In this section, Competent and Accreditation Bodies, the Commission, the EMAS Helpdesk and other organisations have the opportunity to advertise seminars, conferences, reports, studies and any other EMAS related issues. Please note that the EMAS Helpdesk cannot check every information in this section. Additional information should be asked from the contact persons directly.
The European Commission launched the call for tenders for the preparation of the background reports of two EMAS sectoral reference documents "SRDs": the electrical and electronic equipment sector and on the car manufacturing sector.
The call for tender is intended to provide the Commission with services that support the development of best environmental management practise documents (by producing background documents) for two priority sectors:
All documents can be accessed at: http://web.jrc.ec.europa.eu/callsfortender/index.cfm?action=app.tender&id=2100&instdir=3582 .
The DG Environment just launched the call for tender: "Operation of an EU helpdesk for the support and promotion of the eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS)".
The Unit Sustainable Production and Consumption of the Directorate-General for the Environment aims to ensure the implementation of sustainable policies and voluntary approaches for industry as well as the development and promotion of integration of environmental requirements into industry and the internal market. One of the voluntary instruments the Unit has successfully implemented for almost 20 years is the EU eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS). The EMAS helpdesk services described in this contract are not only instrumental to a correct implementation of the EMAS scheme, but also aim at promoting the scheme to outside the EMAS community with the goal of maintaining and preferably increasing the number of EMAS registrations. The ultimate goal being an increased contribution of the scheme to an improved environmental quality in Europe.
You can learn more at: https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-display.html?cftId=241.
On 25 April, the German government handed out its national Corporate Social Responsibility awards for the first time. Two out of four categories were won by EMAS registered organisations. Seven more EMAS users were also short-listed.
The CSR prize was awarded to companies in four categories, according to the organisations’ size. The selection of the winners followed a special procedure in which the jury of experts not only assessed the competing organisations’ own documents but also took into consideration third-party appraisals by the organisations’ stakeholders.
In Berlin, jury chairman Gerd Hoofe, who is state secretary in the ministry of labour and social affairs, handed out the CSR awards to the following winners:
EMAS registered organic baby food producer Hipp GmbH & Co. KG won in the category ‘large businesses’ (500-4,999 employees), in recognition of the organic quality of its products and the central place that social responsibility takes in Hipp’s corporate culture.
The winner in the category ‘medium-sized businesses’ (50-499 employees) is also EMAS registered: educational tourism operator Studiosus Reisen München GmbH was applauded for its pioneering achievements in establishing sustainability measures in the tourism sector.
The following EMAS registered organisations were also nominated for CSR awards:
In the category ‘largest businesses’ (5000 employees and more; winner: Tchibo GmbH): Chemicals company BASF and pharmaceuticals company Bayer AG . Among ‘large organisations’: City of Bremen Transport Systems ( Bremer Straßenbahn AG) and outdoor supplier VAUDE Sport GmbH & Co. KG. And also on the short list of medium-sized businesses: organic food supplier Lebensbaum / Ulrich Walter GmbH, organic beer and lemonade brewer Neumarkter Lammsbräu Gebr. Ehrnsperger e. K. and paper manufacturer Steinbeis Papier GmbH .
For further information about the German CSR prize: http://www.csr-preis-bund.de/startseite.html
In a session at the 9th German CSR Forum in Ludwigsburg on 10th April 2013, the conditions for successful partnerships between businesses and environmental NGOs were discussed.
Hosted by the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign, the workshop presented three examples of NGO-Business collaboration for nature conservation:
Business and NGO representatives agreed that the respective goals and expectations of such partnerships need to be established clearly from the beginning. Individual goals and fields of exepertise often complemented each other: the NGOs have local project knowledge and ecological expertise and enjoy the trust of the public while the businesses can provide technical know-how, financial resources and experience in communicating environmental issues to customers.
However, the panellists also made it clear that such partnerships run the risk of being condemned as “greenwashing” if they only communicate the company’s environmental achievements without critically and openly addressing shortcomings as well. In order for NGO-business collaborations to be seen as sincere and credible the partners are well advised in communicating continual improvement efforts as called for by EMAS, instead of declaring to have solved all environmental challenges within a few months. Moreover, companies and NGOs should recount concrete stories about successful environmental projects, rather than abstract policies and measures. Regularly published EMAS environmental statements are a good way to achieve this type of credible and transparent communication.
The European Business and Biodiversity Campaign is a partnership of seven organisations managed by the Global Nature Fund and co-financed by the European Commission Life+ programme.
Programme and follow-up reporting on the German CSR Forum 2013: http://www.csrforum.eu/kongress/2013/.
Registered organisations are convinced by EMAS’ high standards but want more recognition of their achievements.
At the German EMAS conference 2013, held in Berlin on 15 April, Minister for the Environment Peter Altmaier and Karl Falkenberg, Director-General for the Environment with the European Commission, presented the results of the official 2012 survey ‘EMAS in Germany’. The survey was commissioned by the ministry for the environment and the German environmental agency. 60% of German EMAS registered organisations participated and their opinions will be fed into the next revision process of the EMAS regulation, which is to begin in January 2015 at the latest.
86% of German EMAS users agree that, overall, EMAS is a good environmental management scheme. They confirmed EMAS’ key quality attributes: performance, credibility and transparency. The survey also confirmed that EMAS registered organisations strive to set benchmarks in environmental protection. They choose the most robust environmental management system out of conviction and an honest ambition to make their business greener.
Many survey participants provided detailed comments and proposals. In particular, organisations want EMAS to become better known among consumers and the public. Many EMAS participants would also appreciate more recognition of their environmental efforts from authorities, in the form of regulatory relief or tax reductions.
The EMAS conference, the third of its kind to be held in Germany, brought together representatives of the European Commission’s DG Environment, the German Ministry for the Environment, EMAS registered organistions, environmental verifiers and the German accreditation and Competent Bodies to discuss the potential for the further development of EMAS. Three workshops were held in which invited experts and EMAS users discussed the following topics: 1) Maximizing EMAS’ potential within organisations, 2) EMAS’ connection with products and services, and 3) The environmental verifier as guarantor of credibility.
The study “EMAS in Deutschland 2012“can be downloaded here.
The largest independent service provider for motor vehicle damage has announced the EMAS registration of its Stuttgart (Germany) site.
"Don't just do it, do it right". Innovation Group's declared sustainability motto sounds as determined as it is pragmatic. Chairman of the executive board Matthew Whittall sums up his reasons for embracing corporate responsibility: "It comes down to two values that have been increasingly forgotten in the economic euphoria of the last 20 years: common sense and a bit of decency. We have to do business in a way that's fair to everyone involved – it's the only kind of business that will work in the long run."
Becoming more sustainable also makes good business sense for insurance companies. Policyholders are increasingly paying attention to sustainable practices and demanding better environmental performance. Front-runners like Innovation Group have recognized that the quality label 'EMAS' is also a way to set one's company apart from others in an extensively regulated market. "'Eco' doesn't just stand for ecology but for economy, too", points out Jürgen Schmidt, one of the directors of Innovation Group.
In introducing EMAS Innovation Group focused on the immediate environmental impact of its offices as well as its car leasing services and its supply chain. Measures to improve environmental performance include:
Innovation Group is a global provider of business process services and software solutions to the insurance, fleet, automotive and property industries. It supports the complete insurance value chain. Incorporated in the UK 16 years ago, the company currently has more than 800 clients worldwide. In Germany, 45 insurance companies and 51 vehicle fleets use the Group's services, which partners with about 2000 other service providers, including rental and repair services, to provide efficient and custom-made solutions to its clients.
Find out more about sustainability at Innovation Group: http://www.innovation-group.com/sustainability.
The Estonian government agency received its official EMAS registration on 7th February 2013.
The Environmental Board is governed by the Ministry of the Environment and supports the ministry with a wide range of activities. The Board carries out research and monitoring activities, implements the state's policies for the use of the environment and for nature conservation, it issues related permits and licences to individuals and companies and also carries out public environmental education programmes. The Board currently has 430 employees.
After developing an environmental policy in 2010, the Board gradually implemented environmental management measures over the next three years. The most important targets of the Environmental Board are currently related to its use of resources (water, electricity, heat, paper) and to diminishing the impact of transportation. The organisation is aiming to reduce its electricity consumption by 3%, to considerably increase the share of vehicles whose CO2 emissions are below 150g / km and to keep its consumption of heat and water at base year (2010) level. The Board is also developing its public procurement rules to make 'green procurement' the standard approach and it is training its business partners on environmental issues.
The Environmental Board's first environmental report is available on their website (in Estonian).
The Youth Center of the Bavarian diocese of Eichstätt just received the third renewal of its EMAS registration. But the Catholic frontrunners in environmental management have been 'thinking green' for much longer.
25 years ago, long before environmental awareness was as widespread as it is today, the Youth Center was already planting bushes to sustain the habitat of local bird species and generating its own solar energy. In 2001, the diocese participated in an ecumenical project to introduce environmental management schemes in church organistions in the region. The Youth Center became a pioneer when it was the first to receive EMAS registration in 2003.
One of the first measures was to replace heating oil with wood chippings. At the time this was decided as a matter of principle. Today, with the rise of oil prices, this green alternative also means real savings for the Youth Center. Other actions included the ecological renovation of the institution's buildings, banning all chemical cleaning products and increasing the share of ecologically produced and fairly traded food in the center's kitchen to 90%. To make these kinds of changes, an organisation needs the full support and cooperation of all its employees. No problem at the diocese. The staff have even come up with creative and fun ways of informing the center's visitors about environmental management.
"We are putting our responsibility for creation into practice", says the diocese's environmental manager, Lisa Amon. The Youth Center is a lighthouse project that has inspired a number of parishes and other church institutions in the diocese to implement EMAS as well. Next up, all 19 senior citizen homes run by the Catholic charitable organisation Caritas will be registering with EMAS.
Video for the diocese's green anniversary (in German).
More environmental sustainability projects in the diocese: http://www.bistum-eichstaett.de/umwelt/
On 4 March 2013, the European Commission formally adopted its decision to establish an EMAS user's guide. The guide has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (Volume 56, L076).
The user's guide clearly explains the steps needed to participate in EMAS. The document "aims to deliver clear, simple advice for organisations interested in EMAS. It is intended to offer step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. The guide outlines the main elements and steps to be undertaken by an organisation that intends to participate in the scheme."
By providing interested organisations with this additional support, the Commission hopes to further increase the overall uptake of the EMAS management system. Apart from facilitating the entry of organisations into the scheme, the user's guide also contributes to the EMAS Regulation's general objective of harmonising implementation across all Member States and creating a common legislative framework.
An official user's guide for specific 'EMAS Global' related issues (third-country registration) was already released in 2011. It is available for download here.
The new, general EMAS user's guide covers the following questions:
Download the EMAS user's guide now:
A current EU consultation on organic agriculture asks about the need for environmental management in the sector.
