The Covenant of Mayors (CoM) was launched by the European Commission’s DG for Energy in 2008. The CoM is a European movement involving local and regional authorities voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources within their territories. By their commitment, Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union’s 20% CO2 reduction target by 2020.
The European Energy Award has been recognised as an 'excellent implementation tool' for the CoM's SEAP (Sustainable Energy Action Plan) since 2009. (see Letter of Recognition)
The Association European Energy Award AISBL is also a 'supporting structure' of the CoM.
The European Energy Award and the Covenant of Mayors are both aimed at the same goal, namely the continual optimisation of energy consumption at the municipal level. Both require:
- Strong, voluntary municipal commitment to sustainable energy policy
- Constitution of an internal Energy Team in the municipality
- Definition of an ambitious action plan
- Implementation of the action plan and tracking of the results
Comparisons have additionally shown that the eea measures correspond to the implementation sectors of a SEAP.
But there are also some differences:
- External advisors always support the eea process (CoM: no CoM advisors)
- Regular internal and external review of the process and results with the eea
- CoM requires for a mandatory CO2 balancing and the commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020 (eea: voluntary)
- The follow-up of indicators is mandatory for CoM (eea: voluntary)
The Association European Energy Award AISBL is currently in negotiations for further streamlining the reporting documents between CoM and eea to reduce the work load for municipalities committed to both systems.
> Benefits for municipalities that have signed the CoM and intend to implement the European Energy Award
- In-depthinitial energy review (baseline situation)andfour-yearly re-audits as well as annual internal performance reviews are already an integral part of the eea process.
- External advisors support municipalities in progressing towards their goals by providing relevant expertise, contributing an external perspective and facilitating the process.
- The national programmes usually provide a large variety of tools to assist the municipality, organize exchange of experiences and instruction courses.
- Regular audits permit international benchmarking. Each municipality knows exactly where it stands in comparison to others, and this generates a sense of pride and increases motivation.
- The majority of indicatorsrequired for a SEAP can be collected and tracked within the eea-Management-Tool.
- After each successful audit, municipalities receive an award, which rewards their commitment and provides an opportunity for regular, effective communication through a range of media.