The objective of EMAS, as an important instrument of the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan, is to promote continuous improvements in the environmental performance of organizations by the establishment and implementation of environmental management systems by organizations, the systematic, objective and periodic evaluation of the performance of such systems, the provision of information on environmental performance, an open dialogue with the public and other interested parties and the active involvement of employees in organizations and appropriate training (EMAS, 2009)The essential elements in implementing an environmental management system according to the EMAS Regulation are:
- establishing an environmental policy
- making an initial environmental review
- establishing an Environment and Environmental Management Systems
- conduct internal audits at the sites
- establishment of environmental objectives on the basis of audits
- establishment of an Environmental Statement
- examination by approved independent verifier
- validation by accredited independent verifier
- submission of a valid environmental statement to the authorities of the Member
- registration of the organizations in a list by the competent authority
- publication of list of registered organizations
- use of a statement of participation
EMAS is open to all types of organizations in the public and private sector which want to improve their environmental performance. It applies to all 27 Member States of the European Union, to the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), to the Candidate Countries for EU membership (Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey).The registration from organizations outside the Community, including corporate registration consisting only of sites located outside the Community, is according to the EMAS Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 of 25 November 2009 achievable. The Competent Bodies in the Member States are authorized for the registration of organizations from outside the Community in accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 11 "Member States may provide that the Competent Bodies they designate provide for and shall be responsible for the registration of organizations located outside the Community in accordance with this Regulation."The environmental management system requirements under EMAS are those laid down in Section 4 of the ISO 14001standard (see below for further description of the standard series 14000).There are a number of additional requirements of EMAS that are summarized in the following list (from EMAS, 2009):
- Environmental review
Organizations shall carry out an initial environmental review as set out in Annex I in order to identify and evaluate their environmental aspects and identify applicable legal requirements relating to the environment.Organizations outside the Community shall also make reference to the legal requirements relating to the environment applicable to similar Organizations in the Member States where they intend to submit an application.
- Legal compliance
Organizations wishing to register with EMAS shall be able to demonstrate that they:
- have identified, and know the implications to the organization of all applicable legal requirements relating to the environment, identified during the environmental review according to Annex I.
- provide for legal compliance with environmental legislation, including permits and permit limits; and
- have procedures in place that enable the organization to meet these requirements on an ongoing basis.
- Environmental performance
- Organizations shall be able to demonstrate that the management system and the audit procedures address the actual environmental performance of the organizations with respect to the direct and indirect aspects identified in the environmental review under Annex I.
- The environmental performance of the organizations against its objectives and targets shall be evaluated as part of the management review process. The organizations shall also commit itself to the continual improvement of its environmental performance. In doing so, the organizations may base its action on local, regional and national environmental programmes.
- The means to achieve the objectives and targets cannot be environmental objectives. If the organizations comprise one or more sites, each of the sites to which EMAS applies shall comply with all the requirements of EMAS including the continual improvement of environmental performance as defined in Article 2(2).
- Employee involvement
- The organizations should acknowledge that active employee involvement is a driving force and a prerequisite for continuous and successful environmental improvements as well as being a key resource in the improvement of environmental performance as well as the right method to anchor the environmental management and audit system in the organizations in a successful way.
- The term 'employee participation' includes both participation of, and information to the individual employee and his representatives. Therefore, there should be an employee participation scheme at all levels. The organizations should acknowledge that commitment, responsiveness and active support from the side of the management is a prerequisite for the success of those processes. In this context the necessity of feedback from the management to the employees must be stressed.
- In addition to the these requirements, employees shall be involved in the process aimed at continually improving the organization's environmental performance through:
- the initial environmental review, the analysis of the status quo and in collecting and verifying information,
- the establishment and implementation of an environmental management and audit system improving environmental performance,
- environmental committees to gather information and to ensure the participation of environmental officer/management representatives and employees and their representatives,
- joint working groups for the environmental action programme and environmental auditing,
- the elaboration of the environmental statements.
- Appropriate forms of participation such as the suggestion-book system or project-based group works or environmental committees should be used for this purpose. Organizations shall take note of Commission guidance on best practice in this field. Where they so request, any employee representatives shall also be involved.
- Organizations shall be able to demonstrate an open dialogue with the public and other interested parties including local communities and customers with regard to the environmental impact of their activities, products and services in order to identify the public's and other interested parties' concerns.
- Openness, transparency and periodic provision of environmental information are key factors in differentiating EMAS from other schemes. Those factors are also important for the organizations in building confidence with interested parties.
- EMAS provides flexibility to allow Organizations to target relevant information to specific audiences while ensuring that all information is available to those who require it.
The following documents and guidance are available on the EMAS web site.
- The Commission Regulation (EC) No 196/2006 of 3 February 2006 amends Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council taking account of the European Standard EN ISO 14001:2004.
- This Commission Decision allows the use of the EMAS logo (versions 1 and 2) on transport and tertiary packaging of EMAS registered Organizations. The Decision 2006/193/EC has been published on Official Journal L 70 of 9 March 2006
- Commission Recommendation (EC) No 2003/532/EC of 10 July 2003 gives guidance in the selection and use of environmental performance indicators in EMAS. Standard indicators enable benchmarking among Organizations attributed to the same sector. This decision was published in the Official Journal L 184 page 19 on 25 July 2003.
- Guidance on the EMAS environmental statement
- Guidance on entity suitable for registration to EMAS
- Guidance on employee participation within the framework of EMAS
- Guidance on verification, validation and audit frequency
- Guidance on the use of the EMAS logo
- Guidance on the identification of environmental aspects and assessment of their significance
- Guidance to verifiers on the verification of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) particularly small and micro-businesses
- Commission Recommendation on environmental performance indicators - Commission Recommendation (EC) No 2003/532/EC of 10 July 2003 gives guidance in the selection and use of environmental performance indicators in EMAS. Standard indicators enable benchmarking among Organizations attributed to the same sector. This decision was published in the Official Journal L 184 page 19 on 25 July 2003.
EMAS can be introduced easily in small and medium sized enterprises, even with few financial and human resources, or limited in-house expertise. Large and multi-site organizations can benefit from the standardization of EMAS in all sectors. To receive EMAS registration an organization must comply with the following steps:
- completing an environmental review taking into consideration all environmental aspects, its legal and regulatory framework and existing environmental management practices and procedures,
- establishing an effective environmental management system aimed at achieving the organization's environmental policy defined by the top management,
- carrying out an environmental audit assessing in particular the management system in place and conformity with the organization's policy and programme as well as compliance with relevant environmental regulatory requirements,
- provide a statement of its environmental performance which lays down the results achieved against the environmental objectives and the future steps to be undertaken in order to continuously improve the organization's environmental performance.
The environmental review, environmental management system, audit procedure and the environmental statement must be approved by an accredited EMAS verifier and the validated statement needs to be sent to the EMAS Competent Body for registration and made publicly available before an organization can use the EMAS logo.The following chart shows EMAS statistics from October 2009 according to evolution of organizations and sites of EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/index_en.htm).