Titled 'Consultation for the review of the European policy on organic agriculture', the survey is open to all citizens, organisations and public authorities who are concerned by a review of organic agriculture policy.
Under the Common Agricultural Policy, organic production is backed up by European financial support, policies and laws. The consultation aims to gather input on the following issues:
The survey touches on EMAS in question 4.17 'Environmental performance'. It asks whether producers and traders should be required to implement an environmental management system to measure and evaluate their environmental performance and impacts. Could this help organic farming businesses to comply with the legal requirement to respect nature's systems and cycles; ensure the health of soil, water, plants and animals; contribute to a high level of biodiversity and make responsible use of energy and natural resources, such as water, soil, organic matter and air?
You can give your opinion until 10/04/2013 to the Consultation for the review of the European policy on organic agriculture
EU organic farming logo
Catalonian EMAS Club initiates dialogue and collaboration between EMAS registered businesses and environmental NGOs.
The project called "tàndem" aims to support companies and NGOs in better understanding each other's work and finding ways to cooperate for the benefit of the environment.
The Catalonian EMAS Club welcomed more than 250 participants at a 'marketplace' event on the premises of the Botanical Garden of Barcelona in November 2012. At the fair, successful collaboration projects were presented that have already been initiated. Also, an exhibition of NGO projects helped enterprises better understand the work of civil society organisations. This learning was turned into a mutual exchange in small working groups where enterprises and NGOs were able to meet each other and discuss potential tandem projects.
A commodity/materials exchange was initiated at the event as well: a network that allows exchanging materials that are usually a waste for a company but can be a useful material for an NGO. For example, one business has wooden boxes that are usually destroyed and treated as waste, but an NGO who usually buys wood to build bird nests and houses can recycle the boxes. Examples like these are both environmentally and economically efficient for the involved parties.The 'marketplace' event itself was designed using waste materials from the participating companies.
One of the inspiring experiences presented is the collaboration between a natural museum, an NGO specialised in bats and a SME specialised in medical electronics. By putting together a technical need (detecting bats in order to study them) and engineering knowledge (tools and know-how from the SME) the partners developed an affordable, locally produced product which enables researchers to study bats without catching them, saving time, economic resources and enhancing scientific data on the animals for purposes of environmental protection. All the interested parties are satisfied by the final result, but moreover, the museum and the NGO have learnt and developed a more business-oriented approach to projects while the company has discoverd a whole new field of activity by working with the museum and NGO representatives.
Innovative examples like this have already motivated other organisations to set up tandem teams. Projects that are being planned include a travel agency and an NGO developing specific eco-tourism products taking into account land stewardship agreements, and enterprises offering to send volunteers to support environmental projects.
The International Film Festival in Berlin 'Berlinale' is part of an EMAS convoy registration of German public authorities.
In its 63rd year, the prestigious International Film Festival was not just glamorous as always, but sustainable too!
The Berlinale, together with some of Germany's other most famous festivals and museums, forms part of the Association of Federal Cultural Events in Berlin (Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin GmbH, KBB), managed by the Federal Representative for Culture and Media.
In 2011, KBB was selected by the German Ministry for the Environment to join four other government agencies in a convoy process toward EMAS registration. The project is part of the government's sustainability programme, an important aspect of which is implementing sustainable business operations in government agencies. By adopting the highest environmental management standards itself the government aims to set a positive example for other organisations in Germany.
Apart from KBB, which achieved EMAS registration just in time for this year's Berlinale, the Ministry for the Environment also completed the EMAS registration of its Bonn and Berlin offices in 2012. The other convoy partners, who are expected to complete the registration process in late 2013 or early 2014, are the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, and the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) which is a federal enterprise that supports the German government with technical and managerial expertise in the field of international cooperation.
The EMAS convoy approach involves joint training workshops with environmental management consultants where the participating organisations can learn about EMAS together and share their experiences. In addition, each applying site is repeatedly visited and supervised individually.
Have your say in the upcoming revisions of ISO 14001 and ISO 14004.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is currently collecting information on stakeholders needs regarding their environmental management systems standards, in order to inform the next revisions of ISO 14001 and ISO 14004.
The survey may also be of interest to EMAS registered organisations since the ISO 14001 requirements are included in EMAS and many organisations use the standard as a stepping stone to the more advanced system of EMAS.
ISO 14004:2004 lays out the "General guidelines on principles, systems and support techniques", while ISO 14001:2004 details "Requirements with guidance for use" for environmental management systems. ISO 14001:2004 was first published in 1996 and is one of ISO's most successful management system standards to date. The new revision, which is to come into effect in 2015, will probably be valid for about a decade.
The survey takes into account key topics from the ongoing discussions in the working groups that are revising the ISO 14000 standards. One of the goals is to align ISO 14001 with the new High Level Structure for Management Systems (ISO Guide 83). This introduces a new section on the context of the implementing organisation, elevating the importance of understanding the external and internal drivers and pressures on an organisation as a precursor to policy development. For example, customer desires, competitive positioning and the organisation's own core values will be considered in order to identify business priorities in relation to environmental management. This approach also allows a greater focus on assessing business risks. This would for example mean that organisations would consider impacts from a changing environment that are relevant to their organisation, in addition to organisational impacts on the environment (e.g. climate adaptation). It would also result in driving the integration of the environment into the (strategic) organisational decision-making.
The questionnaire is intended to be completed by:
You can complete the survey here.
On 19th of February, Austrian Minister for the Environment Niki Berlakovich received 48 chimney sweeps at the Ministry of Life in recognition of their guild's EMAS registration.
"Modern and competitive chimney sweeps have become Environmental Managers. I am proud that in Austria so many chimney sweeps work for the protection of the climate and the environment beyond their legal obligations and are thereby securing important green jobs," said Environment Minister Niki Berlakovich at the presentation of the EMAS certificates in the Marble Hall of the Ministry of Environment.
The Federal Guild of Chimney Sweeps (a 2005 EMAS Awards winner) and the country guilds for Burgenland, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Styria and the Styrian Association of Chimney Sweeps were all awarded EMAS certificates at the event.
More and more chimney sweeps are implementing EMAS as a way of sustaining their profession for the future. EMAS ensures the best possible advice on energy efficiency and emissions reduction and guarantees an equally high standard of service by chimney sweeps across the country.
Austrian Minister for the Environment Niki Berlakovich receives EMAS registered chimney sweeps
How can EMAS implementation be made easier?
The BRAVE project (Better Regulation Aimed at Valorising Emas), co-funded by the EC Life Plus Programme, aims at supporting the full integration of EMAS (and of other voluntary certification schemes, such as the EU Ecolabel) into the environmental legislation of the EU Member States. This will lead to improved regulation and facilitate EMAS implementation by removing, reducing and simplifying the administrative burdens for EMAS registered organisations.
Within the framework of BRAVE, Scuola Sant'Anna University, as leader of the project, has launched a survey to assess and analyse the difficulties and benefits experienced by EMAS registered companies. Respondents can also report on the role that simplification measures (regulatory relief and better regulation tools) would play in their choice of obtaining and maintaining EMAS registration.
The survey enables respondents to express an opinion on the relevance of existing simplification measures in their countries, at national and regional level. The results will support the BRAVE partners in proposing the introduction of new simplification measures in European and national environmental legislation.
If you are an EMAS registered company and you haven't participated in the survey of the BRAVE project yet, please fill in the questionnaire by 15 March at the following web address: https://it.surveymonkey.com/s/EuropeanEMASsurvey
More information about BRAVE: www.braveproject.eu
Worshop on the "Integration of Biodiversity into Environmental Management" explores practical applications of the new EMAS key indicator.
EMAS registered organistions have to prove whether biodiversity is a significant environmental aspect in their business. If so, they are required to address the protection of biodiversity in their environmental management programme.
However, many environmental managers still feel they know less about biodiversity than about other environmental factors, like waste or energy consumption. Furthermore, although EMAS provides a performance indicator for biodiversity, namely 'land use', this indicator alone cannot measure all of a company's impacts on biodiversity. Rather, it should be seen as a starting point to measuring direct impacts, in addition to which organistions should also examine their supply chains, along which many indirect environmental impacts are generated.
One of the aims of the workshop was therefore to help organisations identify further relevant performance indicators that could measure their operations' influence on biodiversity.
Organised by the Lake Constance Foundation and the dokeo CSR-academy on 14th of November 2012 in Stuttgart, the workshop brought together company representatives and environmental auditors, corporate consultants, authorised experts and accountants. Participants were informed about the value of biological diversity (since all businesses directly or indirectly depend on natural resources and 'ecosystem services') and were presented with examples of companies' conservation activities, ranging from raw material procurement to product design and marketing to natural designed business premises.
The workshop took place in the framework of the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign. This programme was initiated by a consortium of European NGOs and companies lead and coordinated by the Global Nature Fund, in order to strengthen private sector commitment for biodiversity and ecosystem services. The campaign is supported by the European Union Life+ Programme.
The B&B Campaign's website provides a wealth of information for businesses, such as tools and methods for biodiversity management or the Biodiversity Check, an instrument that helps companies to identify their interdependence with biodiversity regarding opportunities, impacts and risk
For more inspiration on how to integrate biodiversity into your environmental management system, you can find the proceeedings of the workshop (in German) here.
Capgemini, the only UK company in the IT sector to be EMAS registered, has successfully passed its second audit.
Capgemini is part of the Capgemini Group, one of the world's foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The only UK company in the IT and consulting sector to currently hold EMAS certification, Capgemini recently reaffirmed its environmental commitment by renewing its EMAS registration.
Capgemini has realised the following environmental improvements, among others, compared with the base year of 2008:
Other activities include the introduction of the company's Travelwell scheme is reducing travel-related emmissions, for instance by switiching to less environmentally harmful modes of transport or by calling a video conference in place of a face-to-face business meeting.
James Robey, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Capgemini UK, said: 'Gaining EMAS certification for a second year is a noteworthy achievement as it required the demonstration of significant continued improvement across our entire environmental programme. This excellent result reflects the hard work and commitment of the sustainability team and of our entire workforce in pursuit of environmental excellence.'
Their environmental performance has also won Capgemini a number of other recognitions, such as achieving platinum status in Business in the Community's Corporate Responsibility Index, and beying listed for the third year running in the Sunday Times Best 60 Green Companies.
The EMAS registered German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) has received the Ethics in Business Award 2012 in the category, "Outstanding Corporation."
The Ethics in Business Award is awarded biannually by the World Forum for Ethics in Business (WFEB) to individuals and businesses who uphold values in the business world.
The jury selected VW for its "leadership to be at the forefront in recognizing the significance of Corporate Social Responsibility", and for "integrating universal Human Values into its own corporate value set – through the execution of environmental projects, health projects and global initiatives."
VW has set itself the target of achieving a 25% reduction by 2018 in
To drive these goals forward within the company, VW has developed a sustainability strategy which it calls "Think Blue. Factory." that promotes and integrates all its environmental management activities throughout the entire organisation.
