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 all the information in this section. Additional information should be requested directly from the contact person.
Druckerei Kern GmbH in Bexbach implements energy efficiency innovation for printing
Everyday printing operations require printers to be switched on and off continuously. Presses at Druckerei Kern now offer a new standby function: operators can easily switch to energy-saving mode that significantly reduces CO2 emissions even during short idle times.
This is not the only effort Druckerei Kern makes to improve environmental performance. The management board is aware of the special responsibility they face as a paper processing company. Therefore, they launched the ‘Kern goes green’ campaign demonstrating the company's commitment to sustainable production. In recent years, Druckerei Kern has taken big steps towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable production, using modern manufacturing and process optimization. By doing so, the company was able to reduce waste and to halve the use of chemicals for printing plates manufacturing and the content of alcohol for offset printing. Moreover, according to the EMAS Environmental Statement for 2014, the company reduced the production of paper by 30% between 2011 and 2013.
For Druckerei Kern, going green is one of its leading principles. The company is EMAS registered and holds the ISO 9001 certification for quality management. In addition, Druckerei Kern has both the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) certifications. Kern also offers customers the opportunity to ship their products and mailing climate friendly with GoGreen, a service of the Deutsche Post DHL for CO2-neutral shipping.
No wonder Druckerei Kern was yet again in 2014 among the finalists of the Druck&Medien Awards granted on a yearly basis by independent magazine Druck&Medien to reward the best companies, core competences and people in the printing and media industry in Germany. Congratulations!
For more information about the “Kern goes green” campaign, click here.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Berlin is “Germany's leading business hotel”
The EMAS registered hotel Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Berlin became best business hotel in Germany according to this year's World Travel Awards. The hotel located in the heart of Berlin was elected not only for its combination of quality service and superior products & equipment, but also for its commitment to sustainability and environmental protection.
Along with its fully equipped rooms with a minimum size of 40 square meters, oversized bathtubs, floors and walls made of Portuguese and Italian marble and under floor heating, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Berlin is one of the pioneers in the fields of corporate sustainability: it is the first five-star-superior hotel in Europe that combines exclusive luxury with sustainability and is in compliance with the high standards of EMAS. An internally recruited Ritz-Carlton Environmental Action Conservation Team - short REACT - ensures compliance with guidelines and continuous performance improvement. Among the measures implemented are a new energy-efficient lighting concept, the switch to 100% green electricity, a water conservation program, and extensive recycling programs. In-house bred bee-colonies produce organic honey for the guests. Additionally, an internal Community Footprints Team supports year-round social and educational institutions and charity events.
The World Travel Awards are awarded every year since 1993 for outstanding achievements in the travel and tourism industry and they are often described as the “Oscars” of the travel industry. The selection is made based on a survey to independent experts from the travel industry. The official World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony took place this year in Athens. By winning “Germany's Leading Business Hotel” the Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, is automatically nominated for the World's Leading Business Hotel to be awarded in November 2014 in Marrakech.
To discover the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Berlin visit its website under: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/de/Properties/Berlin/Default.htm
If you are planning to go on holidays but haven’t had time to sort out the details yet, EMAS can help you find the perfect accommodation! Online you can now check the EMAS Accommodation Factsheet with a complete list of EMAS registered hotels, short stay accommodation, campgrounds and other accommodation. If you also want to take care of the environment outside of your work routine, choose EMAS Accommodation for a guarantee of transparency, credibility and excellent environmental performance while enjoying your time off!
More than 200 touristic establishments all over the European Union are EMAS registered. They are willing to go the extra mile and not only provide their clients with high quality standards but also guarantee excellent environmental performance. They aim at rewarding the trust that you put in them, and they want to improve your experience and contribute to a more sustainable world. Introducing an environmental management system is always a good option, implementing EMAS - the most comprehensive and demanding environmental certification – is the best option. After one year of hard work, don’t you think you deserve the best for you and your family?
Take a look at the EMAS Accommodation Factsheet for a complete list of EMAS registered accommodation and enjoy your holidays!
On 17 July, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission launched a call for tenders for Technical support on Best Environmental Management Practice in the Fabricated Metal Products Manufacturing Sector. The aim of the project is to collect information on Best Environmental Management Practices (BEMPs), Environmental Performance Indicators and preliminary proposed Benchmarks of Excellence. The project also calls for the creation of a list of experts for improving the environmental performance of the fabricated metal products manufacturing sector.
The outcome of the technical support work will be used for the development of the Sectoral Reference Document (SRD) on best environmental management practice, environmental performance indicators and benchmarks of excellence for the fabricated metal products sector. SRDs aim to promote best environmental practice and support organisations that wish to improve their environmental performance by providing them with information on how to do so, how to measure/monitor the progress made, and how to benchmark their environmental performance. Developed for specific sectors identified as high priority, the SRDs focus on sector-specific environmental performance indicators, i.e. indicators that go beyond the six general core indicators described in the EMAS Regulation, which can be applied to all kinds of organisations (energy efficiency; material efficiency; water; waste; biodiversity and emissions).
The deadline for submitting offers is the 24th September 2014 while the opening of the proposals received is scheduled to take place on the 1st of October 2014.
More information is available at: https://web.jrc.ec.europa.eu/callsfortender/index.cfm?action=app.tender&id=2641&instdir=3582
World Environment Day on the 5th of June became a special event in Barcelona, as the main tourism board, Turisme de Barcelona, held an event to promote sustainable tourism. In the city’s main information office in Plaça Catalunya, visitors could find suggestions and recommendations for enjoying the city in a sustainable manner. They also received information about the EMAS and EU Ecolabel tourism organisations.
Barcelona organisations work to protect the environment day after day in numerous sectors, ranging from public transport to gastronomy. The Slow Food movement and the farm-to-table km 0 project both promote healthier and more sustainable ways of farming and eating. The city is also aiming to be the world’s electric vehicle capital and promotes non-polluting public transport. It has even worked to provide additional space for pedestrians and cyclists. Barcelona was the first Spanish regional capital to introduce special speed limits on access routes to the city and is one of the few large urban areas to achieve the maximum reduction in water use.
World environment day was an excellent opportunity for educating tourists and visitors on reducing their environmental impact through careful choices. Barcelona is exemplary because it was the first city in the world to be awarded Biosphere certification, recognizing the city as a sustainable tourism destination.
Barcelona has 40 EMAS registered organizations (including museums, theatres, touristic accommodations and language schools), one tourism accommodation with the EU Ecolabel and four with the Catalan ecolabel.
Going beyond the 5th of June, Turisme de Barcelona reinforces its commitment to the promotion of sustainable tourism in the city with the programme Barcelona Sustainable Tourism. This program encourages the participation of enterprises that are working to ensure environmental, cultural and socio-economic sustainability. This is particularly important because Barcelona is one of the top 10 destinations cities for international overnight visitors. This year, Barcelona reached the figure of 7.5 million tourists in hotels for the very first time.
Experience Barcelona in an environmentally friendly way! Visit: www.barcelonaturisme.com/sustainable.
The EMAS Evaluation Study questionnaire for EMAS-registered organisations will be available for EMAS stakeholders for the next four weeks
Since Thursday 5 June, EMAS-registered organisations have been able to participate in an online survey as part of the EMAS Evaluation Study being conducted by the Institute of Management at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Italy) and adelphi (Germany) on behalf of the European Commission. The EMAS organisations have received a link to the questionnaire via e-mail. The survey will help support the aim of the study, which is to evaluate the implementation of EMAS with a view to assessing whether or not a 2015 revision of the EMAS Regulation is recommended.
Among other topics, the study will evaluate EMAS's contribution to sustainable production and consumption policy goals, the perception and role of the scheme among the different stakeholders, and the institutional setting adopted by DG Environment. This questionnaire is just one of several methods employed by the researchers, but it is a crucial source of information for eventual decisions on the future of EMAS.
