Climate change adaptation 

The consequences of climate change are increasingly being felt. In particular, Europe faces more extreme weather events: heat waves, forest fires and droughts, heavier precipitation and an increased risk of flooding and erosion. Despite mitigation efforts, the impacts of climate change will further grow in the coming decades. Adaptation measures are therefore necessary to deal with the unavoidable impacts.

The role of standardization

The EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change (COM(2013) 216 final) invites European Standardization Organizations to contribute to the European efforts aiming to make Europe more climate-resilient. The strategy highlights the key role of standards in strengthening climate resilience. As part of the European Green Deal, the European Commission aims to put forward a new Adaptation Strategy in early 2021.
 One of the priority areas in the EU Strategy is the resilience of key infrastructures to the changing climate. From this perspective, the EU standardization request in support of the EU strategy on  Adaptation to Climate Change (M/526) is directed at including climate change adaptation in standards for infrastructures in the most vulnerable sectors: construction, transport and energy. Background is the essential role standards play in establishing the design, building and maintenance of infrastructures.

CEN-CENELEC Coordination Group ‘Adaptation to Climate Change’ (ACC-CG)

The CEN-CENELEC Adaptation to Climate Change Coordination Group (ACC-CG) coordinates standardization activities and guides the implementation of the standardization request (mandate) on Adaptation to Climate Change (M/526). 
The ACC-CG is currently supporting TCs in revising a number of European infrastructure standards. In parallel, guidance tools have been developed which support standard writers in including climate change adaptation (CCA) in standards in a systematic way.
The ACC-CG focuses on the following activities:

  1. Revision or development of standards for infrastructures in vulnerable sectors
    10 CEN and CENELEC TCs are working on the revision or development of the selected priority standards. The selected standards relate to buildings, transport and energy infrastructures. These new and revised standards will represent best practice examples on how to address climate change adaptation in standards.

  2. Linking standards for infrastructures to future climatic conditions;
    Information on future climatic conditions is of critical importance in order to address CCA in standards. Knowledge in this field is developing fast, but it appears that this is often hard to interpret and use. The aim of this activity is to prepare a Technical Report (that may be converted later into a standard) that provides guidance for systematic use of the climate-related information.

  3. Scaling adaptation measures to the European level;
    Physical adaptation measures can be used to prevent or mitigate some of the adverse effects of climate change, such as the impacts of extreme weather events. This activity focuses on identifying where European standards can help the market uptake of the adaptation measures. Examples are permeable pavements, cool (reflective) materials, or nature-based solutions such as swales and green roofs.

  4. Addressing climate change adaptation in other standards for infrastructures;
    This activity is directed at infrastructural standards in other sectors that are vulnerable to climate change and are not yet part of the current set of standards in revision or development.

More detailed information of the activities of the ACC CG here.

Guidance to standard writers

CEN-CENELEC have prepared two guides aiming to support standard writers in taking up CCA in standards.

CEN-CENELEC Guide 32 provides guidance to a wide range of standard writers on addressing the consequences and implications of climate change. It includes a simple checklist to help establish whether climate change adaptation is relevant to a particular standardization activity and a decision tree to help identify which actions should be taken.

The tailored guidance document for inclusion of CCA in standards for infrastructures provides information on the availability and use of climate data, dealing with uncertainty, and approaches for vulnerability assessment, based on the best practices and experiences gained so far by the ACC CG. 

Reference list

Useful information on the European climate policies and initiatives:

CEN and CENELEC contact person: Andrea NAM

News and events

online workshop 5-6 October 2020
CEN and CENELEC are organising and online workshop on 5-6 October 2020 to bring together stakeholders involved in standards for the infrastructure sector (Construction, Energy, Transport, ICT) with experts on climate adaptation, climate change scientists and experts for management of climate risks. During the two-day workshop participants will discuss practical issues encountered in incorporating climate change consideration in standards and lessons learnt on what is needed in standardization to face the challenges of a changing climate. The strengths and weaknesses of existing climate change guidance in standardisation will be evaluated, as well as consideration of what future climate data is available or being developed, and how this can best be used in standards.