For instance, VW translates EMAS' focus on employee involvement into an "idea management" system whereby workers can make suggestions for new environmental management measures. One of these "ideas of the month" for instance suggested a new technique for saving water. VW implemented the measure and as a result is now saving 106,000 l of waters – and €44,000 – per year at one production site alone!
This kind of innovative environmental management is among the hallmarks of an "Outstanding Corporation", as is accountability, according to the awards jury. EMAS supports organisations in achieving both, guaranteeing accountability in particular through its system of independent third-party verification.
VW was the first car manufacturer world-wide to register with EMAS when the scheme was introduced in 1995. Today, the company has 10 EMAS registered production sites.
Reducing air pollution will be the focus of EU environmental policy development in 2013. Emissions are already one of the key performance indicators for EMAS registered organisations.
Air pollution remains a threat to public health and the environment, according to the European Environment Agency's most recent report 'Air Quality in Europe.' Consequently, the European Commission has declared 2013 the 'Year of Air' in which current air policy is to be reviewed and improved upon.
The Commission will be reviewing the EU Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution and related policies. An online stakeholder consultation has been launched where EU citizens, organisations and companies can provide their views and ideas for the air policy review. You can take part until 4 March 2013.
Already, a Eurobarometer survey about Attitudes of Europeans towards Air Quality was conducted in late 2012 and the findings will feed into the on-going review of EU air policy. The survey reveiled a general sense of lack of information about air quality issues. Almost six out of ten (59%) Europeans feel this way, with 31 % of participants in Spain and 27 % in Luxemburg, Cyprus and Latvia saying that they are not informed at all. Also, 43% of Europeans believe emission controls in industry and energy production are the most effective way to tackle air pollution.
EMAS addresses the need for industry to protect and improve air quality, and for the public to be informed about these efforts. EMAS registered organisations are required to measure their performance according to the key indicators "Total annual emissions of greenhouse gases", and more generally "Total annual air emission". Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions indicate an organisation's impact on the climate. The indicator does not only focus on carbon dioxide emissions but also on other GHGs. Measuring other air emissions as well gives an organisation a thorough understanding of its impact on air quality.
By improving their emmissions performance with EMAS organisations are taking on responsibility in tackling climate change and are increasing their credibility in the eyes of costumers. Moreover, the collected data about energy consumption and emissions make it easier for companies to meet EU reporting requirements. EMAS is set up to coordinate with emissions trading in a number of Member States. For instance, under the German Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Act an environmental verifier is authorised to take into account an organisation's status as an EMAS participant during the review of the organisation's emissions data.
EMAS registered organisations may also have less di¬fficulty with emissions reporting to the public because of the preliminary work already completed with EMAS. European law requires that operational emissions data must be made directly available to the public in the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) by companies that operate in certain sectors. The 'Guidance Document for the implementation of the European PRTR' published by the European Commission states that the reporting of the E-PRTR data can already be included within the EMAS environmental statement.
EMAS is all about continuous improvement. By implementing the three following simple resolutions you can raise your organisation's sustainability performance in 2013.
1. Review Community Initiatives
Donating or joining in programmes for worthwhile local eco-initiatives can boost your organisation's visibility and relevance in your community. It also gives you new opportunities to gather knowledge and ideas about environmental sustainability.
But to make sure your organisation is creating a long-term impact you should review all your organisation's engagements to focus on the most worthy causes. Measure the quantitative and qualitative impacts of the initiatives you are supporting and create a focused strategy to deliver more targeted results for the most impactful initiatives.
2. Step up Stakeholder Engagement
EMAS has always recognized stakeholder engagement as an important factor in successfully delivering innovative and ambitious environmental management goals. The 2011 EMAS Awards specifically honoured organisations' achievements in this regard. So reach out to new stakeholders this year – they can provide valuable information which you may have been missing. But you must make a commitment to actually address their reasonable concerns in your organisation's operations. Not only "outsiders", but your own colleagues can be powerful drivers for the improvement of your environmental performance. Implement meaningful measures for your colleagues to voice their concerns and expectations.
3. Improve Communications
Though it was not the focus theme of the 2012 EMAS Awards, the benefits of good communication for EMAS registered organisations were highlighted by the jury. The honourable mention for Abbott S.r.l, praised their exceptionally comprehensive and readable environmental statement. Giving your communication activities increased depth and a more attractive form will make your organisation more noticeable and attract the attention of your stakeholders.
Re-evaluate which aspects of your environmental activities are of particular importance to your company or your stakeholders. Consider increasing disclosure on these areas, for example by providing more historical data. Also consider updating your data more frequently or also integrating it into your financial information to make your operations even more transparent.
Finally, why not go beyond your environmental statement and develope a social media strategy? This will create a dialogue with your stakeholders and make your communications more exciting.
So set some targets (long- and short-term), be consistent in your efforts and keep improving your environmental performance – the EMAS way!
A recently published dissertation examines how the introduction of an environmental management system can improve an organisation's internal communications.
German PhD candidate Carsten Behlert from the Bauhaus University in Weimar interviewed nearly 160 organisations from diverse sectors and of different sizes. The resultant dissertation offers interesting insights into how different companies intergrate EMAS into their operations, and points to some untapped potentials in EMAS implementation.
The dissertation confirms that environmental management systems can give impulses for positive changes, on an organisational level as well as in the corporate culture. The decisive factor here is whether management actively embraces EMAS. In the case studies presented the organisations' management acted as the most important role models. This means that if CEOs act in a more environmentally responsible way, they can initiate a change in behavior among their staff as well. Environmental managers are the second most important multipliers. Although they are more concerned with the technical aspects of EMAS implementation, Behlert sees multiplication potential for their actions as well. This means that environmental managers can initiate innovations and improve internal communication about environmental issues within the company.
In his dissertation the author explains that sound environmental management is much more than the fulfillment of purely technical requirements. Staff can become more involved in daily environmental issues, for example through workshops teaching them about how their own behaviour can contribute to environmental sustainability. Internal audits are another measure that can significantly increase staff motivation and the integration of EMAS into the "lived culture" of an organisation. Real employee involvement signals that management takes its staff seriously and is open to suggestions for improvement from their side. This boosts environmental performance and enhances the overall environmental sustainability of an organization.
Go to Rombos publishers for a detailed synopsis and to order the book. The dissertation is only available in German.
The English football club Forest Green Rovers is greening the world's most popular sport and has registered with EMAS.
They may still be in the lowest division of the English national football league system, but Dale Vince's club is top of the game in bringing sustainability into the sports arena. From the solar panels on the roof of the main stand and the solar-powered lawnmower to the meat-free menu and organic pitch, Vince is using football to spread his message.
An idealist who translates his eco-convictions into action, the 51-year-old Forest Green Rovers owner began doing green business when he started building windmills in the 1990s. After producing 53 windmills, the first of which overlooked the club's stadium, he now employs 300 people in Ecotricity, a business that turns over £50million. Vince decided to buy the Forest Green Rovers to save the club form bankruptcy and to save local jobs, but also as a chance to promote sustainability to a wide grassroots audience.
Vince views energy, transport and food as the three key sustainability challenges. The stadium is powered by wind and solar energy, Vince himself drives an electric car and is aiming to install charging stations on the club's grounds. And he convinced his players and staff to take red meat off their own menu and even stop serving it to visitors. Not only have players and fans thanked Vince for the health benefits they are reaping from his vegan pasties, for Vince it is a matter of principle: "It's also unsustainable. It takes 10 grammes of vegetable protein to produce a gramme of beef. You have diminishing returns. The rough analysis is that you can feed 10 vegetarians or one meat-eater".
Further steps in making the club eco-friendly included setting up a rain water harvesting and recycling system and planting wildflower meadows on the grounds to boost local biodiversity. The next step will be to install LED floodlights.
Dale Vince's ambitious and thouroughly innovative initiative naturally makes his environmental management among the best of the best. "We recently achieved EMAS," he proudly explains, "it's like the gold-standard of environment management. Manchester United, by comparison, have just been granted ISO 14000. I mention that because that's League One standard, though we applaud what they have done. We, however, are in the Champions League..."
Dale Vince on his club's organic pitch, together with the solar-powered lawnmower.
© NEIL MOXLEY / dailymail.co.uk
All ten houses and one spa of the Belgian Martin's Hotels group have successfully registered with EMAS.
At a press conference held at the Martin's Central Park Hotel in Brussels on 11 December Martin's Hotels announced that they are now the only hotel group in Belgium to have been awarded EMAS certification.
The hotel has a long-standing sustainable development project and has undertaken a number of initiatives in the fields of ecology, fair trade and humanitarian actions. Registering with EMAS was the logical step forward to structuring all of the hotels' environmental activities, thereby making them even more efficient.
Martin's Hotels chose EMAS for its credibility as the European Commission's environmental management tool, its focus on continuous and measurable performance improvement, and its participatory take on stakeholder involvement. Regarding this last point, Martin's Hotels are taking some very innovative approaches to educate and motivate their staff and to involve their customers in environmental good practices:
Each staff member receives their personalised environmental identity card that lists the good practices specific to their job. For example, in the case of a chamber maid it might say: "I observe the dosage instructions of the cleaning products", or "I turn off the air conditioning/heating when leaving the room". For their guests, Martin's Hotels offer an "Eco-voucher" programme that invites guests to make easy eco-gestures to limit the environmental impact of their stays at the hotel, such as requesting a limited cleaning service for their room. As a reward, guests earn cumulative Eco-voucher points during each stay which can be converted into gift vouchers.
For business events organised in Martin's hotels they offer the "Carbon Zero" programme that offsets the event's inevitable carbon emissions by funding clean energies projects in emerging and developing countries.
The hotel chain believes in joining the forces of various environmental schemes, such as Clef Verte, the Eco-Dynamic Label, the European Eco-label and EMAS. For a tourist establishment, combining these approaches is particularly effective. Martin's Hotels also participate in the MOVE-IT project. This learning and support programme offers on-site and software-based trainings to regional clusters of SMEs in the tourism sector. Cluster certification and training is part of EMAS Easy, the simpler and less costly EMAS registration scheme tailored to the needs of smaller organisations. Martin's Hotels internal EMAS coaching was 50% supported by the MOVE-IT project, which is co-funded by the Eco-Innovation Initiative within the European Union Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).
Rolf-Jan Hoeve (right), European Commission Policy Officer for EMAS, congratulates John Martin, Chief Executive of Martin's Hotels, on the hotels' EMAS registration.
New brochure detailing the benefits of EMAS available for download.
The new EMAS brochure provides 9 reasons as to why a company or organisation should register for EMAS: resource efficiency, climate protection, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), legal compliance, supply chain management & Green Public Procurement (GPP), credible information, performance measurement, employee engagement, and stakeholder involvement. The new brochure also outlines the differences and complementarities of EMAS and ISO 14001. It gives a thorough explanation of each reason for registering with EMAS, highlights EMAS's defining characteristics and illustrates EMAS' stepwise implementation process.
Download "3x3 Good Reasons for EMAS" here.
