Climate change adaptation 

The consequences of climate change are increasingly being felt in Europe and worldwide. In particular, the magnitude of extreme weather events has increased, with more frequent heat waves, forest fires and droughts, heavier precipitation and an increased risk of flooding and erosion. Despite ongoing attempts to limit the extent of climate change through mitigation efforts, the impacts of climate change are expected to grow more severe in the coming decades. Adaptation measures are therefore necessary to deal with the unavoidable impacts.

The role of standardization

In 2013 the European Commission adopted an EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change (COM(2013) 216 final) in which invites also 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 securing the climate resilience.

In 2014 CEN and CENELEC established the Adaptation to Climate Change Coordination Group (ACC-CG) to coordinate standardization activities and to foster collaboration in standardization work in the field of adaptation to climate change. ACC CG is also responsible for coordinating the delivery the European Commission standardization request in support of the EU strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change (M/526).

The ACC-CG is currently focusing on building and maintaining a more climate resilient infrastructure throughout the EU in the three priority sectors identified in the EU Strategy: transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure and buildings / construction. Climate change resilience in these sectors could be improved by the revision of existing standards or development of new standards, specifications or guidance.

Read about the importance of adapting Technical Standard to climate change impacts (pdf format).

You can find more information on the European efforts to adapt climate change on the website of the European Commission's Climate Action Directorate General.

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

Download the 'Terms of Reference' of ACC-CG (pdf format)


The next ACC-CG plenary meeting will take place on 13 February 2019 at the CEN and CENELEC Meeting Centre in Brussels. (Note: due to the expected general strikes in Belgium on that day, the attendance via the web will also be possible).


Three workshops were organized to have an exchange with the experts from the specific sectors on the related climate challenges are the standardization needs necessary to adapt to the unavoidable impacts:

The associated ICT is also considered for all sectors.

Identifying the relevant standards

A long list of standards was developed as an outcome of a questionnaire sent to Technical Committees, the sectorial workshops and a series of interviews with experts and stakeholders. The Technical Committees are asked to check the relevance of the list and apply the established prioritization criteria. The exercise resulted in a priority list of standards that contain a 13 standards for the three priority sectors.

Development of standards to improve the resilience

As from 2017 the focus has been on the revision and development of the identified standards aiming to improve the resilience of European infrastructure in the priority sectors to the adverse effects of climate change. These revised and new priority standards will represent best practice examples on how to address climate change adaptation aspects in standards.

The work will also cover the development of a tailored guidance for the Technical Committees. The guidance will provide information on the availability and use of climate data, including recommendations for dealing with uncertainty, as well as approaches for vulnerability assessment and adaptation based on the best practices and experience gained during the project.

CEN-CENELEC Guide 32 'Guide for addressing climate change adaptation in standards'

CEN and CENELEC have developed and published a 'Guide for addressing climate change adaptation in standards'. This new Guide is intended to help standard writers address 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.

On 20 October 2016 a webinar was organized to explain standard writers the importance of the use of the CEN CENELEC Guide 32 addressing climate change adaptation in standards. The invited speakers were the convenor of the project team in charge of the development of the guide and the European Commission DG Climate Action representative.

The webinar helped participants understanding why it is important to address climate change adaptation in European standardization. You can read the presentation that guides you through all sections of the guide, explaining how to apply it systematically during the development and revision of standards in your sector.

CEN and CENELEC contact person: Andrea Nam

News and events

NEW - CEN Workshop proposal on Recommendations for making Climate Adaptation Plans for marine capture fisheries, marine aquaculture and freshwater lake and pond production” (ClimeFish)

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