More information and registration at this link

News in 2017

Guides released in 2016 and 2017

Brochure 2016

News 2016


News released in 2015

European legislation and mandates

European Standards are developed in the context of European legislation and sometimes come in direct support to particular Directives or Regulations.
EU Legislation

CEN has developed European Standards covering a wide range of environmental issues supporting the implementation of the different European environmental legislation such as:
  • Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (Water Framework Directive);
  • Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community;
  • The Energy and Climate package;
  • Sustainable Consumption, Production and Industry Action Plan, COM(2008) 397 final of 16 July 2008;
  • Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (Air Quality Directive)
  • Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control)(Industrial Emissions Directive);
  • Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and the Council on National Emission Ceilings for certain pollutants (NEC Directive);
  • Directive 94/63/EC on the control of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service stations;
  • Directive 2006/21/EC on the management of waste from extractive industries and amending directive 2004/35/EC('extractive waste')

Standardization work carried out since 2007 under the European Commission standardization requests (Mandates) related to environment, which was accepted by CEN :
  • M/395 - development of standardised methods relating to the characterization of wastes from the extractive industries
  • M/401 - creation of a European standard on volumetric flow from stationary sources in the field of air emissions
  • M/424 - development or improvement of standards in support of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC)
  • M/431 - establishment of a programme of standards for assessing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in energy- intensive industries
  • M/478 - development of EU technical standards in the field of greenhouse gas emissions
  • M/503 - support of the implementation of the ambient air quality legislation
  • M/513 - automatic determination by measurement of the concentration of gaseous hydrogen chloride (HCl) in waste gases emitted by industrial installations into the air
  • M/514 - under Directive 2010/75/EU for a European standard method to determine fugitive and diffuse emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from certain industrial sources to the atmosphere
  • M/526 or C(2014) 3451 final - in support of implementation of the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change [COM(2013) 216 final]

Useful links and documents


  • WS 72 - Sustainable Value Creation in manufacturing networks - SustainValue
  • WS 74 - Glossary of Terms for Holistic Management of Brownfield Regeneration (GoT-HOMBRE)
  • WS 76 - Batch-based Calculation of Sustainability Impact for Captured White Fish Products - WhiteFish BCSI
  • WS 82 - Virus sensor system for monitoring rotavirus, norovirus and hepatitis A virus in various types of water intended for human use - AquaVir
  • WS TOP-REF - Methodology for Improving the Resource Efficiency of Energy Intensive Industrial Processes

Technical bodies and activities

CEN Environmental Technical Committees:
  • CEN/TC 223 - Soil improvers and growing media
  • CEN/TC 230 - Water analysis
  • CEN/TC 264 - Air quality
  • CEN/TC 292 - Characterization of waste
  • CEN/TC 308 - Characterization of sludges
  • CEN/TC 345 - Characterization of soils
  • CEN/TC 351 - Construction Products - Assessment of release of dangerous substances
  • CEN/TC 366 - Materials obtained from end-of-Life Tyres (ELT)
  • CEN/TC 406 - Project Committee - Mechanical Products - Ecodesign Methodology
  • CEN/TC 444 - Test methods for environmental characterization of solid matrices

Related committees;

Useful links and documents

Sector Forum

A Sector Forum is a platform aiming at facilitating the exchange of information between the different stakeholders, coordinating and identifying the standardization needs in a specific field of CEN work.
CEN Strategic Advisory Body on Environment (SABE)
SABE acts as a platform where the sectors and major stakeholders address environmental topics.
Its mission is to:
  • strengthen its relationship with CEN/BT, and the wider CEN community, in order to better provide it with strategic advice on environmental matters;
  • develop mechanisms for identifying future relevant topics that are significant and of a nature that allows SABE and its teams to actually address them;
  • stimulate SABE members to become active, especially those that do not regularly attend SABE meetings;
  • inform the wider community of the activities of SABE and its teams in order to demonstrate how environmental progress can be made through the use of standards and promote standardization within the Environmental Policy framework.

Download the revised 2011 SABE strategy (pdf format), 2014 edition

Learn more about SABE organization