A new brochure is available on the German EMAS website, designed to help environmental management officers with the implementation of EMAS.
"10 steps to EMAS - A guide for environmental management officers" was released to assist environmental management officers (EMO) with properly working under an environmental management system acccording to the EMAS regulation. In ten chapters, the brochure details the steps that EMOs need to take in the EMAS implementation process and offers advice on maintaining the EMAS system in an organisation. The brochure also provides readers with many tips and practical examples regarding the day-to-day work of an EMO.
The environmental management officer is the central figure in EMAS because he/she is primarily responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the environmental management system.
Download the brochure in German here.
A new training programme has been launched to help Jersey Isle businesses reach an international standard in environmental management.
Titled "EMS Easy", the training will give 11 local businesses a simple and flexible framework and toolkit with which to implement an Environmental Management System that can be verifiable by ISO 14001 or EMAS standards. It will also help the organisations to achieve Eco-Active Business Level three, 'Leader' status.
The new initiative, which was launched in late November, is run by Global Action Plan, the UK's leading environmental behaviour change charity, and hosted by Eco-Active Business in partnership with the Jersey Chamber of Commerce's Sustainable Business Forum.
"The aim of this training is to help more Jersey businesses move through our Eco-Active Business scheme by introducing a comprehensive system to manage environmental aspects including energy, waste, water, carbon and legislation" said Olivia Copsey, Eco-Active Programme Manager. Improving their environmental performance also promises to cut costs and help businesses stand out from the competition.
If the training is successful, it will become an annual event.
European Commission announces 2012 winners of the EMAS Awards.
The theme for this year's EMAS Awards was: "Water management (including water efficiency & water quality)". The six winning organisations displayed excellence in respecting and safeguarding this most precious natural resource. This year's winners are:
The EMAS Awards 2012 ceremony, which was hosted by moderator Katrina Sichel, took place in "Les Ateliers des Tanneurs", an exceptional architectural feature in the heart of Brussels, Belgium. The ceremony was opened by European Commissioner for the Environment Dr Janez Potočnik. In his keynote speech Commissioner Potočnik put this year's EMAS Awards theme in the context of the European Water Year 2012. Mr. Potočnik explained that the European Commission is developing a new strategy for the protection of Europe's water resources and that EMAS registered organisations are already implementing many of the recommended measures and approches. The commissioner emphasized that the EMAS Awards nominees and winners are role models that demonstrate that EMAS as a very useful tool for managing the transition to a more sustainable future.
Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and chair of this year's EMAS Awards jury, also welcomed the audience and particularly highlighted examples of innovative techniques that the nominated organisations are using in their water management. The EEA itself, which is the central source of environment information for EU decision makers, recently drew renewed attention to the need to improve the quality of EU surface waters.
While the audience enjoyed a delicious three-course dinner, the 27 EMAS Awards 2012 nominees and their achievements in water management were presented. The ceremony culminated in the presentation of this year's winners who were handed their trophies by members of the jury. For the first time at the EMAS Awards, the jury decided to additionally honour two of the nominated organisations with special mentions. Although they were not among the winners, Abbott S.r.l. and CESGARDEN, S.L. stood out especially in certain respects. The jury recognized Abbott's environmental statement as the most comprehensive and readable document that they had received and CESGARDEN's water management as particularly integrated and comprehensive.
The environmental impact of the trophies themselves, which were designed by the German artist Floriana M. Ohldag, was minimised by using no chemical glues and by processing materials sustainably.
Congratulations to all winners and nominees!
The winners of the EMAS Awards 2012: representatives from Abwasserverband Anzbach Laabental, Lafarge Cement UK, Neumarkter Lammsbräu, Comune di Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Riechey Freizeitanlagen GmbH & Co. KG and Bristol City Council.
Reminder: sign up now to attend the Awards.
If you have not yet registered to be a guest at the EMAS Awards you only have four more days to do so! There are only a few free seats left.
Please follow the link below to secure your participation at the Awards ceremony http://www.emasawards.adelphi.de/
After the online registration closes on 19 November, last minute applications must be made directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event programme for this year's EMAS Awards ceremony is now online.
There are only two more weeks to go until the grand event at "Les Ateliers des Tanneurs" in Brussels. Moderator Katrina Sichel, who has worked extensively in communication for the European Institutions, will host the evening and present this year's 27 nominated organisations. Awards guests can also look forward to insightful keynote speeches by European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik and the chair of the 2012 EMAS Awards jury, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, who will share her expertise as Executive Director of the European Environment Agency.
You can find the programme on the EMAS Awards website.
Ferrari’s Mugello racetrack in Tuscany is the first of its kind in Italy to be EMAS registered.
Mugello has long been engaged in controlling the environmental impact generated by its activities. It acquired ISO 14001 certification in 2010 and went on to continuously improve its environmental management, using the latest technologies available in the industry. This finally led to the site’s EMAS registration on 15 September 2012.
Mugello has implemented a number of measures to reduce and optimize its resource consumption. Among others, it is now generating energy with photovoltaic cells on the central stand, which allows the organisation to reduce emissions by 200 tons of CO2 a year. It has also built a plant for the treatment of storm water and is collecting rainwater for use in sanitary facilities. Furthermore, Mugello is reducing air pollution through the choice of specific materials for the construction of its new grandstand, and is also managing its indirect environmental impact by raising awareness of environmental issues among its suppliers. Says CEO Paolo Poli: “Adopting an Environmental Management System is not just about the environment and protecting the health of the land, but also about urging all actors in the field to acquire a specific sense of social responsibility: managers, employees, suppliers and users of the system.”
Just in time for its second birthday, the Scandic hotel Berlin Potsdamer Platz got its EMAS registration on 1 October 2012.
"Sustainability was an important part of our overall concept from the beginning,“ explains Hotel Manager Robert Schmiel. The Hotel had already been awarded other environmental certificates, but, says Schmiel: “We are especially proud to receive the EMAS certificate.”
Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz offers an impressive 563 hotel rooms, 19 rooms for special events with up to 1200 guests, two restaurants, a terrasse, bar, fitness area and underground parking lot.
All guest rooms and public areas are furnished with 80% eco-friendly materials; water saving faucets and waste separation in the rooms allow guests to actively contribute to environmental protection; the event rooms are equipped with movement detectors that regulate energy use through lighting. Water is also saved in the gastronomic area that does without tableclothes and cloth serviettes which would need to be washed daily. Most food is made of organic products and guests can rent bicycles from the hotel. And this is to name just some of Scandic Berlin’s environmental management measures. In addition, the hotel is also active regarding company-internal and external social responsibility.
The outstanding environmental performance of Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz that is reflected in their EMAS registration was also given recognition when they were awarded the prize as „Certified Green Hotel of the Year 2012“ by the German Association for Travel Management (VDR) this year.
The European project “BRAVE-Better Regulation aimed at Valorising EMAS” has launched an online survey among EMAS registered organisation to determine the success of the simplification measures introduced in the EMAS III regulation.
The BRAVE project aims to facilitate the adoption of EMAS and other voluntary certification schemes by helping to remove, reduce and simplify the administrative burdens for organisations that are registered with EMAS or other EU schemes. It does so by supporting the full integration of environmental certification schemes in the environmental legislation of EU Member States, and the simplification and improvement of existing regulations as envisioned by the approaches of Better Regulation policies, the latest EMAS Regulation and ECAP priorities. This will especially benefit SMEs by making it easier for them to comply with environmental legislation. In addition, registered organisations are to be granted administrative and economic benefits.
Now the BRAVE implementing organisations, headed by project leader Sant’Anna, an Italian research Institute, have launched a survey to assess the difficulties and advantages experienced by organisations adopting and maintaining EMAS. The survey focuses on the impact of simplification measures, such as regulatory relief, and of better regulation tools, such as the extension of the permit period or the reduction of inspections for SMEs.
Respondents are asked to express their opinion on the relevance and value of existing simplification measures in their countries, at national and at regional level. The survey results will allow the BRAVE partners to promote the introduction of new simplification measures in European environmental legislation and in the Member States. The results will be available on the project site http://www.braveproject.eu/ without reference to specific companies.
You can access the survey here.
The BRAVE project started in October 2011 and will finish in December 2014. It is co-financed by the Life Plus Programme.
Martin’s Central Park Hotel implements EMAS
Want to make your next business trip or holiday in Brussels a bit “greener”? No problem. Now you can stay at Belgium’s first EMAS registered hotel. The Martin’s Central Park Hotel just joined the list of European hotels whose environmental management is up to EMAS standards.
After already registering as an 'Ecodynamic Business', a label issued by the Brussels Institute for Environmental Management, the next logical step was to register with EMAS this year. The hotel’s approach to limiting their environmental impact includes activities and commitments such as the reduction of water, electricity and gas consumption, as well as the reduction of waste, noise and light pollution, and also the rationalisation of transport and of raw materials.
Located in the cosmopolitan and historical heart of Brussels on Boulevard Charlemagne, the Martin’s Central Park Hotel offers a variety of accommodations, from cosy rooms covering all the high-tech needs of business travellers to luxurious suites. There is also a bar and restaurant, and the hotel offers special deals that include sightseeing tours or special events in Brussels.
A UPM pulp mill in Uruguay is the first company site outside of Europe to be included in the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme.
Two years after the last revision of EMAS opened the scheme to world-wide application, UPM is the first organisation to register one of its international sites with EMAS. Along with all of UPM’s European pulp and paper mills the company also introduced EMAS in its Fray Bentos pulp mill in Uruguay and was granted EMAS registration in September of this year.
“We’re delighted to see that EMAS is moving from European to global use and hope that the efforts of UPM to continually improve their environmental performance show the way for other international companies,” states Soledad Blanco, Director of Sustainable Resources Management, Industry & Air at the European Commission’s DG Environment. Tuula Varis, Director General of the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, also applauded UPMs ground-breaking step, explaining: “We believe that openness in environmental reporting is beneficial and should be promoted globally”.
Read more about UPM’s EMAS Global registration in their official press release.
Registration for this year’s Awards ceremony is now open.
Participation at the EMAS Awards 2012 is restricted to 135 guests and will be allocated on a “first come – first served” basis. So sign up now under http://www.emasawards.adelphi.de/ to not miss the most prestigious awards event in environmental management!
In addition, you can also sign up for two exciting side events: an interesting sight seeing tour to the highlights of Brussels, and a visit to an EMAS registered internationally operating automotive company in Brussels the following day.
The programme for the Awards ceremony will soon be posted here on the EMAS Awards website.
The application period for the EMAS Awards 2012 is closed, and we are proud to announce this year’s nominees.
Member States have received many applications from EMAS registered organisations and have officially nominated 27 organisations from 14 European countries in 6 categories.
We thank all participants for their efforts and applications!
This year’s eight jury members have started their work and will evaluate all nominees’ performance with regard to this year’s topic “Water management (including water efficiency & water quality)”.
The nominees have demonstrated their dedication in the field of water management in a number of ways. For example, through innovative ways of using rain water, establishing water cycles, or developing new production technologies that need less water in the first place.
An EMAS Award is the most prestigious award in environmental management and is only handed out to top performing companies and public authorities. The winners of the 2012 edition will be announced at the official EMAS Awards ceremony on 29 November 2012 in the ”capital of Europe”: Brussels, Belgium.
To find out who this year’s nominees are, please visit the facebook page of the Sustainable Production & Consumption Unit of the Directorate-General Environment of the European Commission where the nominees of each category are announced.
You can also find a list of all nominees by category on the official EMAS Awards website. More information about the exemplary ways in which the nominees are managing their water use will also be presented on the website shortly.
Congratulations to all EMAS Awards nominees!
DG Environment is inviting EMAS registered organisations and EMAS environmental verifiers to take part in an online survey concerning the impact an ISO 14001 revision could have on EMAS. The deadline is 31 December 2012.
ISO 14001:2004, the international environmental management system standard, is shortly to undergo its second revision. The European Commission would like to bring a European perspective to the revision process and present the results at official revision meetings.
Since ISO 14001 requirements are already an integral part of EMAS, future revisions of ISO 14001 will also influence the standard’s relation to EMAS. The survey is therefore designed to collect information on how an ISO 14001 revision could:
The results of the survey will be fed into the official ISO 14001 revision process and also provide valuable input for upcoming EMAS revisions.
The revised ISO 14001 standard is set to be finalised in 2015 and will be in effect until the mid-2020s.
Environmental managers of EMAS registered organisations and accredited/licensed EMAS environmental verifiers are invited to take part in the survey under this link:
The 8th EMAS Awards ceremony will take place on 29 November in Brussels, Belgium.
The European EMAS Award is the most prestigious award in environmental management and has been presented to top-performing companies and public authorities since 2005. Every year, the Awards focus on a different aspect of environmental management. This year, EMAS registered organisations will be recognized for outstanding achievements in the field of “Water Management (incl. Water Efficiency and Water Quality)”.
Life is impossible without a sufficient supply of clean water. Water bodies provide drinking water as well as process water for manufacturing goods. Aquatic ecosystems are also habitats for many plants and animal species and contribute to preserving biological diversity.
Therefore, a sound water management is necessary. EMAS puts a strong emphasis on the continuous improvement of registered organisations’ environmental performance. For example, by using the EMAS key environmental core indicator on water, organisations can measure their environmental performance in this area. This provides a basis for managerial decisions that lead to improvement of the water efficiency and the water quality.
From a group of outstanding EMAS organisations from across Europe, an international expert jury will choose the winners of the EMAS Awards in the following six categories:
Information about this year’s venue, jury members, nominees and Awards ceremony programme will also be available shortly on the official EMAS Awards website:
On 19 / 20 June EMAS stakeholders met in Vienna for this year’s Austrian EMAS Conference with a special focus on electromobility. They were joined by German stakeholders who informed attendees about EMAS implementation in Germany in a separate panel. In addition, the Austrian EMAS Awards 2012 were handed out.
The conference programme started the day before with a site visit to the EMAS registered Viennese sewage-works ebs Simmering.
The following day participants came together for a number of information and discussion panels. Experts from Germany and Austria discussed scientific scenarios for a zero-emissions future in the fields of energy and mobility, as well as practical strategies already being developed and applied in the two countries to reduce emissions. In particular, solutions in the field of electromobility were presented – such as vehicles powered by renewable energy sources.
In addition, speakers from the German Ministry for the Environment and from the Schaeffler Group presented information and examples of more general aspects of EMAS implementation in Germany, such as the use of environmental core indicators.
The conference was concluded with the presentation of the 2012 national EMAS Awards for Austria which recognized outstanding achievements in environmental management by EMAS registered organisations as well as the work of environmental verifiers.
The winning organisations were: BAUMANN/GLAS/1886 GmbH, Hackl Container, Pfarre St. Sulpitius in Frastanz, Salzburger Flughafen GmbH, and via donau – Österreichische Wasserstraßen-Gesellschaft mbH.
The work of these environmental managers was recognized: Johann Jachs and Martin Much of the Austrian National Bank; Walter Kogler of Schweighofer – Fiber GmbH; and Gudrun Bannert, Hermann Rauscher and Herwig Otto of voestalpine Schienen GmbH.
The conference itself was certified as a “green meeting” under the Austrian ecolabel scheme.
For further information and a PDF download of the conference programme go to: http://www.emas.gv.at/article/articleview/91345/1/16773/
The conference proceedings are available at http://www.emas.de/fileadmin/user_upload/06_service/PDF-Dateien/EMAS_Konferenz_2012_Wien.pdf
European companies are on track towards Rio+20 goals thanks to EMAS.
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German EMAS Advisory Board (UGA) have just published a flyer highlighting the connections between EMAS and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development’s (Rio+20) goal of a “green economy”.
The concept of the “green economy” focuses on the intersection between environment and economy as one of the most important areas for action if sustainable development is to be achieved. Sustainable development as such emphasises a holistic, equitable and far-sighted approach to decision-making at all levels.
EMAS provides such a systematic approach for “greening” business activities. It gives organisations a practical tool with which they can enhance their business’ success - in achieving good environmental performance, including stakeholders as well as in making a positive contribution to the sustainable development of society as a whole.
Currently, about 1,350 German organisations with approximately 1,900 sites are using EMAS to enhance their environmental performance, credibility and transparency. Within the EU, more than 8,150 sites are EMAS registered. Moreover, since the latest revision of the EMAS Regulation, EMAS is no longer restricted to Europe. Organisations worldwide can now join this star management instrument. This kind of global development is also called for by Rio+20, which emphasizes the need for worldwide efforts to make the global economic system “greener” and more sustainable.
While other internationally applicable standards pertaining to sustainability such as those developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), only provide non-binding recommendations and suggestions, EMAS registered companies are already provably implementing these standards through their management system structures and principles of action.
For instance, the Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, ISO 26000, just like the “green economy” concept, addresses the interrelatedness of social, economic and ecological impacts of the economic system. In implementing EMAS, organisations cover a similarly diverse range of objectives, such as energy efficiency, resource efficiency and social responsibility, including employee involvement. However, EMAS’ robustness - building on environmental core indicators and externally validated environmental statements - make EMAS registered organisation’s improvements continuous, verifiable and, thus, credible.
The flyer is available here.
On 5 June, the EMAS Club of Catalonia held their second annual EMAS Day - an open door activity for the promotion of EMAS and good environmental practices. It was carried out at Parc de la Barceloneta in Barcelona and organized in collaboration with the Municipality of Barcelona.
The aim of the event is to inform the general public about what environmental management is and to provide a platform for Barcelona’s EMAS registered organisations, of which there are currently forty-four. The EMAS day also forms part of the activities that the municipality of Barcelona is carrying out in the framework of their Local Agenda 21 efforts.
The EMAS Day is a perfect chance for EMAS registered organisations and the EMAS Club of Catalonia to make the topic of environmental management more accessible to the public. Visitors are not only sensitised to the efforts being made by their local businesses, but also informed about what they as consumers can do to contribute to environmental protection. Apart from information on how local businesses are using EMAS to continually improve their environmental performance, visitors at this year’s EMAS Day also learned about the scheme through fun games and art activities. In addition, there were different exhibitions on issues such as waste prevention, good environmental practices and eco-labeled products.
EuRid, the European Registry of Internet Domain Names, is the first European top level domain registry (.eu) to be EMAS registered. EuRid introduced EMAS in its headquarters in Brussels in May of this year.
“We are proud of the EMAS seal of approval. It honours .eu’s continual efforts in making the internet more environmentally friendly and shows that sustainability is also an issue for organisations managing cyberspace.” said Marc Van Wesemael, General Manager of EURid.
EURid has been pursuing an environmentally conscious approach for many years in its management of .eu. The registry’s environmental policy is based on the maxim “reduce, reuse, recycle” and pays particular attention to sustainability in its selection of suppliers. The organisation’s EMAS registration particularly acknowledges the following of EURid’s current activities:
You can read more about EuRid’s sustainable activities in their environmental statement: http://www.eurid.eu/files/emaseu.pdf
The Italian government is allocating 2.5 million euro in support of environmental certification. In a recent announcement small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were promised a grant if they adopted an environmental management system.
The grant will vary from 40% to 80% (between 7,500 and 30,000 euro), depending on the type of intervention. Organisations can use it either to register with EMAS or to be certified under the international standard ISO 14001.
"In a market that requires compliance with environmental laws and control of consumption, a system of environmental management and monitoring ensures consistent results and provides significant benefits to businesses”, said Louis Brusamolino, Managing Director for Southern Europe of the BSI Group, a leading global business services organisation which develops, assesses and helps implement standards and management systems.
Brusamolino emphasised the economic benefits for organisations that use environmental management systems. These result mainly from a reduced risk of sanctions for breaching environmental laws and from increased resource efficiency within business operations. Brusamolino also drew attention to a further advantage in relation to consumer perceptions, saying that businesses demonstrating good intentions regarding environmental issues are viewed more favourably by consumers.
Environmental protection pays off financially for hotels! Hotels in Spain that have environmental management systems in place are more profitable than those that do not, according to a recent study from Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR).
Of more than 2,000 Spanish hotels surveyed those that had sustainability certification recorded stronger sales and earnings. “Our findings challenge the often-heard contention that adopting sustainability programmes will diminish hotels’ performance. Instead, these data show the reverse to be the case”, said co-author Rohit Verma, professor at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and CHR’s executive director.
Tourism is a resource-intensive industry that leaves a big footprint on the environment. More and more European hotels are thus adopting environmental management schemes. While the eco-friendly hotels that were surveyed in Spain had adopted ISO 14001 as their eco-management scheme, EMAS includes and goes beyond ISO 14001’s requirements, making it an even more credible and robust environmental management instrument. Dozens of hotels all over Europe have already chosen to upgrade to EMAS. EMAS is particularly strong when it comes to boosting resource efficiency and, in contrast to ISO 14001, EMAS adds value regarding:
A list of EMAS registered hotels is available at
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/pdf/EMAS Registered Hotels List by Country.pdf
ISO 14001, the international environmental management system standard, is shortly to undergo its second revision. Since it was first published in 1996, ISO 14001:2004, Environmental management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, has been adopted by well over 250 000 certified users in 155 countries worldwide. Planned improvements to the standard will bring it closer to EMAS’ requirements, which already include and supersede those of ISO 14001.
Recently, over 40 experts from 25 countries, members of ISO/TC 207, Envi- ronmental management, the ISO technical committee that developed ISO 14001, gathered at the Berlin headquarters of DIN, the German Institute for Standardization, to discuss key issues related to the mandate for the working group responsible for the revision process.
In particular, the working group is to take into account the recommendations made by an expert group (in the final report of the ISO/TC 207 SC 1, Environmental management systems, “Future Challenges for EMS Study Group”). The report evaluates the potential implications of evolving stakeholder expectations and new developments in the field of environmental management systems since 1996. The recommendations flowing from the report’s analyses aim at improving ISO 14001 in many of the field in which EMAS already offers advanced standards in environmental management.
The complete recommendations made by the Future Challenges Study Group can be found at
The EMAS Club Catalonia has created the first network for internal auditors of EMAS registered organisations.
The association of EMAS registered organisations in Catalonia was the first regional EMAS network in Europe. Created in 2006, it now has 57 member organisations.
In March of this year, the Club carried out a joint training session for internal EMAS auditors of some of its EMAS registered member organisations. Following the training, the participating auditors carried out a day of auditing activities in two EMAS registered companies. The auditors who are part of the new network will meet once a year (starting this September) in order to share their experiences and be informed about any issues that could affect EMAS audits (for example items related to the interpretation of the EMAS Regulation, etc.). The auditors will have access to check lists and other documents that will help them to improve upon the tools that they are already using in their audits. In future, the network also plans to develop a system of carrying out cross-audits among the participants so that they can avoid contracting external consultants and thereby reduce EMAS-related costs for their organisations.
More information about the EMAS Club Catalonia can be found here: http://www.clubemas.cat/en/index.html
The German Kuniberg business college and five other schools from Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Czech Republic and Hungary are working together to introduce EMAS in their places of learning.
The idea to introduce EMAS in international schools was put forth by two students of Kuniberg business college. Building on existing networks from previous international environmental projects, the college quickly brought on board its European partner schools and the joint project “EMAS-KNX-EU” received funding from the EU’s Comenius Programme in 2011. The Comenius Programme has been supporting cooperation and exchange between European schools since 1995.
Four teachers and 31 students make up Kuniberg college’s EMAS project team that regularly meets with the other schools’ teams to discuss the steps taken thus far. Following a joint implementation plan, the schools have already conducted environmental reviews and put environmental management systems in place. They have now begun writing their environmental statements. The Finish partner school had previously implemented the international environmental management norm ISO 14001 and thus is able to give the others valuable advice on how to go about conducting environmental reviews or determining environmental objectives.
Between project meetings, the teachers and students communicate via email, videoconferences and the platform eTwinning that connects schools from all over Europe in a virtual classroom. Kuniberg college is also communicating its environmental activities to other colleges in the region via a joint environmental network.
EMAS-KNX-EU has a number of benefits for the participating schools and students: Students’ awareness about sustainability issues is being increased. Once they enter the job market they will be able to transpose what they are learning about environmental management in schools to similar challenges in other organisations. In addition, the international format of the project will equip them with the necessary qualifications to work Europe-wide.
For Kuniberg college, implementing EMAS will allow teachers and students to realise a number of environmental initiatives at the same time and to use the school’s limited resources more effectively for its environmental goals.
Detailed information can be found on the project homepage at www.spse.pilsedu.cz/comenius/EMAS/index.html
This article is based on a news item from the German EMAS Website: www.emas.de/aktuelles/2012/05/emas-knx-eu-emas-connects-you/
On 23 April, Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, gave the keynote speech at the opening of the "Metropolitan Solutions Conference 2012" at Hannover Messe, Germany.
The Metropolitan Solutions Conference, which will take place in fall 2012 under the tagline "Safety and reliability in urban infrastructures", will address the two major challenges faced by the world’s growing cities: to create infrastructures that are safe and reliable, and to develop sustainable urban design that lives up to regional and global responsibilities. This takes into account that urban areas are responsible for 60-80% of global energy consumption and CO2 emissions and four out of five Europeans already live in cities. Moreover, 90% of the world’s future urban population growth will take place in developing countries and millions of people are affected when cities suffer the effects of climate change, like extreme heat or flooding.
The European Commission’s Roadmap for 2050 shows that a low-carbon society that is more sustainable and better adapted to the effects of climate change can be built by further developing technologies that already exist today and by developing and mainstreaming new ways of producing and using energy. The overall objective is to have urban development and climate action go hand-in-hand. In order to support cities in reaching these goals, the EU has launched a variety of actions, from promoting networking and sharing of experience and best practices, to providing financial assistance. For the first time, the EU budget explicitly foresees that climate action would be 'mainstreamed' into all sectors and at least 20% of the EU budget is to be earmarked for climate-related action. The €80bn EU research programme Horizon 2020 will help to identify innovative energy solutions and new concepts of mobility, with a strong focus on urban areas.
More information on the Metropolitan Solutions Conference is available at www.hannovermesse.de/en/metsol-conference
© EU Commission Climate Action
On 30 April, the EU’s three year project “Local Response to Climate Change” (CHAMP) came to an end. The objective of CHAMP was to train and support local and regional authorities in implementing an Integrated Management System (IMS) for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to promote the model Europe-wide.
In order to deliver high-quality support to local and regional authorities a total of seven national training hubs were established thus far in Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Romania. These serve as the main contact points in their country for authorities seeking support in the implementation of an Integrated Sustainability Management System. CHAMP continues to invite new partners to join their growing network of organizations interested in offering IMS trainings to local authorities.
The training hubs are organized within the framework of the European Partnership for Integrated Sustainability Management. The Partnership aims at developing common references and recommendation on IMS implementation within European policies, as well as in management structures and methodologies. This harmonization of European approaches will reflect the fact that sustainable development is a fundamental principle of the EU and promoting sustainable urban development is a vital part of the European Cohesion Policy.
The IMS is based on EMAS III in its structure and requirements. Practical experience with the system has shown that EMAS is a good basis for further developments in sustainability management. Being based on EMAS, IMS’ environmental section is already certifiable, guaranteeing minimum requirements and comparability and providing proof of the tangible advantages made within local and regional authorities. CHAMP has drafted a proposal for the standardization of the entire Sustainability Management System.
CHAMP offers a freely available capacity development package (CDP) for local and regional authorities, which gives a comprehensive overview over available tools in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation and also contains special guidance for auditors and consultants who work with local authorities.
The CDP in English, German, Hungarian, Italian, Finish and Swedish, as well as further information on CHAMP, can be found at www.localmanagement.eu.
EMAS registered organisations are successfully addressing indirect environmental aspects, such as the environmental impact of product life cycles.
Acting as a responsible organisation involves systematic and strategic management of both direct and indirect environmental aspects. EMAS provides registered organisations with practical tools to address both direct environmental aspects such as CO2 emission reductions or waste management and indirect ones such as supply chain or product-related matters.
Especially in the production sector, a product’s life cycle, such as design, packaging, transportation or possibilities for recycling, can cause significant environmental impacts. In order to promote the development of environmentally-friendly products, information about their life cycle impact should be collected and communicated to customers and consumers.
EMAS registered organisations can publish Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) (e.g. based on ISO 14025 – environmental labels and declarations, and ISO 14040 – life cycle assessment). These contain information about the environmental impact that products have on the environment. These EPDs can be validated externally by the independent environmental verifiers in the context of validating the companies’ environmental statements.
The international rail systems manufacturer Bombardier, whose German and an increasing number of other EU sites are EMAS registered, uses EPDs to provide product-related information to stakeholders. Depending on their main use, many of these EPDs are validated according to EMAS requirements.
Further information on Bombardier’s approach can be found at: http://www.bombardier.com/en/transportation/sustainability
On 27 March, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani officially presented the results of the Flash Eurobarometer 342 on “SMEs, Resource Efficiency and Green Markets”. The extensive survey is the first of its kind aimed at understanding the views and attitudes of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) towards resource efficiency and green markets.
Representatives of companies, both SMEs and large companies as reference group, were interviewed across the EU, the US and the ten CIP countries (the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme supports eco-innovation throughout Europe in line with the renewed Lisbon Strategy).
The contribution of SMEs was found to be essential for pursuing EU goals towards sustainable growth. 93% of EU SMEs currently take actions to be more resource efficient, with more than 60% of SMEs saving energy, recycling or minimising their waste, respectively. For a third of SMEs improving resource efficiency is a top company priority. Motivations for taking actions to improve their resource efficiency include financial and fiscal incentives or other forms of public support, creation of a competitive advantage/business opportunity and demand from customers or providers, respectively.
One of the most effective ways to achieve resource efficiency is the application of an environmental management system. Companies have recognized the resulting benefits and reported in the Eurobarometer that their main reasons for employing such a management system are:
EMAS as the premium environmental management instrument is particularly strong in enabling companies to reach this goal.
However, the Eurobarometer found that not many SMEs are taking advantage of this opportunity thus far. A mere 2% of SMEs in the EU are currently EMAS-registered. Only slightly more use ISO 14001 (6%).
More demanding environmental management instruments such as EMAS are still more likely to be used in large companies. Comparatively high implementing- and running costs in particular often are a higher discouragement for SMEs when compared to large(r) companies.
Others reported that they are not yet using an environmental management system because there was ‘No demand from legislation’ (29%), ‘Lack of information (20%) and ‘No demand from customers or suppliers’ (30%).
However, if companies are given more incentives to take up EMAS, once registered, they find that EMAS in fact offers many advantages for SMEs. In contrast to larger companies, SMEs can extend the audit cycle (verification & validation), which significantly reduces administrative and financial costs for them. Various EU Member States also take measures to support SMEs in the EMAS implementation process, such as promoting technical assistance measures, providing support funds specifically adapted to SMEs and facilitating access to information.
The complete report in English and factsheets in all EU languages are available at: /public_opinion/archives/flash_arch_344_330_en.htm
EMAS-registered businesses come in first in the 2011 IÖW/future Ranking of Sustainability Reports of 150 large and 41 small and medium sized German enterprises.
The Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the business initiative future e.V. – Verantwortung Unternehmen (“Business as Responsibility”) have been jointly evaluating sustainability reports of Germany’s 150 largest industrial and service enterprises since 1994. In addition, since 2009 German SMEs (max. 5.000 employees, or max. 500 million EUR annual turnover) have been able to enter their sustainability reports for competition in a separate ranking.
Based on a comprehensive set of social, environmental, management and communication-related criteria, the biannual ranking evaluates independent environmental, sustainability and CSR reports or comparable company reports, and compiles a ranking of the best reporters. The reports must refer to the entire company and cover a clear reporting period.
The 2011 IÖW/future ranking ended with an awards ceremony on 27 February 2012, and EMAS- registered companies took five of the six prizes in the SME category (Neumarkter Lammsbräu, Märkisches Landbrot, Bremer Straßenbahn AG, apetito AG and Studiosus-Reisen GmbH), and came in first and third place among large enterprises (BMW and BASF). Three more large enterprises ranking in the top ten are also EMAS participants: Daimler AG, the Federal Bank of Baden-Württemberg and Volkswagen AG.
Being EMAS-registered has proven to be a clear advantage when it comes to compiling sustainability reports. Having an environmental management scheme in place provides useful tools for systematically documenting the ecological aspects of business activities. SMEs in particular benefitted from their previous experience in writing environmental statements for EMAS, as they were able to use these as a template for evaluating additional social, ecological and economic aspects in their sustainability reports. Thus, 18 of the 41 SMEs participating in the ranking are EMAS-registered.