All EMAS-organisations are thus encouraged to participate and report their opinions on and experience with EMAS!
Inspired by EMAS, Belgian company mcsKick&Rush shows their clients how to play environmentally friendly football!
One of the European leaders in the promotional product and textile industry, mcsKick&Rush were two companies now united under the MCS Group. As part of their promotional work, the company calls their clients’ attention to such items as promotional pens, caps, textiles and media. According to environmental manager Mohamed Akariou, since becoming EMAS-registered in 2012, mcsKick&Rush has placed even more emphasis on promoting environmentally friendly products.
EMAS has not only helped the company recognize and request green aspects in its products, but also in its supply chain. When visiting fairs and factories in other countries, mcsKick&Rush knows which green certificates to look for – and also what they won’t accept. They have even created a special department that checks the certificates and norms for all products.
While staying serious about environmental improvement, the company also manages to discover some fun green products to promote. Two that particularly stand out are the Sprout, a pencil that grows into a plant once you’ve finished using it, and the Kartoni, a table football game made entirely from cardboard. These popular products take aim at reducing waste even in the most unlikely places.
To find out more about mcsKick&Rush - or to find out how to order some plant pencils for your own EMAS-registered company - visit their website. To see a video news report (in German) about the football table, click here.
As part of their plan to involve and educate employees on environmental issues, the Foundation has rented out bees!
As one of the largest public cultural organisations in Europe, the German Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes) aims to promote innovation and creativity both in the arts and in daily life. So it should come as no surprise that, with the support of its EMAS environmental management system, the Foundation is also coming up with interesting ways to call attention to pressing environmental problems!
When the Foundation became EMAS-registered in 2011, a major reason behind their decision was the desire to motivate and involve employees in learning about and continually reducing their environmental impacts. This year, the Cultural Foundation decided that one way to do that was to rent a beehive! Since May, the Foundation’s courtyard in the city of Halle has been the proud home to a number of bees. The employees have named the colony “Asta”. The Asta bees fly around several kilometres of the surrounding area, pollenating flowers and bringing a little bit of nature into the city.
Considering the challenges that bees worldwide are currently facing, the Cultural Foundation’s decision couldn’t be timelier. According to the organisation’s website, in Germany alone the number of bees has sunk by half in the past twenty-five years. As the German Federal Cultural Foundation so creatively demonstrates, being EMAS-registered involves reducing not only your own organisation’s environmental impact, but also raising general awareness of the importance of environmental issues. Maybe other EMAS organisations will start renting out bees, too!
The annual Green Week conference highlights connection between ecological innovation and improved environmental performance.
This week, from 3-6 June, over 3000 participants from all over the world will gather in Brussels to discuss and learn about greening the future. Among the many distinguished key speakers will be EU Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik; Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency; and Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. In addition to discussing the speakers' insights, conference participants will also be able to visit a 40-stand exhibition demonstrating best practice environmental approaches and even test-drive electric cars!
The 2014 conference is being held under the theme of “Circular economy – saving resources, creating jobs”, an especially relevant topic for EMAS-registered companies. As part of a new Green Economy, environmental management systems represent an important step for organisations to take towards reducing waste and lowering their environmental impacts. As witnessed in the EMAS Awards, EMAS can also help spur innovation, allowing organisations - and in many cases, whole industries - to benefit economically as well as ecologically from their sustainability efforts.
In the words of Commissioner Potočnik, "Europe's competitiveness will be determined by its ability to use resources efficiently and there will be no place for waste...That means innovative products designed to last, to be repaired and to be recycled, and business models to match." For thousands of companies throughout Europe, EMAS is one step on this road to a circular economy!
This prestigious prize for German companies will reward outstanding examples of material efficiency in September.
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi ), the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA) is now accepting applications for its 2014 Resource Efficiency Award. The Award will honor four medium-sized companies with a €10,000 prize for their excellent examples of raw material and material-efficient products, processes or services. One research institute will also be recognized for its application-oriented research results.
Scientific research institutes and companies with up to 1000 employees can apply for the prize. Last year's winners include the Protektorwerk Florenz Maisch GmbH & Co. KG, a construction supply manufacturing firm who introduced a new process for dry wall manufacturing and Adamec GmbH, a recycling company who developed a new process for separating materials recovered from electronic devices. These innovations are economically important in the German manufacturing sector, where materials make up nearly 40% of costs. A reduction in materials use thus presents an excellent opportunity for companies to combine their economic and environmental goals.
It would be great if one of the more than 1200 EMAS-registered organisations in Germany could take home the prize!
For more information on how to apply, visit the Award's website at DERA German Resource Efficiency Award 2014.
New European Directives include optional green criteria for public procurement
At the end of March, two new European Directives on public procurement - Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement and Directive 2014/25/EU on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors - were published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Directives encourage the consideration of relevant environmental, social and labour law when awarding contracts.
As a result of the new legislation, public contracting authorities can exclude the company submitting the lowest bid if the firm in question does not comply with existing national, European and international environmental law. They can also request that environmental management measures be applied during the performance of a contract. Although the companies do not have to adopt or employ EMAS to meet the requirements, EMAS is certainly an excellent opportunity for a company to show that it meets the technical stipulations of the contract.
Both Directives also promote the determination of life cycle costs, including internal costs and costs related to environmental factors. In addition to requiring the products or services they purchase to have certain technical qualities, the public bidding procedure may also require that the bidder's manufacturing process is low in hazardous substances or employs energy-efficient equipment.
EMAS-registered companies' independently verified environmental statements should allow EMAS organisations to easily prove that they meet these criteria, continuing with their success in public procurement!
Commissioner Potočnik highlights how EMAS has reduced the Commission’s waste generation.
Every year, millions of tonnes of litter end up in oceans, beaches, forests and elsewhere in nature. The primary causes are our societies’ unsustainable production and consumption patterns, poor waste management strategies and the population’s lack of awareness. In order to reduce littering and to give visibility to the issue, the EWWR (European Week for Waste Reduction) has coordinated Europe-wide annual clean-up day initiatives.
As part of the first “Let’s Clean Up Europe” initiative, held this year from 8-10 May 2014, up to 100 volunteers from the European Commission gathered last week for an “EMAS in the Commission” action. They picked up litter at four locations near the Commission buildings. One group from DG Environment, including European Commissioner for the Environment Janos Potočnik, succeeded in cleaning up 143 kilogrammes of garbage!
Following the Action, Commissioner Potočnik spoke about the important issue of waste reduction and management, praising EMAS for helping the Commission reduce waste generation per person by 21% over the past eight years. The clean-up action was also coordinated by the EMAS team within the Commission, in cooperation with Bruxelles Environnement. In the spirit of EMAS, the Action also included information sessions on how to sort waste.
Commission volunteers clean up Brussels! ©European Commission/Sabine Schmitz
To read about the “Let’s Clean Up Europe” initiative, including its emphasis on reducing patterns of waste production in society, click here. Since this Initiative is planned as an annual event, even more EMAS organisations may want to get involved next year!
The newly adopted directive requires certain large organisations to report environmental impacts, among other non-finanical information.
On April 15, the European Parliament voted to adopt the Directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information, amending Directive 2013/34/EU. The legislation requires certain large organisations employing more than 500 people to address environmental and social impacts, human rights, diversity, anti-corruption and bribery in their management reports. It will affect nearly 6000 organisations in the European Union.
Although small and medium-sized enterprises are exempted in order to avoid undue administrative burden, EMAS-registered SMEs can take pride in already meeting the environmental impact requirements of the Directive. Larger companies can expect to experience over time many of the same benefits tied to environmental management systems, including better performance, improved relations with stakeholders, and a more informed managerial decision-making process.
