stakeholders EMAS – Environment - European Commission
Environment

FAQs

Welcome to our FAQ section! Here you will find the answers to many of your questions.

Should you not find your answer here, please contact your Competent Body or the EMAS Helpdesk at emashelpdesk@adelphi.de

For the purposes of this FAQ:

EMAS Regulation refers to the Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the voluntary participation by organisation in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS), repealing Regulation (EC) 761/2001 and Commission Decisions 2001/681/EC and 2006/193/EC.

(Official Journal of the European Communities L 342 of 22 December 2009)

Date of entry into force of latest revision of EMAS (so called “EMAS III”): 11 January 2010

Introduction to EMAS

What is EMAS?

What is the history of EMAS?

Where can I find the latest EMAS Regulation?

How does EMAS fit into the wider sustainable development approach of the European Union?

Where can I find EMAS statistics?

Where can I find information on EMAS registered organisations of a specific sector?

Benefits and Costs of EMAS Registration

Why should my organisation participate in EMAS?

What are the benefits of EMAS?

What are the benefits of EMAS for small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?

Does EMAS distinguish between organisations making more/less improvement to their environmental performance?

What are the costs of EMAS?

Participation in EMAS

Which organisations can participate in EMAS?

What is the geographical scope of EMAS?

What is the definition of an ‘organisation’?

What is the definition of ‘small organisations’?

What is the difference between a site and an organisation?

Transition from a non-formal environmental management system to EMAS

Why should my organisation move from another Environmental Management System to EMAS?

Can non-formal Environmental Management Systems or parts thereof be recognized as complying with corresponding requirements of EMAS?

Registration Procedure

What are the different steps to implementing EMAS?

How must an organisation show legal compliance?

Are there any penalties for non-compliance with EMAS?

Who can take advantage of the single corporate registration?

What are the NACE codes?

Audit Cycles

What are the revised audit cycles for small organisations?

Is a site visit obligatory as part of the renewal of EMAS registration in intervening years?

EMAS Reporting

Which information needs to be included in the environmental statement?

What are environmental core indicators?

How can the environmental statement be linked with a sustainability report?

EMAS Logo

What are the conditions for using the EMAS logo?

Are there any penalties for the misuse of the EMAS logo?

Support for EMAS

What are the EMAS sectoral reference documents?

What is the role of EU Member States and the European Commission in order to support EMAS?

Whom should my organisation contact if we want to register to EMAS?

What is the EMAS Helpdesk?

What are the funding possibilities for the implementation of EMAS?

Questions related to EN ISO 14001

What is EN ISO 14001?

Is EMAS compatible with the international standard EN ISO 14001?

What are the differences between ISO 14001 and EMAS?

EMAS in Local Authorities

How does the public sector fit into the EMAS approach?

Is the European Commission EMAS registered?

Where can I find a list of EMAS-registered organisations in the public sector?

Is there a list available of consultants that have helped a public organisation registering with EMAS?

Do you know of any public administration in the process of implementing EMAS?

Is it possible for a local authority to register on a departmental basis?

I am looking for municipalities to join us in an EMAS project

What is the relationship between EMAS and green public procurement?

Introduction to EMAS

What is EMAS?

The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, EMAS, is a voluntary environmental management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. EMAS promotes continuous evaluation and improvements in the environmental performance of participating organisations. The scheme has been operative since April 1995. The latest revision came into effect on 11 January 2010. The new elements of the scheme led to the enhanced performance, credibility and transparency of registered organisations and opened the scheme for organisations in non-EU countries.

Check out our section EMAS for You to learn more about the benefits of EMAS, the achievements of registered organisations, or to find out the latest news and events around EMAS

Check out our section on Join EMAS if you are interested in becoming EMAS registered and finding out about the process

What is the history of EMAS?

The EMAS Regulation 1836/93 was first introduced in July 1993 as an environmental policy tool devised by the European Commission, in a step towards the Community’s goal of sustainable development. The EMAS scheme was open for voluntary participation by organisations from April 1995, and its scope restricted participation to sites operating industrial activities.