The selection of the 150 largest enterprises is based on the list of the top 500 German companies compiled by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ; as of July 2009) and covers:
Further information is available at: http://www.ranking-nachhaltigkeitsberichte.de/en.html
The results of the ranking of large companies can be viewed here (in German). The full report will soon be available as well.
On March 20th, a conference titled “Good Environmental Practices in Enterprises” marked the conclusion of the European transregional development project RIFE 2 (Réseau transfrontalier d'Information, de Formation et d'accompagnent d'entreprises à la gestion de l'Environnement). Participants reflected on the successful implementation of environmental management and resource efficiency schemes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the “Grande Région” bordering France, Luxembourg and Belgium.
Over the course of three years, RIFE 2 (Cross-border Network for Information, Training and Support of Enterprises in Environmental Management) developed networks between environmental experts in public research and in chambers of commerce, and local SMEs from Luxemburg and its two neighboring regions of Lorraine (France) and the Province of Luxemburg (Belgium).
Stakeholders shared information about best practices in the fields of environmental management and of water and energy efficiency, and developed strategies for promoting and implementing these in regional SMEs who hadn’t been able to afford the guidance of a full-time environmental consultant.
The 49 participating SMEs were able to choose between a range of available support measures, implementing new environmental strategies according to their respective needs and resources. Among these measures were the EMASeasy methodology, which is a lean and standardised version of EMAS developed particularly to facilitate EMAS registration for small and micro businesses. This methodology, which covers all requirements of EMAS (and/or ISO 14001),is based on the Eco-mapping concept and adapts particularly well to the smaller and less formal organisational structures of small companies.
The Luxemburg Resource Centre for Environmental Technologies (CRTE) trained the business partners and environmental consultants on the EMASeasy methodology< and performed the internal audits in the participating SMEs. As a first step, 9 companies opted to register for the ISO 14001 scheme, but the implementation of the EMASeasy standards will allow them to register for EMAS in the future.
RIFE 2 was co-financed by the European Fund for Regional Development, in the framework of its programme INTERREG, which seeks to improve the effectiveness of regional policies and instruments by promoting interregional cooperation and exchange between economic and policy stakeholders.
Presentations given at the conference can be downloaded here:
Video testimonials of some of the RIFE 2 partners can be viewed here (in French):
On 8 February, the first meeting of the members of the newly founded EMAS Club Europe took place at the Federal Ministry for the Environment in Bonn, Germany. The Club also set the dates for the first regional members’ conferences in Germany and invites all EMAS-registered or soon-to-be-registered companies to join.
The EMAS Club Europe was founded in September 2011 by VNU – Verband für nachhaltiges Umweltmanagment e.V., the German Association for Environmental Management Professionals . The EMAS Club is an exclusive and effective information and discussion forum for EMAS-registered companies. In addition to offering a platform for networking activities between businesses, the Club will also invite environmental experts and representatives of relevant public institutions to its meetings to support Club members with their expertise.
More than eighty company representatives attended the opening conference of the EMAS Club Europe. Experts gave presentations on topics such as CSR, sustainability, and energy efficiency. The European Commission’s EMAS Policy Officer Mr. Hoeve also addressed the Club’s members.
Regional EMAS Clubs already exist in Spain and Italy. Now further regional networks are to be formed, while the EMAS Club Europe offers a platform for exchange between the regional Clubs and gives all European EMAS-registered companies a unified voice vis à vis the European Commission. Membership in the EMAS Club Europe will thus provide companies with a direct connection to policy makers and relevant committees in Brussels, enabling them to actively participate in the further development of the EMAS scheme and receive first-hand information.
A first meeting of EMAS Club Europe representatives with the Commission has already taken place, the result of which will be discussed at the upcoming regional Club meetings, scheduled to take place in western and southern Germany in May.
For information on upcoming EMAS Club meetings and how EMAS-registered/interested companies can sign up, go to http://www.vnu-ev.de/.
In February 2012 the German Federal Cabinet adopted the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) – the first comprehensive programme to address the sustainable use of raw materials. ProgRess aims at continuously increasing raw material productivity in German industry through strengthening voluntary measures and initiatives as well as supporting environmental management systems. EMAS is considered in detail in the programme.
ProgRess provides an overview of existing activities, identifies need for action and describes examples of increasing resource efficiency. The programme approaches Resource Efficiency from the following five angles:
“The [German] Federal Government […] is committed to EMAS as the most comprehensive environmental management and environmental audit system to improve environmental performance. The government recognises EMAS as an excellent tool to increase the resource efficiency of businesses and organizations.”
EMAS provides a systematic, strategic and practical management approach to reduce both the consumption of resources and the related operating costs. In fact, the financial benefit cited most frequently by EMAS-registered businesses is linked to more efficient resource use and reductions in energy consumption. Through the collection of reliable data, EMAS helps analysing input-output flows in the production process and identifying the areas of highest resource consumption (‘hot spots’).
ProgRess supports initiatives in industry and society with measures such as:
German Federal Environment Minister Dr. Norbert Röttgen described the program as a “master plan for sustainable growth”. He emphasized that the efficient use of finite resources was “one of the biggest economic, ecological and social challenges of our time” and a “key competence of future-proof societies”.
The German Resource Efficiency Programme can be downloaded here (in German).
A survey among the 1400 EMAS-registered organisations in Germany is being carried out by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in 2012.
The survey will create a solid data-base of German organisations’ specific experiences with EMAS. On the basis of this detailed and wide-ranging information about EMAS practice, the German Government and the European Commission will be able to better align national and European EMAS measures. At the same time, information from EMAS participants provides impetus for the next revision of the EMAS Regulation.
A similar survey was already carried out by the German Federal Environment Agency in 1999. Its results are summarized in the report “EC Eco-audit in Germany – Field reports 1995-1999” and can be downloaded here (in German).
All German EMAS-registered organisations are encouraged to participate in the survey, which started in March 2012 and is being jointly conducted by Arqum GmbH and Infratest dimap. This is an excellent opportunity for businesses to exert influence on upcoming revisions of the EMAS Regulation, by feeding back to legislators information about the practical challenges and effects of EMAS that registered organisations experience in their daily work. For instance, survey participants will be asked about their participation motives, the cost-effectiveness of EMAS, their experience with the environmental verifier and the verification and validation process, and their wishes for further environmental policy developments.
The results of the survey will be presented in an anonymous form in late 2012 and will be available to participants of the survey in advance. If you have questions about the evaluation or wish to participate in the survey (only organisations which are EMAS-registered in Germany can participate), please send an email with your contact (name, address, email, telephone number) to Arqum at email@example.com.
The standard questionnaire can be viewed here (in German).
The European EMAS Awards are the most prestigious awards in environmental management and have been handed to top companies and public authorities since 2005.
The European Commission has selected the following theme for the 2012 European EMAS Awards:
“Water Management (incl. water efficiency & water quality)”
Life is impossible without a sufficient supply of clean water. Water bodies provide drinking water as well as process water for manufacturing goods. They are also habitats for many plants and animal species and contribute to preserving biological diversity.
Therefore, a sound water management is necessary. EMAS puts a strong emphasis on the continuous improvement of registered organisations’ environmental performance. For example, by using the EMAS key environmental core indicator on water, organisations can measure their environmental performance in this area. This provides a basis for managerial decisions that lead to improvement of the water efficiency and the water quality.
Overview of next steps:
© Floriana M. Ohldag, 2011.
By switching off your lights for one hour (20:30-21:30), on Saturday, March 31, you acknowledge and celebrate your commitment to do something more for the planet.
The European Commission supports this action by symbolically switching off the lights at the facades of the main Commission's buildings in Brussels. Will you join us?
To go "beyond the hour", you simply have to re-consider your daily actions and opt for "greener" alternatives…the EMAS way!
In 2007, the first ever Earth Hour event took place in Sydney, Australia. In Sydney, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour to take a stand against climate change.With the invitation to ‘switch off’ extended to everyone, Earth Hour quickly became an annual global event. It’s scheduled on the last Saturday of every March. In 2011, Earth Hour saw hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries “switch off” for an hour.
Further information on the Earth Hour 2012 is available at http://www.worldwildlife.org/sites/earthhour/index.html
The official Earth Hour 2012 video is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FovYv8vf5_E
There are many good reasons for registering with EMAS, the premium environmental management scheme. In February 2012 France’s Environment Ministry (Ministère de l’Écologie, du développement durable, des transports et du logement), the French EMAS Competent Body, produced a brochure on the characteristics, benefits and experiences of organisations registered with EMAS.
The eight-page publication summarises the key benefits of EMAS, including the credibility ensured by legal compliance checks and independent, third-party verification of environmental performance plus the transparency ensured by the use of standardised environmental Key Performance Indicators and the environmental statement which registered organisations publish annually.
The brochure emphasizes five arguments showing why EMAS is a perfect environmental management instrument for French organisations:
Six testimonials from organisations of different sizes and sectors in France report on their positive experience with EMAS.
To give interested organisations a head start, the brochure lists in a very straight forward way the steps necessary for registering under the scheme.
The French Ministry has also opened up an EMAS section on its web site and will soon provide an extranet extension for the benefit of French registered organisations.
The brochure is available here.
The 12th “Green Week”, Europe’s biggest annual conference on environmental policy, will take place from 22 to 25 May 2012 in Brussels, Belgium. This year's theme is "Water".
Access to fresh water is already critical in some parts of the world. Due to an increasing world population the situation is expected to become even worse. Water must be used properly and sparingly, and water pollution of needs to be avoided.
The Green Week offers a unique opportunity to share experiences, exchange ideas, debate best practices and network with environmental professionals. The conference is meant to enhance discourse on ideas, products and innovations in regard to the challenges of water scarcity and pollution. Last year’s occasion attracted more 3,100 participants from government, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and the media.
This year Green Week’s debating sessions and workshops will be accompanied by an exhibition of over 50 stands representing green business projects, NGO activities and public authority programmes. Applications for a stand at the Green Week Exhibition can still be made (via the web link below).
As the Conference itself is located in Brussels, the European Commission will support a range of “satellite events” all over the European Union. Examples are open door days, seminars, and youth initiatives which are related to water. It is still possible to hand in proposals for satellite events. So, join the debate on how to protect the vital resource, water!
Further information is available at /environment/greenweek/
An English version of the “7 Good Reasons for EMAS” brochure is now available. It was prepared by the Office of the German EMAS Advisory Board (Umweltgutachterausschuss, UGA), and is based on the German publication “7 gute Gründe für ein Umweltmanagement nach EMAS”. It summarizes seven advantages of being registered under EMAS.