The requirements can, for example, be fulfilled using international, European or national guidelines such as the UN Global Compact, ISO 26000 or the German Sustainability Code. Apart from that EMAS presents an excellent possibility for meeting the Directive's environmental requirements.
The Directive is expected to enter into force after its anticipated adoption by the European Council and publication in the EU Journal in the next few weeks.
A study recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production shows advantages for EMAS organisations.
A recent edition of the Journal of Cleaner Production included an article entitled “EMAS and ISO 14001: the differences in effectively improving environmental performance” by Testa, Rizzo and Daddi of the School of Management at Italy’s Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. These researchers carried out a comparison of organisations certified only under ISO 14001 and those using EMAS. Focusing on environmental performance as indicated by carbon dioxide emissions, the study looked at over 200 Italian facilities that operated in energy-intensive sectors and evaluated trends in their carbon dioxide emissions over a three-year period.
At first, the numbers did not look as good for EMAS. Organisations that were certified under ISO14001 only were more successful at reducing their carbon dioxide emissions in the first year. However, slow and steady wins the race: after the third year of environmental reporting was taken into account, EMAS organisations showed higher rates of carbon dioxide reduction than the companies that only had ISO14001 certifications.
The researchers hypothesized that this difference could be the result of EMAS’s more stringent requirements, including the stipulation that EMAS-registered organisations must show continuous environmental improvement. Although EMAS may be more difficult to implement in the beginning, the study showed greater results for EMAS-registered companies over time.
This study is just one of several research projects focusing on EMAS, some of which may seek to reproduce its results. The EC’s upcoming EMAS Evaluation Study, set to be available in early 2015, is expected to shed more light on the performance of EMAS-registered organisations. It will also include valuable information on the success of various aspects of the EMAS scheme and contain recommendations for potential future revisions of EMAS.
For more information about the article “EMAS and ISO 14001: the differences in effectively improving environmental performance”, check out the Journal of Cleaner Production or this EC news alert: /environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/366na4.pdf.
The year’s biggest EMAS event was held on 7 April, awarding prizes to six outstanding EMAS-registered organisations for their recent eco-innovations.
This week, European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik handed out the 2014 EMAS Awards at the historic New Town Hall in Hanover, Germany. The ceremony’s keynote speakers included not only Commissioner Potočnik but also the mayor of Hanover, Stefan Schostok, and the chair of the 2014 EMAS Awards Jury, Elisa Tonda. Representatives of the 29 nominated organisations, stemming from 14 Member States, were also in attendance.
These participating organisations were nominated by the Competent Bodies of the Member States. The jury, comprised of eight EMAS experts from four different countries, examined the applications and selected the winners in six categories: large, medium, small and micro private organisations, and large and small public organisations. Two additional organisations were awarded honourable mentions for their excellent eco-innovations.
The winning organisations displayed an impressive range of eco-innovations and a deep commitment to EMAS. Their innovation measures ranged from constructing the first public energy-neutral house in Germany to new educational training programs about EMAS and the environment to producing BBQ briquettes from olive pits, thereby reducing both emissions and waste. Other innovations include a brand new, eco-friendly washing system for floor mats, applying a holistic life cycle approach to producing railway switches, and using a membrane bioreactor plant to treat wastewater..
The following EMAS-registered organisations took home a winner's trophy from the 2014 EMAS Awards:
In addition, two more very impressive organisations received honourable mentions. himolla Polstermöbel and Druckerei Lokay, both of Germany, were recognized for their excellent eco-innovation practices as well as their commitment to a continuous improvement of their organisation’s environmental performance.
Congratulations to all the 2014 EMAS Awards Winners and the two honourable mentions!
The 2014 EMAS Awards Nominees ©European Commission
And to learn more about all the nominees and their impressive eco-innovations, download the 2014 EMAS Awards Brochure here: EMAS Awards 2014
The event programme for this year’s EMAS Awards ceremony is now online.
With only a week to go until the grand event at the beautifully situated “Neues Rathaus” in Hanover, Germany, the 29 nominees are looking forward to sharing information about their eco-innovations with the public. And, of course, we are all anxious to find out who the winners are!
Awards guests can also look forward to insightful keynote speeches by Hanover mayor Stefan Schostok and European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik. The chair of the 2014 EMAS Awards jury, Elisa Tonda, will also share her expertise as Head of the Business and Industry Unit in the UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics – Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch.
You can find the programme on the EMAS Awards website.
Are barcodes a new possibility for giving customers transparent information about environmentally and socially friendly products?According to an article published in the UK newspaper the Guardian, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a group that unites nearly a third of the world’s clothing and shoe retailers, is considering introducing a Quick-Scan feature to its products’ barcodes. Customers could scan the barcodes with their mobile phones and gain instant access to information about the environmental and social practices of the clothing label.
Given that transparency and sustainability are already key features of EMAS, this development may in the future provide new means for the EMAS-registered companies that also sell clothing to meet their commitments.
Transparency is not only a key characteristic of EMAS, it is also an essential aim of the activities that the European Commission is undertaking during its ongoing pilot phase to develop product and sector specific rules under the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and and the Organisational Environmental Footprint (OEF). As part of the pilot phase, volunteers will test communication vehicles for environmental performance information, including through barcodes. The outcomes of the OEF/PEF pilot phase are expected to promote transparency and comparability among retailers and their products, helping organisations to improve the quality of information they provide to customers. This is particularly important in very retail-focused industries if firms want to keep up with competitors who have already introduced sustainability measures.
Finally, transparency also forms an essential part of the achievements of several of this year’s EMAS Awards nominees. These nominees produce sustainable products in a range of areas, from printing materials to furniture to BBQ briquettes. Like the hundreds of other EMAS-registered companies, they are transparent about the actions that they undertake to make their products more sustainable. For exactly that reason, these companies may also be interested in new communication possibilities, such as through barcodes. What better way for these organisations to showcase the improvements introduced through EMAS than by having even more customers reward them for their sustainability!
Source Guardian article.
An international jury of eight environmental experts is set to choose the winners of the 2014 EMAS Awards.
After the deadline for applications to the EMAS Awards ended on Monday, 24 February, the jury has now begun the process of evaluating this year’s entries.
The European Commission is proud to have secured the expertise of eight professionals representing a wide range of perspectives on EMAS and hailing from four different EU countries. The jury is chaired by Elisa Tonda, Head of the Business and Industry Unit in the United Nations Environment Programme’s Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch. The other jury members are engaged in high-level research and development, consulting, and innovation management in the field of environmental technologies and management systems. Representing the EMAS registered organisations’ perspective is David Shenton, Environment Manager for LafargeTarmacUK, a former EMAS Awards winner.
You can find the detailed résumés of the eight jury members on the EMAS Awards website at /environment/emas/emasawards/jury_members.htm.
The application period for the EMAS Awards 2014 has 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 29 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’ performances with regard to this year’s topic “Effective eco-innovations supporting improvements in environmental performance”.
The nominees have demonstrated their dedication to eco-innovation in a number of ingenious ways, from optimising energy efficiency in refrigeration rooms or using the latest fuel cell technology to even making BBQ coal from olive pips! If this preview has made you curious, keep checking the EMAS Facebook pagein the coming weeks to get an introduction to all of the 2014 nominees.
The EMAS Awards are the most prestigious award in environmental management and are handed out to top performing companies and public authorities. The winners of the 2014 edition will be announced on 7 April 2014 in the framework of the Industrial GreenTec fair in Hanover, Germany. The ceremony will take place in the Hanover town hall.
For further information, please visit the official EMAS Awards website.
And for now: Congratulations to all EMAS Awards nominees!
Recognizing creative new means of improving environmental performance is the focus of the 2014 EMAS Awards.
On 7 April, the EMAS Awards will take place in conjunction with the Industrial GreenTec fair in Hanover, Germany. The organisations taking home the EMAS prizes will be those who have been particularly innovative in finding ways to reduce their environmental impact. Whether by changing the way they provide a service or by making their supply chains more sustainable, these organizations have come up with novel and inspiring “greening” strategies. By doing so, these EMAS organisations embody the much-needed transition process towards a resource-efficient and ultimately regenerative circular economy.
The EU likes to actively facilitate and support this transition process and considers its EMAS, Eco-Innovation and Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) activities instrumental to achieving this aim. Rewarding environmental and eco-innovative front-runners, encouraging eco-innovation and boosting green public procurement also contribute to steady economic growth, creating 'green' business opportunities across the whole economy. Eco-innovation not only helps to create and provide new products, techniques and services, but also helps to realise both environmental and financial goals.
Demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach, eco-innovation has led to the emergence of a rapidly growing new sector in the European economy: environmental goods and services. This sector is now estimated to make up 2.5% of the EU’s economic output.
Because of their importance in creating win-win situations for both the economy and the environment, EMAS and eco-innovation each serve as key aspects of the EU’s environmental policies in the field of circular economy. In addition to EMAS, several other EU policies reward eco-innovation. The Eco-Innovation Initiative, part of the EU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, provides funds to encourage innovation in small- and medium-sized businesses. The Commission’s Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) is a policy tool comprising a number of initiatives aimed at increasing eco-innovation both Europe-wide and in the individual member states.
To learn more about the tangible results of EMAS, eco-innovation and ETV, join us in at the Fair in Hanover to visit EMAS-registered organisations!
Ecoinnovation logo - ©European Commission
For more information:
The European Comission is conducting a 3-year pilot phase related to the OEF and PEF methods.
A pilot phase is now ongoing related to the Europe-wide environmental footprint method. Taking into account more than just the traditional carbon footprint, the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) and Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) examine a number of environmental impacts along the life cycle of different organisations and different types of products. The goal is to produce a common method for the entire EU, thereby eliminating potential market barriers caused by the use of myriad initiatives in each Member State.
17 groups of companies and stakeholders have already started the test in various industrial sectors. The European Commission (EC) has now opened a second call for volunteers for the feed, food, drink and related products and sectors. Successful applicants will aid in testing the development of compliance systems and sector and product-specific rules, as well as different approaches to communicating environmental footprint information to business partners and consumers. Work is carried out in a transparent manner involving a wide range of stakeholders.
This is interesting news for organisations using EMAS, since the EC plans to evaluate how EMAS could benefit from the results of the Organisation Environmental Footprint. In particular, the OEF could make it easier for EMAS organisations to carry out environmental reviews of their significant direct and indirect environmental aspects.
Although the OEF might sound similar to EMAS, the two actually cover different areas of focus and serve as complements to each other. While EMAS equips organisations with a management tool to monitor and improve environmental performance, OEF focuses on identifying and quantifying organisations’ most significant environmental impacts.
To learn more about the OEF / PEF pilot phases and/or how to help to shape this important new environmental assessment tool, information can be found here:
In the run-up to the European EMAS Awards on 7 April, a national competition was held by the German Competent Body, recognizing eighteen EMAS registered organisations for their achievements in environmental management.
On 17 January, newly appointed Minister for the Environment Dr. Barbara Hendricks handed out the German EMAS Awards for outstanding environmental performance and innovative measures in environmental management.
The national competition and accompanying technical discussion workshop took place for the third time at the Ministry for the Environment. The participating organisations were nominated by the German Competent Body and the winners were chosen by a jury made up of representatives of the national Competent Body, the Accreditation and Licensing Body for environmental verifiers, the German Environment Agency, the German EMAS Advisory Board and the Ministry for the Environment. This national award for EMAS registered organisations takes place independently of the European EMAS Awards. German organisations that want to participate in the European EMAS Awards apply to the Competent Body in a separate nomination process.
The innovative measures that this year’s German award winners have put into practice in the framework of their EMAS span the breadth of environmental management activities: from protecting the climate and natural resources through increasing efficiency in the use of raw materials and energy, gearing the product and service range toward environmental protection, to raising awareness of these issues among clients and suppliers. Other innovations include creative communication strategies to promote an organisation’s implementation of EMAS or integrating the protection of biological diversity into the environmental management system.
The following organisations received a German EMAS award:
Coincidentally, Karl Falkenberg, Director-General of DG Environment at the European Commission, was simultaneously visiting the ministry and spontaneously took time to congratulate the EMAS Awards winners.
Karl Falkenberg, Director-General of DG Environment (front row, third from the right) and German national EMAS Awards winners. ©BMUB/Sascha Hilgers
The European Environment Agency has announced its environmental policy priority areas for 2014 and its new 5-year work programme.
Creating a more resource efficient economy is one of central goals of the European Union’s 7th Environmental Action Programme (EAP), which sets out the priorities of environmental policymaking in the EU for 2014-2020. Hence the EEA has selected resource efficiency as it’s topic of the year 2014, replacing the 2013 theme 'Year of Air'.
Guiding concepts such as the ‘green economy’ and the ‘circular economy’, in which waste is seen as an important resource to be fed back into the human economy, will frame the EEA’s work throughout 2014. The agency will examine more closely which longer-term transitions are needed to realise these goals in Europe. No doubt, environmental management systems such as EMAS will be taken into account as recommendable tools for achieving increased resource efficiency in relevant industries.
2014 also marks the start of the EEA’s new Multi Annual Work Programme, running from 2014 to 2018. The EEA will work to improve knowledge in areas related to EU environmental and climate policies already, monitor progress towards the objectives and targets in Europe’s 2020 agenda, and support Europe’s ambition to make the transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient and ecosystem resilient society by 2050. As a major milestone the State and Outlook of the European Environment Report 2015 is to be published in early 2015.
Watch the New Year message from EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx.
An announcement on our own behalf: The EMAS Helpdesk is now run by a new service consortium. We intend to give EMAS a boost in 2014!
Following the mandatory re-issue of the EMAS Helpdesk tender the responsibility for the service was transferred in January to Berlin-based sustainability think tank adelphi together with its Belgian partners, environmental management capacity builders 21 Solutions and public relations experts from Arctik.
The Helpdesk will of course continue to provide its regular communication and support services, such as answering all queries concerning EMAS, hosting the EMAS website and social media profiles, maintaining the EMAS register and producing a variety of information materials, including the EMAS factsheets and the bi-monthly newsletter.
In addition, the new consortium will tap into its extensive network of experts in European affairs, environmental management coaching, and communications around sustainability issues to create new synergies and networking opportunities between the EMAS community and other EU initiatives. For instance, for the first time this year the European EMAS Awards ceremony (on 7 April) will be held in conjunction with the Industrial Green Tech fair in Hannover, Germany, which will enhance the visibility of the winners and nominees among a wider business community.
Apart from these information and communication activities, the Helpdesk also supports the European Commission by participating in EMAS conferences and official EU meetings and providing additional skills such as graphic design and web programming.
When applying for the EU Ecolabel, the European certification scheme for environmentally friendly products and services, EMAS registered organisations are now granted a 30 per cent reduction in certification fees.
The European Commission aims to keep organisations' costs for using the EU Ecolabel as low as possible to create an incentive for producers and service providers to become certified. For this purpose, the Commission published an amendment of the EU Ecolabel regulation in August of this year, introducing new conditions for the application fees.
Fees vary from €200 to €2000. However, they are capped at a maximum of €600 for small and medium-sized enterprises and €350 for micro organisations. Since September, these costs are being reduced by 30 per cent for EMAS registered organisations (previously 20 per cent). An ISO 14001 certification, which up to then was treated equally to an EMAS registration, now only brings a reduction in application fees of 15 per cent.