In 1996, the international environmental management system standard, EN ISO 14001:1996 was recognised as a step towards achieving EMAS.

In 2001 a revised Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 (EMAS II) was adopted.

In 2009 the EMAS Regulation was revised and modified for the second time. Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 (“EMAS REGULATION”) was published on 22 December 2009. The revised EMAS Regulation came into effect on 11 January 2010.

For more information on the history of EMAS and for a summary of the main changes introduced with each revision, please visit the policy section.

Where can I find the latest EMAS Regulation?

You can find a link to download the new Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 (EMAS) in all Community languages on the policy page.

The EMAS Regulation is also directly accessible on the official European Union Law pages: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32009R1221 

How does EMAS fit into the wider sustainable development approach of the European Union?

EMAS and additional tools such as the EU Ecolabel or Green Public Procurement (GPP) complement a range of EU and national policies that are aimed at improving sustainable consumption and production. However, EMAS neither replaces existing Community or national environmental legislation or technical standards nor does it, in any way, remove an organisation’s responsibility to fulfil all its legal obligations under such legislation or standards.

The overall objective of the European Community, as defined by the Maastricht Treaty, is in particular to promote “[…] a harmonious and balanced development of economic activities, sustainable and non-inflationary growth respecting the environment, […] the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States” (Article 2).

The goal of sustainable development, which is reinforced by the European Union’s renewed Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS), calls for the use of a wider range of environmental policy tools. In 2008, the European Commission presented the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP) Action Plan, which is an integral part of the EU SDS. The SCP/SIP Action Plan includes a set of proposals and tools on sustainable consumption and production. The aim of these proposals and tools is to improve the environmental performance of products and/or organisations and to increase the demand for more sustainable goods and production technologies. EMAS is among the powerful tools designed to promote resource-efficient and leaner production.

Where can I find EMAS statistics?

On the page of the here.

The Helpdesk also produces official statistics for EMAS on a biannual basis. You can find them on the ‘statistics and graphs’ section of the EMAS website.

When choosing queries in the EMAS register, the different results of your search queries can be easily downloaded to Excel sheets by clicking on the "Extract Excel" button at the top of your search results. You may use this data in any form you like, such as in your own documents. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

You also can download the full EMAS table by leaving all fields empty in the base search. This method enables you to use all Excel functions to sort the data and to calculate the different numbers and statistics for which you are looking.

Where can I find information on EMAS registered organisations of a specific sector?

When you are searching for a specific sector in the register, you need to follow these steps:

  • Go to the Online Register page
  • Click on "Show advanced search criteria"
  • Click on "Site", under this criteria you will find the NACE codes of activities
  • Click on the NACE code you are interested in, then click search and you will get a list of all the companies registered under the NACE code you looked for
  • To download the results to an Excel sheet, click on the "Extract Excel" button
  • For a full list of NACE codes, please consult the following document: REGULATION (EC) No 1893/2006 establishing the statistical classification of economic activities.

Benefits and Costs of EMAS Registration

Why should my organisation participate in EMAS?

Interest from stakeholders in organisations’ environmental performance is continually increasing. It is no longer possible for organisations to operate without taking into account the environmental consequences of their actions. Organisations with a proactive approach to environmental challenges want to improve their (environmental) performance continuously. EMAS is the perfect tool to achieve this.

Check out the Achievements & best practices to find out about some of the accomplishments of EMAS registered organisations.

What are the benefits of EMAS?

The benefits of EMAS are manifold. To find out more, check out our benefits pages: Premium Benefits through EMAS.

Furthermore, a 2009 study from the European Commission, the ‘Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations’, analyses the costs and benefits of EMAS registrations. Convincing evidence was found for a number of benefits arising from EMAS registration, including reduced costs for resources and waste management, risk minimisation, regulatory compliance, regulatory relief, improved relations with internal and external stakeholders, and achieving competitive advantage Check out the study here..

A factsheet is also available outlining the benefits of EMAS.

What are the benefits of EMAS for small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?

