registered organizations and sites.
The certifications came as result of a longstanding and successful implementation of the Bank’s Environmental Management System, which started in 2003 with the adoption by the Board of Directors of the "Policy of Environmental Management" and matured through the implementation of the European co-funded project "GREENBanking4Life" (2006-2009) that laid the foundations of the EMS.
The Environment Unit that operates under the Corporate Social Responsibility Sector is responsible for monitoring and managing the Bank’s environmental footprint. To ensure a better implementation of the EMS, a specially trained employee has been appointed to every single branch and administration building. Third party verification from independent auditors warrants credibility of all information that is made public and concerns the environmental performance of Piraeus Bank.
Mr. Vrasidas Zavras, General Manager stated "The reduction of our environmental footprint also translates to a reduction of our operational costs. We save annually €1 million in running costs thanks to our environmental management actions".
On a last note, Mrs. Sophia Staikou, Chairwoman of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation and Head of CSR in Piraeus Bank remarked, "Our voluntary choice to register with EMAS implies a continuous commitment on our behalf to constantly improve our environmental performance. This is part of a concerted global effort to reach a sustainable economy and create a better world to live in."
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