stakeholders EMAS – Environment - European Commission
Environment

FAQs

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

If you do 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, and known as EMAS III (Official Journal of the European Communities L 342 of 22 December 2009).

Annexes I, II and III of the EMAS Regulation were amended by the Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1505, which came into force on 18 September 2017. To provide easier access to the up-to-date EMAS requirements, the Commission has produced an informal consolidated version of the EMAS Regulation that includes the amended annexes. You can find this informal version here.

Introduction to EMAS

What is EMAS?

What is the history of EMAS?

Where can I find the latest EMAS Regulation?

What has changed with the amended Annexes?

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

What is the added value of EMAS over other instruments for environmental management?

EMAS in numbers

Where can I find EMAS statistics?

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

Where can I find data on the performance of EMAS organisations?

Benefits and Costs of EMAS Registration

Why should my organisation participate in EMAS?

What are the benefits of EMAS for organisations?

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

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 impact of Brexit for organisations located in UK?

What is the definition of an ‘organisation’?

What is the definition of ‘small organisations’?

What is the difference between a site and an organisation?

How can an organisation located in several countries register with EMAS?

How can an organisation with multiple sites register with EMAS?

Can organisations apply jointly to EMAS?

Registration Procedure

What are the minimum requirements of EMAS?

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

Are there any penalties for non-compliance with EMAS?

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 EMAS requirements?

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?

Audit Cycles

What are the audit cycles for small organisations?

What are the audit cycles for large organisations with multiple sites?

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

EMAS Reporting

What is the environmental statement?

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 is the role of EU Member States and the European Commission in supporting EMAS?

What are the EMAS sectoral reference documents?

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?

EMAS for public authorities

What are the benefits of EMAS for public authorities?

Why should a public authority register with EMAS?

Is the European Commission EMAS-registered?

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

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.

Organisations implement an Environmental Management System (EMS): they set up procedures to assess and improve their environmental performance. If they follow the demanding guidelines of the EMAS regulation, they can be EMAS-registered.

EMAS’ strict requirements include:

  • Legal compliance with all environmental legislation, checked by a verifier and a public authority
  • Continuous improvement of environmental performance
  • Verification of the performance by a specifically trained verifier
  • Publication of key environmental data in an annual report, the environment statement
  • The scheme has been operative since April 1995 and has been amended several times (see below).

    Check out our Join EMAS section or our presentation of EMAS for organisations if you are interested in becoming EMAS-registered or 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 as 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.

    In 2017, the revisions of the new ISO 14001:2015 standard were integrated into the annexes I to III of the EMAS Regulation. The Regulation itself (the articles) remained unchanged. Having the ISO 14001 requirements within EMAS makes it easy for ISO 14001-certified organisations to upgrade their environmental management system to EMAS.

    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 Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 (EMAS III) and the updated annexes in all Community languages on the policy page.

    The EMAS Helpdesk has also published a fact sheet that summarises the main changes that have been made to the annexes.

    What has changed with the amended Annexes?

    Since September 2017, organisations that apply for an EMAS registration have had to comply with the revised annexes. Organisations that are already EMAS-registered have been granted a transition period until 14 September 2018. If they had planned to renew their registration before 14 March 2018, they have been able to postpone their audit by 6 months, in agreement with the EMAS verifier and Competent Body. They could also choose to be audited according to the old annexes, and renew their registration according to the new annexes in September 2018.

    EMAS-registered organisations need to make only a few adaptations to comply with the new annexes. In addition to the current requirements of EMAS, organisations now have to:

  • Determine the organisational context of their environmental management system (EMS). This means that they should identify the internal and external factors that may impact their environmental strategy.
  • Identify interested parties (employees, shareholders, suppliers, etc.) and their relevant needs and expectations,
  • Consider a life-cycle perspective when assessing the significance of their environmental impacts,
  • Determine the risks and opportunities related to their EMS.
  • These issues need to be considered when the organisation performs its environmental review, that is, when it identifies its current environmental impacts and analyses its practices.

    If you are an EMAS registered organisation, you can consult this fact sheet to find out about the main changes included in the Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1505.

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

    EMAS and additional tools such as the EU Ecolabel and Green Public Procurement (GPP) complement a range of EU and national policies that are aimed at improving sustainable consumption and production.

    In 2008, the European Commission presented the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP) Action Plan, which aimed to improve the environmental performance of products and/or organisations and to increase the demand for more sustainable goods and production technologies. EMAS was identified as a powerful tool to promote resource-efficient and leaner production.

    EMAS-registered organisations commit to reduce their environmental impacts, from energy and water consumption to waste production. EMAS is therefore linked to many types of environmental policies:

  • Biodiversity
  • Energy efficiency
  • Hazardous substances
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Air and water pollution
  • Waste management
  • But also to wider policy areas, which aim to increase the sustainability of organisations:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Circular economy
  • Eco-design and eco-labelling
  • Green Public Procurement
  • Sustainable supply chains
  • Green finance
  • By promoting EMAS, the Commission intends to reach the targets of these policies as well.

    What is the added value of EMAS over other instruments for environmental management?

    EMAS has three major positive qualities: it ensures an organisation's performance, credibility and transparency. Compared to other instruments, EMAS includes strict criteria for the legal compliance of the organisation. 70% of verifiers and EMAS-registered organisations agree that EMAS is more effective than ISO 14001 in ensuring legal compliance (RAVE Study, 2017). It is also the most transparent tool, since organisations are required to publish an annual report on their performance. 72% of verifiers consider EMAS more effective than ISO 14001 in ensuring the trustworthiness and completeness of environmental reports and documentation (RAVE Study, 2017). In addition to these two features, EMAS’ superior quality rests upon:

  • Stricter requirements for the measurement and evaluation of environmental performance against objectives and targets, and for the continuous improvement of that environmental performance;
  • Strong employee involvement;
  • Registration by a public authority after verification by an accredited/licensed environmental verifier, specifically trained to EMAS.
  • This means that organisations, but also third parties (the general public, public authorities, etc.), have an interest in using or promoting EMAS.

    EMAS in numbers

    Where can I find EMAS statistics?

    On the page of the EMAS Register 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 you are looking for.

    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 criterion 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 (NACE Codes classify economic activities)
    • To download the results to an Excel sheet, click on the "Extract Excel" button
    • For a full list of NACE codes to identify which ones interest you, please consult the following document: REGULATION (EC) No 1893/2006 establishing the statistical classification of economic activities.

    Doing a search in the Register with one or several NACE codes enables you to know how many organisations are registered in a specific sector (e.g. tourism) and their names and locations. Please note that the Register may not always be up-to-date, depending on the updates performed by the Member States.

    Where can I find data on the performance of EMAS organisations?

    EMAS organisations annually publish information on their performance (key environmental indicators such as energy consumed, waste produced, CO2 emitted, etc., and actions implemented to reduce them) in their environmental statement. You can use the EU Register to look for the environmental statements of organisations here. If the environmental statement of an organisation is missing, we invite you to contact them directly.

    In addition, in 2015 the European Commission published a study evaluating the success of EMAS. It looked at trends in terms of EMAS registrations and performance of EMAS-registered organisations in reducing environmental impacts, and it analysed and consolidated the information of many environmental statements and surveys. Have a look at the figures obtained in the report.

    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 for organisations?

    The EMAS for organisations presentation offers a succinct overview of its advantages, from improved environmental performance to higher legal compliance. 69% of EMAS-registered organisations feel that EMAS helps them achieve legal compliance more easily and completely than ISO 14001 alone for instance.

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

    To find out more, check out our pages on: Premium Benefits through EMAS.

    What are the benefits of EMAS for small and 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: 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.
    • Implementation Tools: designed to help any organisation implement EMAS. The tools are easy to use and facilitate the collection and analysis of data. Find out more.

    Check out our section dedicated to SMEs for further information.

    What are the costs of EMAS?

    Several variables, including the size (micro, small, medium or large) and type (public or private) of organisations and 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 the EMAS logo to stationery 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’.

    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.

    What is the impact of Brexit for organisations located in the UK?

