For the past few months, the Commission has been working with the Member States to integrate the latest ISO 14001 revisions into the EMAS Regulation. I am pleased to tell you that this process is now complete, and that the updated EMAS annexes are available.
As expected, EMAS-registered organisations only need to make a small number of changes. The transition period to integrate the new requirements runs until 14 September 2018, and you can draw on support from your Competent Body during this period. If you want to learn more about changes and impacts affecting your organisation, I advise you to have a look at article published on the EMAS website and the EMAS Helpdesk factsheet The Revised Annexes of the EMAS Regulation.
The new annexes make it easier than ever to step up from ISO 14001 to EMAS. Organisations willing to demonstrate the highest level of transparency, continuous improvement and employee involvement can opt for EMAS to improve their stakeholder relationships and join the great network that we know.
At the end of June, the Commission published the results of the EMAS Fitness Check. The Fitness Check was designed to evaluate the EMAS Regulation’s implementation and to assess its effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and added value for the European Union. It identified a number of potential improvements that should increase the scheme’s added value and benefits delivered to registered organisations and authorities. To this end, we aim to provide greater regulatory relief for EMAS-registered organisations to lower their administrative burden, replicate successful measures implemented by Member States with high EMAS registration numbers, improve scheme promotion and better integrate EMAS into the Green Action Plan for SMEs. Exciting challenges ahead!
The Fitness Check also underlined the importance of close cooperation between the Commission and the Member States to more effectively implement and integrate EMAS. The Commission will now be seeking confirmation from the Member States that they are committed to continuing the scheme and implementing the proposed measures.
One other discovery was the untapped potential of EMAS as a tool for promoting the circular economy. In this context, I am happy to inform you about an upcoming EMAS Helpdesk publication on how to use EMAS in a circular economy strategy. This report will present best practices and case studies using the experience of the 2017 EMAS Award winners. This publication will be available on the EMAS website soon.
As you can see, EMAS continues to improve, constantly striving to achieve maximum possible efficiency. If your company or organisation enjoys its multiple benefits, don't keep it to yourself. We need you to spread the word!
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries