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EMAS - Performance, Credibility, Transparency

Eco-label Environmental Compliance Assistance Program Green Public Procurement

Local Authority Corner


The following section aims to provide some best practice and practical experience reports from organisations in the public administration sector that have implemented EMAS or have participated in projects dealing with environmental management systems for public organisations. If you wish to see your experience published here send an email to the EMAS Helpdesk.

LEAP: Local Authority EMAS and Procurement (2003-2006)

Local authorities are responsible for buying large quantities of goods, ranging from foodstuffs to computer equipment to cleaning products. This expenditure has local and regional impacts, both environmental and economic. The Local Authority EMAS and Procurement (LEAP) Project is a European Union funded project which aims to develop systems for better management in Green Purchasing. A number of European public authorities are involved in the LEAP Project, working together to examine and improve green purchasing management systems, and the opportunities joint procurement may offer.

Please visit for more details.


NEST - Networking with EMAS for sustainable development (2004-2007)

The project, which runs until October 2007, aims at EMAS verification for services of three Polish, four Hungarian and three Greek municipalities, all in Member States with low EMAS participation. The project will develop common procedures, activate the commitment of politicians and civil servants and target shared verification.

The activities include drafting simple documentation and establishing a network to share experiences in which each municipality focuses on one environmental aspect. This approach will lead to international benchmarking and simplified knowledge sharing, thus facilitating shared verification. The outcomes comprise a guidebook on case studies and verification, a report on how EMAS uptake is facilitated and a dissemination strategy. Kirklees Council is the lead partner of the project collaborating with Global to Local (G2L Ltd).

For more information visit



The European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment recently launched the Compass Project which aims to guide approximately 100 municipalities towards an EMAS application.

The project is designed to set up three clusters in each of the Member States with registrations in the public sector - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Each cluster will be lead by an EMAS -registered municipality (a mentor) who will be invited to share their EMAS know-how and experience with four neighbouring municipalities (peers) keen to follow their steps in environmental management.

In Spring 2006 an award ceremony will acknowledge the commitment of both mentors and peers alike to sustainable development and recognise environmental management as their guiding star.

The organisations Global to Local Limited (G2L) and the International Council of Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI) implement this project.

For more information contact Bruce Cockrean from Global to Local.


EMAS LAB project (EMAS for Local Authorities Environmental Benchmarking) (2003-2006)

The Municipality of Almada, Portugal carries out this LIFE project that intends to test the applicability of the EMAS system in Portuguese Local Authorities in cooperation with the Leicester City Council. Through working with the municipality's administration, facilities and services, advantage can be taken from previous experience and knowledge gained in other European projects in this field. The EMAS LAB project has two main goals; firstly, the environmental certification of Almada City Council by the Eco-Management Audit Scheme (EMAS). The adoption of new procedures in the field of certification will allow for the cost-effective use of resources and the reduction of consumption and costs. This will lead to a reduction in the environmental pressure exerted by the Municipality. Secondly, the Municipality of Almada itself proposes to select indicators for a group of environmental descriptors and to establish benchmarks for each of them. These benchmarks could then be adopted by Portuguese and European Local Authorities in the process of improving their environmental performance and/or eco-management.

For more information visit


TANDEM project in Italy (2001 – 2004)

The TANDEM project, a “Pilot action for promoting EMAS among Local Bodies operating on a large territory in TANDEM with Local Agenda 21” in Italy was co-financed by LIFE programme of the European Commission. Beneficiaries were the Province of Bologna in partnership with 9 Public Administrations, a scientific institution (DCCI, University of Genoa) and two external advisers, Sogesca S.r.l. and ERVET, Emilia-Romagna Valorizzazione Economia Territorio. The project attained overwhelming organisational and operative support and found broad acceptance within the region.

The main project objectives were the diffusion of an applicable methodology for every local body to:

  • Help the body with the implementation of EMAS;
  • Develop synergies among the local bodies in the same territory;
  • Create a common vision among all the voluntary tools such as Local Agenda 21 and environmental accountability

This was achieved through different activities:

  • Organisation of a wide working group (“Open Group”) of local bodies (Regions, Provinces and Municipalities) which validated the results of the project through the examination and sharing of adoption modalities of some EMAS Regulation key points;
  • Establishment of a methodology to delineate and characterize the action field where the Environmental Management System has to be planned in public organisations operating on a large territory;
  • Establishment of methodologies for the environmental review and for the planning of an Environmental Management System;
  • Dissemination of results during and after the project.

TANDEM has given insights on how the EMAS Regulation can be adopted by a local body operating on a large territory on the basis of its own administrative relations with the territory and in synergy with other territorial management tools (Local Agenda 21, Environmental Strategic Assessment, planning, etc.).

Since the start of the project two Provinces, Bologna and Parma have been EMAS registered. For the period of autumn 2004 to spring 2005 the TANDEM project has been recognised as on of 24 Best LIFE Environment Projects.

For more information view this PDF: Layman_report_Tandem.pdf


EMAS - Peer Review for Cities project (2003-2004)

The EMAS - Peer Review for Cities project aimed to encourage and extend the use of EMAS in European local authorities and to develop a step-by-step tool in the form of guidebooks for cities. In particular it emphasised the introduction of EMAS in local authorities in the accession countries. The peer review was used as an innovative method to encourage cities to work together and to critically review each other's developments in setting up an environmental management system. This has promoted close co-operation between the cities. Training sessions have been conducted to introduce the EMAS and the Peer Review to city participants. All partner cities were assisted by team members and by fellow city experts, with local consultants providing additional guidance in accession countries.

The project, co-ordinated by the Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) Commission on Environment Secretariat, was a joint initiative of the UBC, Eurocities, University of West England and the City of Newcastle. The project was co-funded by the European Commission DG Environment. The project partner cities were the following: Athens, Barcelona, Bristol, Düsseldorf, Gdansk, Göteborg, Jelgava, Leeds, Liepaja, Newcastle, Palermo, Panevezys, Porto, Siauliai, Sopot, Tallinn and Viljandi.

The EMAS Peer Review for Cities project has produced two Guidebooks in ten languages, the EMAS Implementation Guidebook and the EMAS Peer Review Guidebook, which can be downloaded at

The final technical report is available to download here. Explore the experience of the project, read newsletters or download the guidebooks at


ECOLUP: How EMAS assists Lake Constance Municipalities in Land Use Planning (2001-2004)

The Lake Constance Foundation has presented the results of the ECOLUP LIFE project on EMAS application for sustainable land use. Environmental teams from four municipalities (Constance, Überlingen in Germany and Wolfurt and Dornbirn in Austria) have been founded to assess and establish sustainable land-use planning. This covered land-use, sealing, traffic, involvement of municipalities, integration in Agenda 21, and more.

The results showed that land-use was not a key aspect in previous EMAS implementation in municipalities, suggesting that energy and transport will have to be assessed in a more integrated way in the future. Key data were gathered for the first time, which allowed comparison and statistical evaluation, the results of which made it easier to set up and evaluate environmental programmes. It was shown that municipalities are open to management know-how, and that stakeholders’ involvement could lead to more demanding goals. Monitoring schemes may be introduced as a result. The conclusion of ECOLUP showed the need to improve skills in municipalities, among verifiers and Competent Bodies in order to assess indirect aspects.

For more information read the ECOLUP report or visit


The Euro-EMAS project (1999-2001)

The first EMAS Regulation (1836/93), open only to the industrial sector, allowed the inclusion of other sectors on a pilot basis in its Art 14. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the UK adopted an adapted version of the EMAS Regulation 1836/93 and developed a publication which provided practical guidance on the implementation of EMAS in local authorities (LA-EMAS).

Building on the success of the LA-EMAS initiative in the UK, a partnership of organisations lead by the City of Newcastle Upon Tyne initiated the project Euro-EMAS, co-financed by the LIFE Environment programme, to pilot the application of LA-EMAS throughout Europe. The project aimed to develop the pan-European applicability of EMAS for local authorities.

The project outcomes include case studies to illustrate the barriers that municipalities can encounter in the implementation of EMAS, a step-by-step implementation tool to overcome these barriers, a system of "peer review" among municipalities which assessed more effectively their progress in the implementation of EMAS, and various training material.

Each participating city in the project has implemented the scheme in a different context. This allows an insight into a full range of challenges and good practice identified, which can be extrapolated to other municipalities in different situations. According to the results of the project, EMAS delivers a wide range of benefits to municipalities, which extend beyond improving the environmental performance of the municipality. These include:

  • Improvements in the quality of service as a result of enhanced dialogue with stakeholders.
  • Financial savings such as:
    • Reduced costs of waste disposal.
    • Income generated from sale of waste as a raw material.
    • Reduced litigation and penal costs arising from reduction in environmental accidents.
    • Introduction of a management system that ensures that there is a planned programme of capital investment that takes account of forthcoming changes to the legal standards of environmental performance, rather than reacting to 'unexpected ' changes.
    • Reduced costs arising from reduction in the consumption of natural resources, water, fuel, energy, paper, and furniture.
    • Recycling and re-using what was formerly considered waste.
  • Better management control. There is evidence that EMAS can be integrated successfully into existing management systems. The simpler the municipal management system, the earlier the benefit is felt.
  • Securing funding: EMAS requires an assessment of the likely environmental effects of proposed policy changes and programmes of activities. This is a pre-requisite in making applications for grants for EU Structural and other funds.
  • Consistency arising from the discipline of setting targets and monitoring performance.
  • Demonstration of commitment: An enhanced environmental profile can be marketed to investors, businesses and tourists.
  • Compliance with legislation. Partner cities realised that although most of them had staff who were aware of the relevant legislation they had no systematic method of ensuring appropriate action was taken. Now they make sure that staff are competent to undertake appropriate action and have procedures in place for compliance.
  • Staff motivation also develops when appropriate training is given. This ensures greater involvement of personnel.

For more information on the Euro-EMAS project, please visit