    The European Commission has published a notice on the consequences of Brexit in the field of EMAS, aimed at preparing citizens and stakeholders, for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

    Organisations in the UK wanting to join or stay in the EMAS network can apply to EMAS Global. More information on this procedure is available here. The EMAS Helpdesk can also be contacted at emashelpdesk@adelphi.de for any questions regarding the transition.

    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 or company. Hence, one organisation can have more than one site that is EMAS-registered.

    Following the official definition, ‘site’ means, 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.

    How can an organisation located in several countries register with EMAS?

    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.

    How can an organisation with multiple sites register with EMAS?

    Organisations with multiple sites can benefit from the multisite registration procedure. In the past, it was necessary for an organisation to have all its sites audited and verified every three years, which could be time-consuming and costly for large organisations. The multisite registration procedure was introduced in 2017 to alleviate this burden while maintaining the reliability of the scheme. Large organisations can now register all their sites at the same time and have them audited on a sample basis. Criteria to select the sample of sites are described in the EMAS User’s Guide. The EMAS Helpdesk has also prepared a fact sheet to summarise the process.

    By registering several of your sites at the same time, you can set up an ambitious environmental strategy for your organisation. You can maximise the benefits of EMAS by adopting clear measures at your different sites in order to improve their environmental performance and increase the credibility of your commitment to sustainability.

    Can organisations apply jointly to EMAS?

    Organisations interested in joining EMAS are encouraged to prepare their registration with other organisations. This enables them to engage in exchanges about difficulties and solutions and mutualise some costs - for example for a coach. Some regions and Member States support such projects. In Catalonia for example, the EMAS Club and the Municipality of Barcelona guided a group of SMEs to develop tools to implement EMAS and adapt them to their needs. Similarly, the Portuguese EMAS Competent Body has been collaborating with a university since 2006 to provide step-by-step support to SMEs in some sectors, and the Italian Competent Body recognises EMAS registration in “cluster” projects. Although each organisation is encouraged to register separately, the cluster itself, working together to implement EMAS, receives a certificate of recognition from the Competent Body.

    Contact your Competent Body to find out if you could benefit from such support programmes.

    Registration Procedure

    What are the minimum requirements of EMAS?

    EMAS does not set minimum performance requirements, but rather gives a chance to every organisation to implement the system that will make them improve their sustainability.

    There are therefore no standards or documents with the minimum requirements available but you can consult the EMAS Regulation or the websiteto see the different steps that an organisation has to go through to attain EMAS registration. The EMAS requirements can be summarised as follows:

    1. Conduct an environmental review
    2. The organisation itself must identify its environmental impacts and obligations.
    3. Adopt an environmental policy
    4. The organisation has to set up an action plan to decrease its environmental impacts.
    5. Establish an environmental management system
    6. To achieve its objectives, the organisation must set up procedures to assess and control its environmental performance.
    7. Carry out an internal environmental audit
    8. The organisation must regularly assess whether the procedures in place are in line with its objectives.
    9. Prepare an environmental statement
    10. The organisation needs to provide a public statement of its environmental performance. This includes compulsory indicators such as energy efficiency, material and water consumption, waste production and CO2 emissions. It lays down the results achieved against the objectives and the future steps to be undertaken in order to continuously improve the organisation’s environmental performance.
    11. Independent verification by an EMAS verifier
    12. An independent verifier audits the organisation to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of its environmental strategy.
    13. Registration by a Competent Body
    14. As a final step, the organisation registers with the appropriate public authority in the Member State.

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

    Our section on “How does it work?” should answer all you initial questions. The steps are also summarised in a presentation of EMAS for organisations. Should you require further information, we invite you to get in touch with your relevant Competent Body.

    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.

    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 systems is increasing throughout 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 reach a point at which they face the system’s limits. EMAS 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 Premium Benefits through EMAS or the presentation on EMAS for organisations. You may also be interested in finding 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 EMAS requirements?

    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. You can find it here.

    Competent Bodies can submit requests to haven national and regional labels in their country recognised under Article 45 of the EMAS Regulation. To date, only the Norwegian scheme Eco-Lighthouse has gone through this process and had some parts of its system officially recognised. The decision was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

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

    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 environmental field, which are collectively known as the EN ISO 14000 series.

