Improve environmental performance with EMAS

Improve environmental performance with EMAS

What is EMAS?

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Developed by the European Commission, EMAS stands for eco-management and audit scheme, and is also known as the EU EMAS regulation (EC) No. 1221/2009. By definition, EMAS is a voluntary environmental management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. The regulation focuses on an environmental statement, which is certified by an environmental verifier.

The EMAS registers are organised on national basis and list all EMAS registered organisations and sites. Organisations must meet the requirements of the EU EMAS-Regulation to register with EMAS.


What is an environmental statement?

Companies use an environmental statement in order to disclose their environmental impacts and be transparent about their environmental management systems. This provides the opportunity to showcase their efforts in improving environmental performance, as well as the results they’ve achieved in this context.


How does the EMAS system work?

Organisations that wish to be involved set up procedures to assess and improve their environmental performance. If they are successful in adhering to the guidelines stated by EMAS regulation, they can be EMAS-registered.

The requirements include:

  • Legal compliance with all environmental legislation, checked by a verifier and approved by local public authorities
  • Continuous improvement of environmental performance
  • Verification of the performance by a specifically accredited environmental verifier
  • Publication of key environmental data in an annual report, the environment statement

The environmental statement is entered into the national EMAS-registers and is accessible by the public, therefore the scheme enhances the public profile of participating companies.

Companies with a validated EMAS system can enjoy a wide array of benefits, including various legal privileges at a national level which are exclusive to EMAS-registered organisations.


Why is environmental management important?

The EMAS verification is beneficial to companies for several reasons, as follows:

  • The environmental statement is an ideal and impartial medium for communicating environmental aspects and environmental performance to employees, interested parties and local residents.
  • It offers the possibility to provide relevant excerpts from the statement as validated information to specific target groups (including information about the environmental aspects of certain products or the realisation of particular areas of environmental performance).
  • EMAS focuses on actual compliance with legal and other regulatory requirements to a greater extent than the ISO 14001 standard. Companies participating in the scheme gain maximum certainty of legal compliance in the form of the environmental review, the environmental audit, and the verification activities of the environmental verifier. The latter explicitly validates regulatory compliance – and the involvement of the competent local licensing authorities in the registration process.
  • By disclosing objectives and their associated environmental performance, the EMAS scheme promotes the beneficial use of environmental performance indicators and fosters transparency in the measurement and evaluation of achieved improvement in a company’s environmental performance.
  • Special “EMAS light” programmes ensure EMAS is also suitable for small and medium-sized businesses.

With all this taken into account, these advantages ultimately increase employees’ motivation to participate in and support the management system. This in turn enhances the quality of company performance, and thus contributes to strengthening the company’s competitive standing.


The EMAS verification globally

Thanks to EMAS' Global mechanism, the system is also available worldwide, enabling multinational organisations to register their sites within, and outside of Europe.

Non-EU organisations wishing to apply to EMAS Global would need to do so via the competent body of an EU Member State that offers the service.


EMAS validation and ISO certification

EMAS validation is easy to combine with certification in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard and/or other standards, because the processes share similar structures. It’s worth noting that EMAS requirements exceed those of the ISO 14001 standard. Given this, EMAS represents a higher-level requirements profile in some respects, with a strong focus on regulatory compliance and on internal and external communication. EMAS registered companies have the added advantage of easily upgrading themselves to ISO 50001, the international standard for Energy Management Systems.   


TÜV SÜD’s services

TÜV SÜD's approved environmental expert will validate your organisation's environmental statement against set criteria at determined verification intervals. If the validation is successful, you can register with the relevant national competent body.

Our experts possess comprehensive knowledge on environmental policies and regulatory requirements. In addition, our auditors are required to follow a strict code of conduct that ensures complete independence.

For more information about EMAS, or to find out more about our sustainability services, please contact us today.

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