The EU Ecolabel was introduced in 1992 as a voluntary environmental label in the EU. It is awarded to products and services that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle in comparison to similar products. The criteria are developed and revised by a group of experts and stakeholders. The range of certified products covers everything from electronic equipment and textiles, over paints and cleaning products, to hotels and campsites. Only food and drink products, medical drugs and medical equipment are currently excluded from the label.
Read the amendment of EU Ecolabel application fees.
Find out more on the EU Ecolabel website.
The European Commission is beginning the elaboration of its sixth Sectoral Reference Document which will present best practices in environmental management in the food and beverage manufacturing sector.
Many companies have a large scope for improving their environmental performance. With motivations ranging from eco-efficiency to reputation and concerns about the sustainability of their business, EMAS registered organisations are continuously looking for more ways to reduce their impact on the environment.
To help organisations in reaching this objective, the European Commission's (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC) identifies, evaluates and documents best environmental management practices for different sectors in close co-operation with the stakeholders concerned. To do so, the JRC follows the so-called frontrunner approach, i.e. it studies those techniques, measures or actions that are implemented by the organisations within the sector that are most advanced in terms of environmental performance various areas, such as energy efficiency, resource efficiency, emissions, and supply chain management. The results of this work are twofold: In a first step, comprehensive and detailed Scientific & Policy Reports are produced. In a second step, the more concise Sectoral Reference Documents (SRDs) summarising best environmental management practices are published.
The EMAS Regulation says that EMAS registered organisations shall take into account the relevant SRDs when assessing their environmental performance. The same applies to the EMAS environmental verifiers when checking the requirements according to Article 18 of the EMAS regulation. To date, Scientific & Policy Reports have been developed for the retail trade, construction and tourism sectors, and a draft report is available for the public administration sector. The SRD for the retail trade sector is in the process of formal adoption.
From February 2014, the EC will convene a technical working group of experts that will begin drafting the SRD for the food and beverage manufacturing sector.
Any experts on the implementation of EMAS in this sector who are interested in participating in the technical working group are welcome to come forward. Expressions of interest may be sent to Scientific Officer Paolo Canfora at the JRC via the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information on existing and planned SRDs can be found here: http://susproc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/activities/emas/
On 22 November 2013 the winners of the first European Green Office Awards were announced at a ceremony in Brussels. 22 nominees for the Award entered from six European countries representing companies from micro to large, NGOs and public sector institutions.
The award ceremony took place together with the "Environmental innovation for offices" conference which was the closing event of the European Green Office Network. This project, funded by the Leonardo Da Vinci Life Long Learning programme, connects seven organisations from six different member states (Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia). Its main goal was to train office managers from the public, private and NGO sectors to improve the environmental performance of their offices.
Sayd Csaba Bodroghelyi, Manager of the European Green Office Network: "Greening on offices can be a stepping stone in motivating top management to transfer good green practices elsewhere in the company." And Jan De Brabanter, Deputy Secretary General of the Brussels Chamber of Commerce, wich partenered in organising the awards event, adds: "It is important to support the implementation of green practices in offices as part of a sustainable economic development, because the service sector represents more than 90 % of employment in Brussels, and more than 70 % in Belgium".
The 22 nominee applications for the Green Office Awards were evaluated by an international jury composed of members of WWF Finland, FSC Sweden, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the EMAS Club Barcelona, as well as Kinnarps AB, a provider of interior workspace solutions.
The winners of the European Green Office Awards 2013 are: SAP Hungary (large office), Unilever Hungary (large office), Tetra PAK Hungary (medium-sized office), Tchibo Hungary (small office), the Ruse Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Bulgaria (micro office), and the Municipality of Újbuda in Hungary (public office).
In addition, special prizes were handed out for Best Communication (to Mundo B - Brussels Sustainable House and Mundo-Namur - Green Property, Belgium), for Best Management System (to Aerodrom Ljubljana, D.D, Slovenia), and for Best Green Procurement (to Oxfam International EU Advocacy Office, Belgium).
Additional information about the project results can be found at:http://www.eugreenoffice.eu/en/
A toolbox for offices is available online, composed of four elements: handbook, self assessment checklist, ecological footprint calculator, virtual office:http://www.eugreenoffice.eu/TOOLBOX
The European Commission has announced the date and theme of the next European EMAS Awards.
The 2014 EMAS Awards will focus on 'Effective eco-innovations supporting improvements in environmental performance'. The European Commission has chosen this overarching theme, in place of a narrow focus on a specific performance indicator, in order to make the EMAS Awards accessible to a broader range of EMAS registered organisations.
As was announced on the EMAS Awards website on 02 December, next year's awards ceremony will be held in the framework of the Industrial GreenTec fair in Hannover, Germany. Linking the two events offers the opportunity to enhance the visibility of the EMAS community even more. Meeting at the Industrial GreenTec fair will bring EMAS registered organisations in contact with key stakeholders from manufacturing, commerce and the relevant industry associations. This exchange of ideas will also directly support the theme of the Awards, namely to promote the development of new innovative solutions for environmental management.
The 2014 EMAS Awards will be opened by European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik (TBC) and the ceremony will take place on the evening of 7 April 2014. The Industrial GreenTec fair takes place from 7-11 April 2014.
EMAS registered organisations can enter the competition by completing the application form and submitting it together with supporting information to their national Competent Body by 7 February 2014. Application forms can be obtained directly from the respective Competent Bodies.
EMAS Awards website: /environment/emas/emasawards/index.htm
Industrial GreenTec fair: http://www.hannovermesse.de/en/industrialgreentec
EMAS users rate the scheme's performance as excellent(according to the 2012 survey among German EMAS registered organisations). But they also point to one weakness: EMAS and its logo aren't well known among the general public. Now a new brochure shows creative ways to make the EMAS logo more visible.
The reason for the lack of awareness about EMAS stems partly from the restrictions placed on the use of the EMAS logo, for instance the proscription against using it as a label on products.
So how can EMAS registered organisations draw more attention to the premium environmental management scheme? The new brochure "The EMAS logo - A guide to excellent usage for environmental protection" will give you the answers. Published by the German EMAS Advisory Board, the collection of best practice examples provides inspiration to all EMAS registered companies. Many EMAS organisations are using the logo in creative ways to draw attention to their own environmental performance. The handbook explains the possibilities and restrictions placed on the use of the logo by the EMAS regulation's legal requirements and provides numerous pictures of the different options for using the logo as a marketing tool.
The brochure "Das EMAS-Logo – Ein Leitfaden mit Verwendungsbeispielen für ausgezeichneten Umweltschutz" (in German) can be ordered free of charge or downloaded from the German EMAS website: http://www.emas.de/aktuelles/2013/08/aktualisierung-des-leitfadens-zur-emas-logo-verwendung/.
The English translation of the brochure is downloadable via the following link: www.emas.de/fileadmin/user_upload/06_service/PDF-Dateien/EMAS-Logo-Guide.pdf.
The German Federal Environmental Agency has published a new handbook on the use of performance indicators in environmental management systems, with emphasis on EMAS.
How efficiently does a company make use of natural resources? What is the contribution of public authorities or service providers to climate protection? Environmental indicators provide the answers to these questions. They are a sound tool to make environmental improvements measurable and controllable and to credibly report on the environmental performance of an organisation. The use of environmental indicators has already been broadly established as a good practice in the key areas defined by the EMAS regulation: emission reduction, energy and material efficiency, water consumption, waste reduction and biodiversity.
The new guidebook from the German Federal Environmental Agency is aimed at supporting public and private organisations of any size and sector in selecting and applying a set of environmental indicators to measure and report on their environmental performance. The handbook gives practical advice on how to apply the six EMAS core indicators, as well as providing examples of additional indicators used by EMAS registered organisations to adapt their reporting to their specific environmental impacts. Readers will learn how to identify, measure, report on and graphically display a wide range of key performance indicators.
The handbook "Umweltkennzahlen in der Praxis" (in German) can be downloaded at https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/publikationen/umweltkennzahlen-in-der-praxis .
On 9 October, the EMAS Club Europe and other interested parties met for a conference in Mainz, Germany, to share presentations and workshops on EMAS implementation and to discuss the future of EMAS.
One and a half years after its founding conference in February 2012, the EMAS Club Europe once again invited members from EMAS registered organisations, EMAS regulators and other interested parties to share their views and visions concerning EMAS at a day-long conference.
The meeting was hosted by the EMAS registered company Werner & Mertz, located in Mainz on the river Rhein, a most suitable location for this get-together of environmental front-runners: As a family company, Werner & Mertz has a long tradition of commitment to the principles of sustainable business. The company produces domestic cleaning products for Germany and for selected international markets. Werner & Mertz's well-known brand 'Frosch' was named the most trusted brand of consumers when it comes to environmental protection (by Reader's Digest magazine's environmental award covering all German companies and brands).
The conference was kicked off with a presentation by the European Commission's Policy Officer for EMAS, Rolf-Jan Hoeve, who had come from Brussels especially to attend this meeting (travelling sustainably by train, of course!). The Policy Officer informed the audience about a scientific evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of EMAS that will be conducted next year to assess the need for a revision of the EMAS regulation. Presentations by the EMAS Helpdesk and by representatives from the German Association for the management of environment and sustainability (VNU) added to the discussion about the status quo and future potential of EMAS implementation in Europe.
Looking outside the EU, conference guests were especially interested to learn about the Schaeffler company's experiences as one of the first to implement EMAS Global, at one of their production sites in China. But regional perspectives were presented as well: Members from the EMAS Clubs in Catalonia (Spain), Veneto (Italy), and the Rhein-Main region (Germany) gave attendees an inside view of the activities being unteraken by their regional organisations where members from diverse business sectors share their experiences and best practice examples for EMAS implementation.
The afternoon was dedicated to two workshops, enabling in-depth discussion of the challenges connected with managing environmental impacts along the supply chain and with environmental reporting.
The EMAS Club Europe was formally founded in September 2011 by EMAS stakeholders from the business community, VNU, the German EMAS Advisory Board (UGA), and the German accreditation body for environmental verifiers (DAU). It is officially recognised by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and by the European Commission.
The EMAS Club is an information and networking platform for EMAS registered businesses and also invites environmental experts and representatives of relevant public institutions to its meetings to share their expertise. The European Club also acts as an umbrella organisation for the regional EMAS Clubs, thereby giving members a unified voice vis à vis the European Commission.
Stay up to date about upcoming EMAS Club Europe activities: http://www.vnu-ev.de/ .
The Belgian company Idemasport has been manufacturing sports equipment for over 20 years. Now they are the first sports specialist to become EMAS registered - bringing together tradition and a sustainable future, fun of the game and environmental responsibility.
Idemasport sells, designs, installs and maintains a wide range of sports equipment, ranging from coatings for sports surfaces, to fitness equipment and entire public and private sports centres.
Managing director Christian Pirali explains the company's main motivation to take-up EMAS: "We found that more and more private and public invitations to tender included environmental responsibility as a condition for bidders. Being EMAS registered has allowed us to access these contracts and set ourselves apart from the competition." Other benefits ensued: "Reducing the environmental impacts of our activities has resulted in a reduction of our costs for waste disposal and energy consumption. Our brand image is also reinforced, which is a real plus in this time of ecological and economic crises", says Christian Pirali.
EMAS implementation at Idemasport revolves around four themes: green purchasing, reducing transport emissions, reducing and recycling waste and saving energy. Especially regarding the last point, much progress has already been made by installing photovoltaic panels and a more efficient boiler.
Green procurement is always a challenge for manufacturers with international supply chains, but Idemasport is tackling it in an exemplary way: "In our globalized world, we cannot avoid buying many sporting goods and equipment in Asia where they are invariably cheaper", Pirali explains the business pressures. "However, we have established a solid group purchasing policy." The efficiency of transportation by boat has been optimized and air transport is only used when absolutely necessary for urgent orders. The company is also actively searching for more suppliers in Europe and urging its current suppliers to become more sustainable, too. Already, Idemasport is buying more environmentally friendly products, such as balls made from recycled rubber and wood products such as plinths or gym benches out of PEFC or FSC certified wood.
Involving staff and customers is also an important pillar of Idemasport's environmental management system. Posters displaying eco-gestures are hung at various strategic locations in the office to remind employees of how their everyday actions can contribute to saving resources. The company is even considering purchasing bicycles for their staff to increase sustainable mobility in the team, most of whome live close to the office. "It's not always easy to change the habits of everyone. The fact that we are taking our time to prepare for the next audit, taking it step by step, keeps our team motivated", explains Renaud Counard, quality and environment representative at Idemasport. Getting feedback from costumers on the eco-friendly equipment and facilities sold is also important. Explains Christian Pirali: "Even if the price remains the paramount criterion, we feel the growing interest of our customers to respect the environment."
Learn more about Idema Sport: http://www.idemasport.com/ .
A video documentary from Trinidad and Tobago shows how EMAS is being introduced in the island nation's tourism sector.
As we reported in June, the airport and two eco-tourism destinations on the island of Tobago are now using EMAS to improve their environmental performance (but they are not officially registered yet). A new 17 minute documentary presents the environmental activities at Argyle Waterfall and Riverdale Lodge on the foothills of the main nature reserve in Tobago, and at Adventure Farm and Ecovillas, a permaculture farm and agro-tourism venture.
Find out about the growing importance of eco-tourism in Trinidad and Tobago and the introduction of EMAS through the joint efforts of the Tobago House of Assembly, the European Union delegation to Trinidad and Tobago and the dedicated owners and staff of the two tourism destinations.
The EMAS project in Tobago is intended to be a catalyst to raise environmental awareness in the local tourism sector and demonstrate how easy and economically efficient environmental management can be for SMEs with the "EMAS easy" methodology.
You can watch the documentary on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zD9-H4iDp8.
The EMAS registered Martin's Hotel is among a group of environmentally active Brussels hotels that have joined forces to expand eco-innovation in their sector.
A workshop organised by the Brussels Chamber of Commerce, the Brussels Hotel Association and the Belgian Ministry for the Environment brought together 14 hotels that are already implementing EMAS and/or environmental certification systems such as Green Key and the Eco-dynamic Enterprise label.
The participating hotels, despite being competitors in the market, decided to cooperate to further their common goal of making the hospitality industry more environmentally sustainable. During the workshop, participants elaborated on the need for more eco-innovation and improved supply chain management at regional level.
Some of the ideas developed to address these needs were for instance to ask the Brussels Region to support the creation of a regional ecological laundry facility as a new service for all Brussels hotels, including an environmentaly friendly transport system (bike or e-car), as most hotels now have to send their laundry to Antwerp, which creates unneccesary amounts of transport emissions.
The workshop, which will be followed by strategic coaching, was held in the framerwork of the EU co-funded ResilieNtWEB initiative. This project involves organisations from Southern UK, Northern France, Belgium and Luxembourg and aims to support SMEs across North-Western Europe in improving their sustainability and adaptability to sudden changes, be they economic, environmental or social. This includes approaches to continuous performance improvement as called for by EMAS.
You can find a video presenting the ResilieNtWEB project online at http://resilientweb.eu.
An awareness campaign organised by the Romanian-Bulgarian Cross Border Cooperation programme for sustainable tourism is advocating environmental management for SMEs in the tourism sector.