    EN ISO 14001 is one of the best-known and most 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 transition process.

    As the ISO 14001 standard was revised in 2015, the European Commission and Member States integrated the new ISO requirements into the Annexes of the EMAS regulation. They were published in August 2017. Changes compared to the previous version are highlighted in this fact sheet.

    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:

    • A high degree of 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

    Audit Cycles

    What are the audit cycles for small organisations?

    With the revision of EMAS in 2010, environmental audits covering all activities at the organisation concerned now 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.

    What are the audit cycles for large organisations with multiple sites?

    Organisations with multiple sites can have their sites audited on a sample basis. In practice, this means that the organisation should define group(s) of similar sites representative of its activities and have a sample of each group verified as part of the verification process. The procedure is described in the EMAS User’s Guide and in this fact sheet.

    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

    What is the environmental statement?

    As one of the requirements of EMAS, organisations need to publish an annual report on their performance, called the environmental statement. This report includes information on the organisation's environmental impacts and its actions to reduce them. It is publically available and is verified by an independent EMAS verifier, thereby providing the general public, public authorities and other stakeholders of the organisation (employees, clients, shareholders, etc.) with a wealth of reliable information on the organisation's contribution to sustainability. This data usually is not available for most companies in the EU. It shows the organisations' high level of commitment to transparency and enables authorities to focus on organisations that present potentially higher risks of non-compliance.

    Check out examples of best environmental statements here.

    Which information needs to be included in the environmental statement?

    According to Annex IV of the EMAS Regulation, the environmental statement entails 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 organisation's environmental management system (the procedures put in place to monitor its environmental performance);
    • a description of all the organisation's significant direct and indirect environmental aspects that result in significant environmental impacts for it;
    • a description of its environmental objectives and targets;
    • a summary of the data available on the organisation's performance as measured against its environmental objectives and targets. Reporting is to cover the core indicators and other relevant existing environmental performance indicators as set out in the EMAS Regulation;
    • other factors regarding environmental performance, including performance as measured against legal provisions;
    • 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.

    What are environmental core indicators?

    Environmental core indicators are introduced for more harmonised and thorough consideration of environmental issues. 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 if it concludes that one or more indicators are not relevant to direct environmental aspects of the organisation (related to activities, products and services of the organisation over which it has direct management control). The organisation must then provide justifications.

    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 by an independant EMAS verifier. In that case, it is important to make a clear distinction between the part of the report which has been validated by the 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 to the validated page (the environmental statement) and adding an introductory sentence explaining that only the pages bearing 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, the environmental statement should also 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 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 the EMAS Regulation. Member States are to 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 is the role of EU Member States and the European Commission in supporting 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.

    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 and emissions, as well as supply chain management. These best practices can offer 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 provide a clear record of how they have been utilised in their environmental statements.

    Please find all relevant information here.

    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.

    EMAS for public Authorities

    What are the benefits of EMAS for public authorities?

    EMAS is a tool to help organisations assess and improve their environmental performance; it thereby enables public authorities to reduce environmental risks. It also contributes to achieving local and national environmental targets in areas including climate change, energy efficiency and the circular economy. A presentation of EMAS for public authorities is available here. If you are a local, regional or national authority, we invite you to use this presentation to identify how you can use EMAS to your advantage. To learn more, please also consult the RAVE study, which thoroughly reviewed the added value of EMAS for public authorities and collected the opinions of many stakeholders.

    Why should a public authority register with EMAS

    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 a broad range of responsibilities: for schools, waste disposal, road maintenance, the fire service and much 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 can set an example by improving their own environmental performance through energy savings. They can also exert influence through green public procurement. EMAS can be used by public sector purchasers wishing to promote a greener purchasing policy.

    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 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 to achieve 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.

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

    A list of EMAS-registered organisations in 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.

    If you are a public organisation considering joining EMAS, we recommend that you 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 support you.

    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 impact. This is valid for any EMAS organisation.
    • Second, procurement policies play an important role in the promotion and growth 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 here.