Generally, SMEs and micro enterprises can realise many of the same benefits that larger organisations gain from EMAS registration. The European Commission ‘Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations’ identified energy and resource savings as important benefits, since most environmental impacts also have financial implications, as they represent inefficient use of substances.

SMEs can also make use of a number of support mechanisms when opting to become EMAS registered:

  • EMAS Easy: is a method for implementing EMAS that takes into account the size, financial capacity and organisational culture of small businesses. Find out more and download the EMAS Easy brochure.
  • SME Toolkit: provides a guide to registering with EMAS tailored to SMEs. Find out more. Note: new user guidance and information will become available at the end of 2016!

Check out our section dedicated to SMEs for further information.

Does EMAS distinguish between organisations making more/less improvement to their environmental performance?

EMAS’ objective is to continuously improve the environmental performance of registered organisations by having them commit to continuous performance improvements and to evaluating and reducing their environmental impact. Independent environmental verifiers verify organisations’ improvement of their environmental performance. After the validated environmental statement is sent to the Competent Body it has to be made publicly available. Only then the organisation is listed in the EMAS Register and has the right to use the EMAS logo.

Additionally, since 2005, the European Commission organises the European EMAS Awards, which normally take place on a biannual basis.  The Awards are handed out to companies and public organisations that excel in their environmental performance. Check out further information on the European EMAS Awards.

What are the costs of EMAS?

Several variables, including the size (micro, small, medium and large) and type (public or private) of organisations or the region in which they are registered, influence the costs of implementing EMAS. The following three categories of costs can be distinguished:

  1. Internal fixed costs: these are assumed to be unrelated to staff numbers and entail
    • Validation and verification fees
    • Registration fees
    • Fixed costs of adding EMAS logo to stationary and producing publicity material
  2. Internal variable costs: relate to the internal resources required to implement the scheme and are affected by organisation size, number of employees and other variables
  3. External costs: are incurred by employing external expertise – such as a consultant - to support EMAS implementation and reporting.

In-depth information on benefits and costs is available in the ‘Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations’ here.

Participation in EMAS

Which organisations can participate in EMAS?

Participation in the scheme is open to organisations operating in all economic sectors (see FAQ on the definition of ‘organisations’ for additional information). EMAS identifies different types of economic activity areas by using the ‘Statistical Classification of Economic Activity (NACE) Codes’ (see FAQ on ‘NACE codes’ for additional information).

What is the geographical scope of EMAS?

The EMAS Regulation applies to all 27 EU Member States, the three European Economic Area Member States (i.e. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and European Union Accession Countries.

With the latest revision of EMAS in 2010 “EMAS Global” was added, meaning that the scheme is also open to non-European organisations and European organisations operating in third countries (Articles 1 and 11 of EMAS Regulation).

National Competent Bodies are responsible for the registration of EMAS organisations and can also opt to offer the registration of organisations located outside the Community. For more information on EMAS Global and for a list of Member States offering this type of registration, please visit the page here.

The EMAS Helpdesk has also prepared a factsheet on EMAS Global', that summarises the key provisions and requirements.

What is the definition of an "organisation"?

According to Article 2(21) of EMAS, ‘organisation’ means a company, corporation, firm, enterprise, authority or institution located inside or outside the Community, or part or combination thereof, whether incorporated or not, public or private, which has its own functions and administration.

What is the definition of "small organisations"?

According to Article 2(28) of EMAS "small organisations" means:

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (mainly companies with fewer than 250 employees) as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; or

Local authorities governing fewer than 10 000 inhabitants or other public authorities employing fewer than 250 persons and having an annual budget not exceeding EUR 50 million, or an annual balance sheet not exceeding EUR 43 million, including all of the following:

(i) government or other public administrations, or public advisory bodies at national, regional or local level;

(ii) natural or legal persons performing public administrative functions under national law, including specific duties, activities or services in relation to the environment; and

(iii) natural or legal persons having public responsibilities or functions, or providing public services, relating to the environment under the control of a body or person referred to in point (b).

What is the difference between a site and an organisation?

In most cases, a site is best understood as a production facility of an organisation, respectively, company. Hence, one organisation can have more than one site that is EMAS registered.

Following the official definition, ‘site’ shall mean, according to Article 2(22) of EMAS, a distinct geographical location under the management control of an organisation covering activities, products and services, including all infrastructure, equipment and materials; a site is the smallest entity to be considered for registration.

Transition from a non-formal environmental management system to EMAS

Why should my organisation move from another Environmental Management System to EMAS?

The number of non-formal Environmental Management System is increasing all over the EU, as they have been designed to cover specific needs coming from specific areas or specific sectors of activity. Though each Environmental Management System represents a worthy step towards improved environmental performance, committed organisations can come to a point where they face the system’s limits.. EMAS is a standard recognised worldwide and since its latest revision it can also be applied to organisations with sites outside the EU, under EMAS Global. It is the premium benchmark for environmental management, and significantly enhances the performance, credibility and transparency of registered organisations.

To find out what makes EMAS unique, visit our section on the Premium Benefits through EMAS. You may also be interested to find out about the successes that registered organisations have had with the help of EMAS: check out the Achievements & best practices.

Can non-formal Environmental Management Systems or parts thereof be recognised as complying with corresponding requirements of EMAS?

Yes, this is possible. Based on Article 45 of the EMAS Regulation, existing Environmental Management Systems or parts thereof can be recognised as complying with corresponding requirements of EMAS. This recognition is valuable for organisations seeking to register with EMAS: they can become EMAS registered by using the previous work they have carried out to fulfil part of the criteria required for EMAS.

In 2009, the European Commission launched a study outlining a step-by-step approach to upgrading from selected non-formal EMS and ISO 14001 to EMAS. Find it here.

Competent Bodies can submit requests to haven national and regional labels in their country recognised under Article 45 of EMAS Regulation. To find out if your regional label is already recognised, please contact your national Competent Body.

You can find all relevant information on EMAS & Regional Labels here.

Registration Procedure

Where can I find information on the different steps to implementing EMAS?

Our section on “how does it work?” will answer all you initial questions. Please also check out the other pages in our section on how to Join EMAS to find out more specific information. Should you require further information, we invited you to get in touch with your relevant Competent Body .

How must an organisation show legal compliance?

According to Art. 4 (4) of EMAS Regulation, national Competent Bodies are responsible for suspending or deleting non-compliant organisations from the EMAS register.

Are there any penalties for non-compliance with EMAS?

Yes, there are penalties for non-compliance. Since EMAS is based on a Regulation, Member States are responsible for taking appropriate legal or administrative measures to resolve accidental non-compliance situations as quickly as possible. The main sanctioning instrument in the case of (ongoing) non-compliance with the Regulation is suspension or deletion from the EMAS register.

Who can use the advantages of a single corporate registration?

According to Article 3(2) of EMAS, organisations with sites located in more than one Member State may apply for one single corporate registration of all or some of those sites. Application for a single corporate registration will be made to a Competent Body of the EU Member State where the organisation’s headquarters or management centre is located. Find out more on our page on EMAS Global or in the EMAS Global Factsheet.

What are the NACE codes?

NACE stands for ‘Nomenclature générale des activités économiques dans les Communautés Européennes’, which is the standard for classification of economic activities in the EU. The latest NACE codes (Revision 2) are based on the Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, establishing the statistical classification of economic activities.

For EMAS, the NACE codes are used to classify the registered organisations and the accredited environmental verifiers. The agreement was made that the Competent Body who registers the site and forwards the information to the EMAS Helpdesk should collect NACE information with a minimum of one decimal after the point. Competent Bodies may compile more detailed NACE information (see the complete NACE code list).

Audit Cycles

What are the revised audit cycles for small organisations?

With the introduction of the latest revision of EMAS in 2010, environmental audits, covering all activities at the organisation concerned, must be conducted within an audit cycle of no longer than three years. However, for small organisations (see FAQ on ‘small organisations’ for a definition) EMAS offers derogations (Art. 7 of EMAS Regulation).

Visit our section on small organisations to find out more.

Is a site visit obligatory as part of the renewal of EMAS registration in intervening years?

Yes. The provisions for site visits as part of the renewal of the EMAS registration can be found in Art. 25(4) in conjunction with Art. 6(2) and Art. 18(7) (all in EMAS Regulation). According to Art. 25(4), site visits are obligatory in intervening years. Derogations apply to small organisations according to Art. 7, and Art. 7(3) in particular.

EMAS Reporting

Which information needs to be included in the environmental statement?

The EMAS Helpdesk can provide an outline of the key elements. For more detailed information, we invite you to consult the EMAS Regulation.

The environmental statement entails, according to Annex IV of the EMAS Regulation, the following information:

  • a clear and unambiguous description of the organisation registering under EMAS and a summary of its activities, products and services and its relationship to any parent organisations as appropriate;
  • the environmental policy (objectives) and a brief description of the environmental management system of the organisation;
  • a description of all the significant direct and indirect environmental aspects which result in significant environmental impacts of the organisation and an explanation of the nature of the impacts as related to these aspects;
  • a description of the environmental objectives and targets in relation to the significant environmental aspects and impacts;
  • a summary of the data available on the performance of the organisation against its environmental objectives and targets with respect to its significant environmental impacts. Reporting shall be on the
  • core indicators and on other relevant existing environmental performance indicators as set out in the EMAS Regulation (Section C);
  • other factors regarding environmental performance including performance against legal provisions with respect to their significant environmental impacts;
  • a reference to the applicable legal requirements relating to the environment; and
  • the name and accreditation or licence number of the environmental verifier and the date of validation.
  • The updated environmental statement shall contain at least the elements and shall meet the minimum requirements as set out in points (e) to (h).

What are environmental core indicators?

Environmental core indicators are introduced for a more harmonised and thorough consideration of direct environmental aspects. In the environmental statement organisations need to report on core indicators insofar as these relate to the direct environmental aspects of the organisation (Annex IV of EMAS). Direct environmental aspects are environmental aspects associated with activities, products and services of the organisation itself over which it has direct management control. The core indicators focus on performance in the following key environmental areas:

  • Energy efficiency: total direct energy use, including renewable energy use;
  • Material efficiency: annual mass-flow of different materials used;
  • Water: total annual water consumption;
  • Waste: total annual generation of (hazardous) waste;
  • Biodiversity: use of land; and
  • Emissions: total annual emission of greenhouse gases and total annual air emission.

An organisation may decide not to report on a specific core indicator where it concludes that one or more indicators are not relevant to its significant direct environmental aspects. The organisation must then provide justifications with reference to its environmental review.

How can the environmental statement be linked with a sustainability report?

The environmental statement can be linked with a sustainability report in three different ways:

1.  The environmental statement or parts of it can be reproduced in the sustainability report even while the rest of the information in the sustainability report is not part of the environmental statement and is therefore not validated. In that case it is important to make a clear distinction between the part of the report which has been validated by an independent environmental verifier and the rest of the sustainability report, which has not been audited at all. This could be done for example by applying the EMAS logo on the validated page (the environmental statement) and adding a sentence in introduction explaining that only the pages wearing the EMAS logos are part of the validated statement.

2.  The environmental statement or parts of it can be reproduced in the sustainability report while the rest of the sustainability report is audited in conformance with the AA1000 Assurance Standard or another standard, for example the German IDW PS 821. This way the entire sustainability report is audited, as is increasingly the practice among large organisations. In that case also the environmental statement should be clearly identified as part of the sustainability report. Please note that the audit of the sustainability report does not preclude validation of the Environmental Statement in the context of EMAS.

3.  The EMAS registration is mentioned in the report and the validated environmental statement provides the background to the sustainability report but is not a part of the report itself.

Please note that Member States may have their own additional specific requirements for linking the environmental statement with a sustainability report. For further information please consult your Competent Body. You can access the contact details of your Competent Body here .

EMAS Logo

What are the conditions for using the EMAS logo?

The EMAS logo is an appealing communication and marketing tool for organisations which raises buyers’ and other stakeholders’ awareness of EMAS. Registered organisations should always use the logo with their own registration number. This tailored logo can be created with the help of the Logo Generator.

Find out all relevant information about the EMAS logo, the conditions for using it, and a link to download the Logo Generator here.

Are there any penalties for the misuse of the EMAS logo?

Yes, there are penalties for the misuse of the logo. Provisions with regard to non-compliance are laid out in Art. 40 of EMAS Regulation. Member States shall take appropriate legal or administrative measures in the case of non-compliance with the EMAS Regulation.

Provisions put in place by Member States against the use of the EMAS logo may refer to Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market.

Support for EMAS

What are the EMAS sectoral reference documents?

What are the EMAS sectoral reference documents?

The European Commission is developing EMAS Sectoral Reference Documents (in consultation with Member States and other stakeholders) to support organisations in different sectors to improve their environmental performance and highlight the potential for environmental achievements. These documents describe best practices in the improvement of environmental performance (called Best Environmental Management Practices) based on the experience of the organisations within each sector that are most advanced in terms of environmental performance in each of many areas, such as energy efficiency, resource efficiency, emissions, but also supply chain management. These best practices can be of inspiration and guidance to other organisations in their efforts for continuous improvement of environmental performance.

Organisations need to take these documents into account when implementing EMAS and also make a clear record in their environmental statements as to how they have been utilised.

Please find all relevant information here.

What is the role of EU Member States and the European Commission in order to support EMAS?

EU Member States, in cooperation with Competent Bodies and other relevant stakeholders, promote EMAS (Art. 33 in conjunction with Art. 35 of EMAS). The European Commission fulfils similar obligations under Art. of EMAS Regulation.

You can find all relevant information about the roles of the different actors involved in our EMAS Governance section.

Whom should my organisation contact if we want to register with EMAS?

Every Member State has designated a Competent Body who is responsible for registering organisations and for maintaining the list of registered organisations in their country. The Competent Body can provide your organisation with useful information on the steps to implement EMAS and the administrative procedures and fees involved.

You can access the contact details of your Competent Body here.

What is the EMAS Helpdesk?

The EMAS Helpdesk offers support on EMAS at EU level. It is operated by adelphi in cooperation with Arctik and 21 Solutions on behalf of the European Commission, Environment DG.

Find out more about the role and responsibilities of the Helpdesk in our EMAS Governance section.

Get in touch with the Helpdesk here.

What are the funding opportunities for the implementation of EMAS?

Within the various EU Member States there are a number of ongoing schemes that give particular emphasis to supporting the participation of SMEs in EMAS. While the European Commission does not maintain a central register of these national programmes, we suggest that you contact the relevant EMAS Competent Body for further information.

Please see our page on Funding Opportunities for further information at EU Level.

Questions related to EN ISO 14001

What is EN ISO 14001?

ISO, the International Standards Organisation, has developed a series of standards and guidelines in the field of environment which collectively are known as the EN ISO 14000 series.

EN ISO 14001 is one of the most well-known and widely implemented environmental standards. It is used worldwide by large and small organisations and in both the public and private sectors. A revision of the standard took place in 2015. Information about the latest standard, ISO 14001:2015 can be found on the ISO website.

Is EMAS compatible with the international standard EN ISO 14001?

The ISO 14001 standard has been an integral part of EMAS since 2001, and in this way it has allowed many ISO-certified organisations to step up to EMAS through an uncomplicated process of transition.

Following the revision of ISO 14001 in 2015 an adaptation of the EMAS Regulation is foreseen for the end of 2016 in order to integrate the changes brought about with the revised ISO standard.

Find out more on the relationship between EMAS and ISO 14001 here.

You may also want to check out the European Commission study launched in 2009, outlining a step-by-step approach to upgrading from selected non-formal EMS and from ISO 14001 to EMAS. Find it here.