A five day EMAS and EU Ecolabel expert training was held from the 8th to 12th of July in Albena, Bulgaria. The training was organised in the framework of a cross-border project promoting sustainable tourism practices in the border regions of Constanţa (Romania) and Dobrich (Bulgaria). The development of sustainable tourism is one pillar of the Romania-Bulgaria Cross Border Cooperation programme (2007-2013) which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
The training was attended by a team of 15 persons from the project's three partner organisations: the Dobrich Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Development Institute and Mare Nostrum, a Romanian environmental NGO. Conducted by environmental consultants from 21 Solutions, a Brussels-based consultancy, and the Stockholm Environment Institute's Tallinn Center, the workshop informed participants about EMAS implementation and the criteria of the EU Eco-Label for tourism accommodations. They were also given the opportunity to "experiment" with environmental management practices on the basis of a real case study.
The expert training was followed by a two day awareness raising campaign for the Romanian and Bulgarian Black Sea hotel sector. The Dobrich-Constanta cross border region is one the richest areas in biodiversity in Europe and its long beaches and attractive coastline have drawn an increasing number of international and domestic visitors to the area in the last years. However, the rapid development of tourism infrastructure has created considerable pressure on the natural environment through uncontrolled disposal of waste and wastewater and the over-consumption of energy, water and some food resources.
The Albena Hotel Resorts, where the two events were held, is a major Black Sea resort in northeastern Bulgaria. Albena is a vast complex of more than 40 hotels and 20 000 beds located 100 to 200 meters from the beach. The good management of the beaches has already been awarded the Blue Flag, and some hotels have begun to implement some green practices. But a larger awareness raising campaign on sustainability is needed and the cross-border programme is planning to widely promote EMAS and EU Eco-Label among tourism sector SMEs in the area, as a systematic approach to lowering the resorts' environmental footprint.
Visit the website of the Romanian-Bulgarian Cross Border Cooperation programme's sustainable tourism project: http://greenwebportal.eu/ and the project's Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/TourismRoBg
Volkswagen's "Ideas Management" has continually improved the company's environmental and economic performance.
VW staff in Germany submitted 33,000 ideas in the first six months of the year alone. Nearly half of the suggestions were rewarded with bonuses. They in turn will bring considerable savings for the company – an estimated 63 million Euro in six months. "Everyone who provides new ideas is contributing to Volkswagen's competitiveness", says Klaus Schneck from the works council who is head of the idea management committee.
Employees' innovative ideas often contribute to saving resources and reducing negative environmental impacts. For instance Andreas Schultz, technical specialist in VW's production site in Wolfsburg, pitched an idea to improve the design of air filters that suck in surrounding air, filter out dust particles and heat and disperse the cleaned air to dry the coating on cars. Remodeling the fans significantly increased their energy efficiency: By increasing the surface of the filters 1.5 fold the same amount of air can now be sucked in and dispersed with far fewer revolutions per minute by the filter fans. This saves more than 1,200 megawatts of energy a year and reduces CO2 emissions at the Wolfsburg plant by 700 tons, saving VW 90,000 Euros per annum.
Such excellent suggestions are awarded the title "Idea of the month" by the Ideas Management committee. But VW's Ideas management system goes beyond the mere collecting of suggestions. It is integrated with the company's systematic continuous improvement process. This contributes to the improvement of environmental performance as called for by EMAS and goes beyond it to encompass issues like customer service, staff satisfaction, product quality, productivity and social responsibility. VW's aim is to foster a culture of innovation among staff and the company regularly offers workshops and trainings that increase employees' qualifications and motivation – and prepare the ground for many more outstanding ideas.
Learn more about Volkswagen's Ideas Management: http://sustainability-report2012.volkswagenag.com/en/society/employment/ideas-management.html
A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), SustainAbility and Green Light Group analyses risks and opportunities of environmental change for the private sector.
Climate change and natural resource scarcities will increasingly impact private business operations, influencing operating costs, markets for products, the availability of raw materials, and the reputation of businesses. However, while the risks are significant, such environmental changes also offer major opportunities for businesses that successfully adapt and develop sustainable technologies, investments and services.
These are among the main findings of a new report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), SustainAbility and Green Light Group, entitled GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector. "The report speaks to the reality of climate change and natural resource scarcities and outlines how more creative decisions by the private sector with longer term horizons may assist in meeting these challenges. It makes the case that whether it be in water saving, or climate-proofing infrastructure, the world is going to look for solutions that in turn will drive corporate competitiveness, reputational risk and a transition to an inclusive green economy,' said UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
The new report is based on UNEP's Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5); the UN's most comprehensive assessment of the state of the global environment. According to that report, human pressures on the global environment mean that several critical environmental thresholds are approaching, or have already been surpassed, beyond which abrupt changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur.
Through a detailed analysis of the construction, chemicals, mining, food, and other industries, GEO-5 for Business outlines the specific risks of such changes to each sector, and how businesses can adjust to create long-term competitive advantages. While water scarcity and the rising frequency of extreme weather events pose risks to all sectors, some environmental challenges threaten certain industries more than others. Rising temperatures, for instance, will particularly affect the economic viability of tourism businesses operating in ski resorts.
On the other hand, the UNEP study says that more than 80 per cent of the capital needed to address climate change may come from the private sector. This may bring about significant 'green economy' investment opportunities in the finance sector for green buildings, energy-efficiency technology, sustainable transport and other low-carbon products and infrastructure.
The full report, GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector, is available at: http://www.unep.org/geo/pdfs/geo5/GEO5_for_Business.pdf
UNEP's Global Environment Outlook report (GEO-5) is available at: http://www.unep.org/geo/geo5.asp
The international airport in Stuttgart, southern Germany, has received an EMAS registration. Visitors can take ‘fairport’ tours to learn about environmental management at the airport.
How loud is an airplane during take-off? How much energy does the airport’s photovoltaic plant generate? How can I compensate the CO2 emissions from my next flight? And what does biodiversity have to do with flight safety?
These and many more questions are answered during Stuttgart Airport’s environmentally themed walking tour. Or, if you’re just waiting to catch your flight, you can also find the answers at nine ‘fairport’ information points throughout the terminals, presenting the solutions to the airport’s main sustainability challenges:
This kind of stakeholder engagement is one of the hallmarks environmental management according to EMAS. And now Stuttgart Airport has the EMAS logo to prove it. “Now we have it in black and white that we are tackling environmental issues with sound judgment, in a strategic and intelligent way. I’m happy that all our efforts over the years also comply to the EU’s high standards for environmental management. This is a milestone in our endeavor to be one of Europe’s most sustainable airports,” said Stuttgart Airport’s general manager, Walter Schoefer. The airport started publishing its environmental key indicators and writing environmental programmes in 2010, laying the foundation for their EMAS registration.
And if you’re still wondering about those questions:
An airplane at take-off or landing can produce anywhere between 70,9 and 83 decibels of noise. Stuttgart Airport has priced its take-off and landing fees according to the airplanes’ noise levels. This way, the airport has created an incentive for airlines to use more quiet aircraft.
Parking lot with solar panels at Stuttgart Airport. ©Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH
The airport has two photovoltaic plants on its premises, together covering nearly 10,000m2 and producing 1,400,00 kilowatt-hours of electricity. The same amount generated by coal-fired power station would emit 788 tonnes of CO2.
To find out how much CO2 your next flight will generate, just key in your flight details at one of the computers in the terminals. Stuttgart Airport is the first airport in Germany where passengers can take care of CO2 compensation right in the terminal by having their flight emissions calculated and choosing a climate protection project to support.
And have you ever thought about how biodiversity can contribute to a safe take-off and landing? According to Stuttgart Airport, it’s simple: It’s hard for birds to see prey like mice in very dense grass. So the more diverse and abundant plants grow along the runway, the more likely birds are to look for food in more open landscapes elsewhere – and the less likely they are to collide with aircraft. So not only are the green areas around Stuttgart Airport a haven for plants and insects, they also help protect birds and planes from harm.
