Management systems are elements of a toolbox that enterprises may use to maintain and improve competitiveness and overall performance. Modern and competitive enterprises have systems in place to control, manage and improve e.g. efficiency in energy and resources use, product quality, etc.
An increasing number of enterprises use environmental management systems (EMS) to integrate the environmental dimension in their production methods and processes, and succeed the transition towards more sustainable production patterns.
Enterprises are encouraged to implement EMS, either conforming to national/regional certification criteria or complying with international standards (e.g. EN ISO 14001) and the Community Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).
The Community EMAS scheme
The EMAS scheme is aimed at encouraging continuous improvement in environmental performance of businesses and, more widely, any private and public organisation. It has been designed to provide the guarantee to external stakeholders and enforcement authorities that EMAS registered organisations comply with relevant environmental legislation and are committed to improve their environmental performance.
Enterprises and organisations, in general, can participate in EMAS provided that they develop an environmental policy, carry out an environmental review, implement an environmental management system, carry out an internal environmental audit and produce an environmental statement. When requested, EMAS registration is granted if the environmental statement is verified and validated by an independent environmental verifier.
EMAS registered organisations are asked to regularly report on their environmental performance, produce evidence that complies with applicable legal environmental requirements and publicise their environmental statement.