CERN awarded environmental label

Several hundred bee orchids (Ophrys apifera) flower every year at CERN (Image: CERN)

Geneva, 25 June 2009. On 9 June, CERN1 was awarded the "Nature & Economie" label by the Swiss Foundation of the same name, in recognition of its land management on the Meyrin site. The label is awarded to organisations that contribute to biological diversity, and at least 30% of the green areas around buildings have to be managed naturally.

CERN's Meyrin facilities are surrounded by 31 hectares of green areas amounting to some 38% of the 80 hectares of the site. These areas notably include natural flowerbeds where rare plant species have developed over a number of years. Between 1000 and 3000 plants of nineteen different species of orchid flower in these areas every year, in particular several hundred of the rare and protected species « Ophrys Apifera », the bee orchid.

In addition to the main Meyrin site, which straddles the French-Swiss border close to Geneva, CERN has several other laboratories, primarily in the Pays de Gex district of France, including the Prévessin-Moëns site (in the Department of Ain). In total, CERN sites cover over 200 hectares.

CERN gives priority to the natural management of green areas and avoids the use of pesticides. Its sites also include several sheep pastures. The sheep contribute to the upkeep of the grounds and at the same time bring a rural touch to the immediate vicinity of the industrial buildings.

As it pursues its goals of basic research, development of new technologies, education and international cooperation, CERN keeps the environment very much in mind in its building projects. A new physicists building currently under construction will, for example, have a green roof. A campaign to re-plant indigenous tree species on the site is also planned for next year.

In addition, CERN has an impressive fleet of some 500 bicycles, which it lends to visitors free of charge. This is one of the largest fleets of its kind in Switzerland.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Israel is an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

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