After a short introduction outlining objectives, characteristics and the legal background to the scheme, the brochure lists seven aspects of EMAS that contribute to an improved environmental performance. Testimonials from EMAS registered organisations of different sizes, branches and types make the case for the scheme. The seven good reasons are:
The English version of the brochure is available at: http://www.emas.de/fileadmin/user_upload/06_service/PDF-Dateien/7-good-reasons-for-EMAS.pdf (in English)
The German version of the brochure is available at: http://www.emas.de/aktuelles/2011/11/aktualisierung-und-uebersetzung-der-broschuere-7-good-reasons-for-emas/
The Committee of Sustainability and Health (Comité de Développement durable en Santé, C2DS) and the French Ministry of the Environment are cooperating to support organisations in the French medical sector in the EMAS registration process.
Last November the C2DS launched a new EMAS project aimed at medical facilities. The C2DS encouraged its member organisations to consider registering with EMAS. Seventeen hospitals, retirement homes and similar organisations immediately responded to this appeal. At the initial meeting on 5 January, 2012 representatives of these 17 made a commitment to carry out a “dry run” audit within the next twelve months in preparation for the EMAS verification and validation process.
The C2DS is an association of organisations in the French medical sector that pays particular attention to sustainable development. The French Ministry of the Environment and the C2DS are going to share the costs of the programme.
The 17 organisations eager to continuously improve their environmental performance are:
Further information is available at: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/Le-C2DS-accompagne-17.html
The European Commission is holding consultations as part of a review of its policies on sustainable consumption and production. The consultations provide a forum for citizens and organisations to share their views and opinions on future sustainable consumption and production measures in the European Union (EU). Stakeholders have an opportunity to do this before the measures are decided upon. We encourage you to support the European Commission in its endeavours and to participate in the consultation before 3 April 2012.
Sustainable consumption and production maximise a business's potential to transform environmental concerns into economic opportunities and provide a better deal for consumers. The challenge is to improve the overall environmental performance of products throughout their life-cycle, to boost the demand for better production technologies and products, and to help consumers in making informed choices.
Via an online questionnaire, the European Commission would like to gather substantial input and additional information on how EU policies in the following four fields can be improved and extended:
About half of the 50 questions included in this consultation are geared towards the general public; the other half are directed toward specialized interest groups such as public authorities and organisations.
Further information is available at: /environment/consultations/sustainable.htm
The EMAS Awards 2011 were handed out in Cracow, Poland on 17 November 2011. As illustrated below a wide variety of media channels picked up the event and praised the excellent performance of the EMAS Awards winners and nominees. The focus theme this year was the engagement of the EMAS organisations with their stakeholders.
Daily newspapers at the local, regional and even national levels, in printed and online newsletters, scientific journals and on radio mentioned the EMAS Awards 2011. The event was also covered by various specialised media like specific web portals (in most cases dealing with ecological issues). Finally most nominees actively communicated about recent developments around their nomination as well The EMAS Awards, are considered to be the “Environmental Oscar” (see picture below).
The German Ministry of Environment dedicated a specialised ceremony to all national candidates that participated in the European finals. Germany was the only member state to have an organisation nominated in every category. German organisation were even winners in two of the six categories. The Federal Ministry of the Environment acknowledged this and invited the representatives of all six organisations to Berlin, where the Environment Minister Dr. Norbert Röttgen explicitly honoured the winners and nominees as EMAS role models and environmental forerunners (see picture below). The ministry published an article containing comprehensive information about the ideas, procedures and importance of this German EMAS Awards Ceremony on its homepage.
Further information on the event at the German Ministry of the Environment is available at: http://www.bmu.de/wirtschaft_und_umwelt/unternehmensverantwortung_csr/emas/doc/48086.php
German Federal Minister for the Environment (fourth from the left in the front row) honours 25 EMAS registered organisation that applied for the 2011 EMAS Awards on 2 December 2011.
© Federal Ministry of the Environment, 2011
News on Salzburg Airport: “Oscar-Nacht der Umwelt“ / “Night of the Environmental Oscars“
© Salzburg Airport, 2011
MAN is famous for producing strong trucks and buses. The company also shows strong commitment to the environment. MAN Poland kindly invited participants at the EMAS Awards 2011 ceremony to take a guided tour through their brand new EMAS registered production plant in Niepolomice in Poland. The event took place on 18 November 2011.
Among companies in transport-related engineering MAN is a pioneer with regard to sustainability. The multinational enterprise follows an integrative approach whereby sustainability considerations are embedded in all business units and processes. The strategy focuses on three specific fields of action: economy, environment and people.
EMAS takes center stage in the Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy. Seven MAN production plants in Germany and Austria are EMAS registered. In October 2011 the organisation opened its third factory in Poland. The production site in Niepolomice has the capacity to manufacture 15,000 trucks per year. The site is EMAS registered to ensure that the highest environmental standards are met and legal compliance is guaranteed. Many participants followed the invitation to visit the MAN plant. The MAN site manager elucidated the practical implementation of EMAS in the plant. During the tour the participants were offered a closer look into the practical aspects of improving the plant’s environmental performance on a continuous basis.
The motivation for MAN Niepolomice to 'embrace' an Environmental Management System according to EMAS were the focus on legal compliance and the identification of possibilities to improve their environmental performance. MAN identified that following significant environmental aspects in the production process: waste (e.g. stemming from packaging of supplying goods), energy consumption (e.g. electricity for lighting and heating) and water consumption (e.g. used for cooling purposes). Furthermore, systematic monitoring of significant environmental aspects enables MAN to compile a comprehensive public environmental statement including certain sector-relevant key performance indicators. The environmental statement is used to engaging with local stakeholders and people living in the vicinity of the production plant.
Among other innovations, the revised EMAS Regulation (“EMAS III”) introduces the concept of Sectoral Reference Documents (SRD). SRD help EMAS registered organisations in the drive towards environmental excellence. An indicative list of priority sectors for the SRDs was published in December 2011.
EMAS is the premium environmental management standard. Its main focus is on improving registered organisations’ environmental performance. SRD play an important role in achieving this objective. They identify best environmental management practices, sector specific environmental performance indicators and set benchmarks of excellence and rating systems identifying environmental performance levels.
On 8 December the European Commission officially adopted a working plan setting out an indicative list. The official Communication from the Commission is published in the Official Journal.
For the full text visit:
The working plan indicates the priority sectors for which the European Commission will develop SRD the coming years.
The main criteria for the selection of the sectors included in the indicative list were the following:
SRD will pay close attention to the needs of small- and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), as some of the sectors are characterized by a large number of SMEs.
SRD are produced on behalf of the European Commission by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), which is part of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.
Further information on the status of the SRD is available at: http://susproc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/activities/emas/index.html
EMAS is now globally applicable. At the end of 2011 the European Commission published an official guidance document about EMAS Coorporate and EMAS Global. The document outlines the provisions for the EMAS registration of multiple sites in- and outside Europe. This offers a great opportunity for organisations to implement the premium environmental management standard at their sites worldwide.
Companies with international business interests such as multinational enterprises and suppliers are under constant scrutiny by governments, consumers, civil society organisations, the media and other stakeholders all over the world with regard to their environmental performance all over the world. Companies tackling environmental management systematically with EMAS can enhance competitiveness and make sure that their reputation and brand image is protected worldwide.
On 7th December 2011 the European Commission published the “COMMISSION DECISION concerning a Guide on EU Corporate Registration, Third Country and Global Registration under EMAS” in the Official Journal. Informally the document is often referred to as the “EMAS Global Guide”. .
You can find it under the full link: http://bit.ly/uSb7f7
To improve the applicability of EMAS and to strengthen its outreach, three new registration modes are available in addition to the ‘classical’ EU Registration. This leads to two registration modes focusing on registrations within Europe and two EMAS registration modes with a transboundary scope, affecting not only European countries but any country in the world:
Existing registration mode:
EU Registration: an organisation registers site(s) individually in the European country in which it (they) are located.
EU Corporate Registration: allows an organisation to register multiple sites from different European countries under one corporate registration procedure in one (leading) country of registration. Organisations can use one registration number and streamline their auditing and reporting processes.
Global Registration: an organisation registers its site(s) in one or more third countries outside Europe.
Global Corporate Registration: a combination of EU Corporate and Global Registration. It allows an organisation to register its sites located in one or more European countries and in one or more non-European countries under one corporate registration procedure in one (leading) country of registration. Organisations can use a single registration number and streamline their auditing and reporting processes.
On 17 November 2011, six organisations were announced as winners of the European EMAS Awards for excellence in environmental management. The 2011 edition focused on stakeholder involvement, leading to continuous improvement.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said: “The environmental challenges we face today concern us all and they require joint action. I congratulate the winners – and all the nominees – on their commitment to improving the environment. I trust that their innovative solutions and successful involvement of different stakeholders will inspire others to follow suit.”
The event took place in Cracow’s Wieliczka Salt Mine, which is listed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. The participants embarked on a journey below ground level to the ceremony venue, the impressive Warszawa Chamber. Over a delicious four-course menu, all the nominees for the 2011 EMAS Awards were presented followed by the presentation of the winners. Here is a summary and a photo gallery of the evening.
The trophy (on the left) was designed by the German Artist Floriana M. Ohldag. Both the materials of which the Award is made and the “green” production process reflect the environmental focus of the EMAS Awards. The EMAS can truly be considered an 'Environmental Oscar'. Jeremy Wates of the European Environmental Bureau, chairman of a jury of eight independent international experts in environmental management, presented the EMAS Awards 2011 to the winners.
Belvas Organic Chocolate (Belgium) won the EMAS Award 2011 in the category “micro-organisation”. The company is a Belgian chocolate manufacturer with a strong belief in organic agriculture and fair-trade. Input from experienced suppliers is used to improve resource efficiency in the production process.
The EMAS Award 2011 in the second category “small organisation” was presented to KNEISSLER Brüniertechnik GmbH (Germany). A family business offering chemical surface treatment services, Kneissler’s strong environment performance mainly rests upon active involvement of employees in environmental management. Employees with excellent environmental improvement suggestions are rewarded at the end of each year.
Austria’s ebswien hauptkläranlage received the EMAS Award 2011 in the category “medium-sized organisation”. Vienna’s wastewater treatment plant makes an important contribution to the protection of the environment by taking care of Vienna’s wastewater. ebswien hauptkläranlage stands out for their excellent communication and education work.
The EMAS Award 2011 in the category “large organisation” went to EUROBANK EFG, Greece. Within the multi-site organisation, Environmental Officers and Deputy Environmental Officers have been appointed in every branch and in key business units. The bank also actively promotes sustainable business practices in its sector.
The Fritz-Erler-Schule Pforzheim (Germany) won the EMAS Award in the category “small public organisation”. About 2,000 students are offered numerous opportunities to become active in the field of ecology. Teachers and suppliers are also actively engaged in environmental protection.
The local authority responsible for the administration of the Municipality of Ravenna, Italy, involves employees and stakeholders through a dynamic participatory process. Green procurement, focusing on the purchasing of recycled paper, school furniture made of certified materials and other items, is a crucial element in the organisation’s environmental policy. Ravenna won the EMAS Award 2011 in the category “large public organisation”.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +49 (0)30 89 000 68 83.
All pictures © European Commission, 2011.