In the wake of the ISO 14001 Revision, the Helpdesk has also produced an infosheet which sketches the likely timeline for adjustments to the EMAS Regulation and identifies the few areas where significant changes will probably be necessary.

What are the differences between ISO 14001 and EMAS?

Please visit our page on EMAS & ISO14001 for a complete overview on the differences between EMAS and ISO 14001.

Following the enhancement of ISO 14001, EMAS still encompasses the following unique features:

  • high credibility, thanks to a track record of legal compliance, validated by Competent Bodies;
  • a commitment to continuous improvement in environmental performance;
  • transparency, thanks to compulsory communication through environmental statements;
  • employee participation and commitment

In 2009, the European Commission launched a study outlining a step-by-step approach to upgrading from selected non-formal EMS and from ISO 14001 to EMAS. Find it here.

EMAS in Local Authorities

How does the public sector fit into the EMAS approach?

Public authorities play an important role in promoting environmental consciousness and sustainable development. For instance, local authorities are key players in local economies, as they have many responsibilities: for schools, waste disposal, road maintenance, the fire service and many more. As the level of government closest to citizens, local authorities exert a significant influence on the environmental practices of the general public. Local authorities may set an example by improving their own environmental performance through energy savings. Influence can also be exerted through green public procurement. EMAS may be used by public sector purchasers wishing to promote a greener purchasing policy.

Where can I find a list of EMAS-registered organisations in the public sector?

A list of EMAS-registered organisations of the public administration sector can be found in the EU EMAS register. You can directly access the database of EMAS registered organisations and define any query you would like to use. For detailed instructions on this, please see the FAQ on EMAS statistics.

Is there a list available of consultants that have helped a public organisation registering with EMAS?

Unfortunately, the EMAS Helpdesk cannot provide you with such a list, but we would recommend you to contact other public sector organisations that have implemented the scheme. In addition, feel free to contact your national Competent Body who might be able to provide you with further information.

 

Do you know of any public administration in the process of implementing EMAS?

The EMAS Helpdesk cannot keep track of organisations that have started EMAS implementation. EMAS organisations are logged into our EU database only once they have been registered by their Competent Body and the latter has notified us of this new registration.

Competent Bodies in each Member State may be in a better position to help you because they regularly establish contact with organisations even before these organisations have finalised EMAS implementation.

Is it possible for a local authority to register on a departmental basis?

Registration on a departmental basis is possible under the following conditions:

  • the registered entity needs to have management control and influence over its environmental aspects;
  • commitment from the top level of the organisation is required;
  • use of the logo and communication to the public must be clear and unambiguous (stakeholders should recognise which part of the local authority is registered).

I am looking for municipalities to join us in an EMAS project

You are welcome to send a project description and a call for partners to the EMAS Helpdesk. We will publish it on this website together with your email address, so that interested organisations can contact you directly.

Is the European Commission EMAS registered?

On 7 September 2001, the European Commission adopted a Decision (C (2001)/2591) whereby it politically engaged in a process of applying the EMAS Regulation to its activities. The first phase of this Decision was a pilot project where EMAS was implemented by several key services. After its successful conclusion, the Commission has decided on 23 September 2009 to extend the implementation of the EMAS scheme to all its activities and buildings on its Brussels and Luxemburg sites. By adopting this Decision, the Commission aims towards a better environmental management of its resources

For more information on EMAS in the European Commission and in other European Institutions, please visit our dedicated page here.

What is the relationship between EMAS and green public procurement?

Green procurement in the public sector has a twofold role:

  • First, suppliers need to comply with the organisation's environmental policy because procurement policies and procedures are part of its indirect aspects. This is valid for any EMAS organisation.
  • Second, procurement policies play an important role in the promotion and proliferation of the scheme. Green public procurement helps to increase organisations' participation in the scheme by turning EMAS into a competitive advantage. And this is where public administrations should set an example.

Community law offers numerous possibilities for public purchasers who wish to integrate environmental considerations into public procurement procedures. The European Commission has published a guide, the ‘Buying Green! Handbook’, which contains best practice and guidance on green procurement.

The guide can be found http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/index_en.htm