Read Stuttgart Airport’s 2013 environmental statement (in German) here: http://www.flughafen-stuttgart.de/media/447255/Umweltbericht-2013.pdf
The second EMAS Global site in China has been officially validated. Pulp and paper manufacturer UPM's paper mill in Changshu completed its registration on 15 July.
"Transparency and openness with stakeholders are an essential part of our corporate responsibility worldwide. The EMAS registration and third-party verified reporting promote continuous improvement. The environmental impacts of pulp and paper production are known, and the industry is working on the whole life cycle to minimize the impacts further", says Mr. Kim Poulsen, Executive Vice President, Paper Business Asia Pacific and Corporate Relations and Development.
UPM already led the way for EMAS Global in 2012 when its Fray Bentos pulp mill in Uruguay became the first non-European site ever to achieve the EMAS registration.
"We're very pleased that UPM has carried out the audit in China and are grateful that they have shared their valuable experience with us on how to implement EMAS Global in China. UPM truly is one of the frontrunners in this regard", states Mr. Daniel Weiss from adelphi, a project partner in the SWITCH ASIA EMAS Global China project. EMAS Global China is a cooperation programme under the SWITCH-Asia grant, funded by the European Commission. The project aims to promote sustainable production patterns across China by introducing EMAS.
Altogether UPM's corporate EMAS registration covers a total of 20 pulp and paper mills in Europe, China and Uruguay.
The company's environmental statement comprises a corporate report with group-level information and core indicators such as energy and material efficiency, and a supplementary statement for each paper mill, providing additional local information such as the mill's specific environmental targets and achievements.
The environmental reports can be downloaded from UPM's website: http://www.upm.com/EN/RESPONSIBILITY/Principles-and-Performance/reports/Pages/default.aspx
The Catholic Church in the Austrian federal state of Kärnten is coaching parishes towards EMAS registration.
Responsibility for Creation, protection of the environment and sustainability should be “a self-commitment for Christians”, the conference of Austrian bishops declared in 2008, calling upon parishes to support the Austrian government’s climate protection goals on a local level.
The pilot project “Environmental management in churches – EMAS for parishes” was launched the same year, initially training volunteers to be internal environmental auditors for their churches. The training for parishes sensitises the participants to the links between Christianity and environmental protection. This is done through seminars on “the guiding principles of Creation”, linking them directly to the practical implementation of an environmental management system. This way, responsibility for Creation does not just happen “as a side effect”, says Ernst Sandriesser, head of the environmental department of the diocese Gurk. Instead, “it is integrated into daily life in the church and therefore permanently established in the parishes”.
The parish of St Josef/Siebenhügel is the first to receive an EMAS registration with the support of the “EMAS for parishes” programme. On the 17th of June, the parish’s environmental management representative proudly presented the EMAS registration certificate to the city mayor. Apart from minimizing the environmental impact of its administration, St Josef parish focuses particularly on sustainability activities that also involve and benefit the community. For instance, clothes and furniture are recycled by donating them to those in need. The church also accepts empty toner cartridges, helping citizens avoid waste and simultaneously giving the proceeds from the returned cartridges to charity. Another commitment is to always source food for church events and celebrations regionally, supporting local producers and cutting down on transport-related emissions. And these are just a few of the ‘good deeds’ done in connection with EMAS.
China now has its first EMAS Global registration: Automotive supplier Schaeffler has had its production location in Yinchuan officially registered.
The previous EMAS Awards winner Schaeffler was using EMAS in its international sites even before EMAS Global registration became possible. In keeping with the company's philosophy that all of its production locations worldwide should fulfill the same high environmental standards, Schaeffler introduced an environmental management system that fulfilled the EMAS specifications in all of its locations outside the European Union. Verifications and validations by independent environmental verifiers have been carried out at these sites since 1999. Only the concluding step in the registration process had not been possible for these countries until the official introduction of 'EMAS Global'.
Schaeffler was in fact among the companies that actively contributed to the 'EMAS Global' amendment to the EMAS regulation by participating in the European Commission's stakeholder consultation. No wonder that they are now among the first multinational organisations to register a site outside the European Union. The registration of other / additional Schaeffler locations outside the EU is planned.
The introduction of EMAS in China is part of the SWITCH Asia Programme, which was launched by the European Union as a grants programme for regional environmental initiatives. SWITCH Asia aims to promote the adoption of Sustainable Consumption and Production practices among small and medium sized enterprises and consumer groups in Asia.
European and Chinese partners cooperated to establish the framework for a fully operational national EMAS Global governance structure in China, including legal provisions and the extension of environmental verifier licenses. EMAS Global audits in China are now carried out by European environmental verifiers in cooperation with a qualified Chinese environmental consultant.
Learn more about the SWITCH Asia Programme to introduce EMAS in China: http://www.switch-asia.eu/de/switch-projects/project-impact/projects-on-designing-for-sustainability/emas-global-china.html.
The environmental statement of the Yinchuan site is available on the Schaeffler website: http://www.schaeffler.de/content.schaeffler.de/de/company/environment/e-certificates-awards/certificate.jsp?id=2940736&companyID=110501.
The third edition of CARROTS AND STICKS. Sustainability reporting policies worldwide presents EMAS as one of the best practices in sustainability reporting. The study is a joint publication by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), KPMG Climate Change & Sustainability Services, and the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa.
The study provides an overview of global developments in policy and regulation for sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting. International sustainability frameworks such as the United Nations Global Compact, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises or Carbon Disclosure Project, as well as sustainability reporting policies and initiatives in 45 countries and regions were reviewed and common trends identified.
The study concludes that sustainability reporting is continuing to grow worldwide. Non-financial information disclosure is now recognized as an important tool for addressing global sustainability challenges and many more governments, market regulators and stock exchanges have been initiating reporting policies and regulations.
While the majority of mandatory policies address large and state-owned companies that have the most significant social and environmental impacts, more and more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are voluntarily reporting their sustainability performance to enhance their position in the market. This is also clearly reflected in the uptake of EMAS by SMEs. In the case of EMAS, this is facilitated by extended audit cycles and cluster registrations that reduce the administrative and financial burdens.
Notably, Carrots and Sticks identifies a significant increase in the number of mandatory reporting measures: In 2006 (the first edition of Carrots and Sticks), 58 percent of policies were mandatory; now, more than two thirds (72 percent) of the 180 policies in the 45 reviewed countries are mandatory. External assurance of sustainability reports is increasingly considered to be crucial. More and more stakeholders recognize that independent third-party verification, as is the case for EMAS environmental reports, is necessary to insure the credibility of sustainability reports. Mandatory and voluntary sustainability reporting are mutually supportive and are increasingly being combined in a 'report or explain' approach. This too, is already the case for EMAS where registration is voluntary and the choice of (additional) key indicators can help tailor them to an organisation's material issues, However, once registered, reporting is mandatory and changes to the compulsory EMAS key indicators must be explained.
Download the Carrots and Sticks report here.
German specialty chemicals company Evonik has reached all of its environmental targets two years ahead of the planned deadline!
Evonik set itself the target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and production waste by 20% from 2004 to 2014. But according to the company's Corporate Responsibility Report for 2012, these goals have been more than fulfilled two years ahead of schedule! Compared to the baseline year 2004, Evonik has already reduced its specific energy-related emissions by 20%, and production waste and water consumption have even been cut down by 23% and 31%, respectively.
Evonik attributes this excellent performance improvement to its systematic environmental management processes and to the commitment of its employees. Several of Evonik's sites are EMAS registered and similarly high standards for environmental management policies and procedures are applied Group-wide. Implementing EMAS facilitated improvements to a large number of technical and organisational measures. For example, a new turbine that came into service in Worms (Germany) converts excess steam from the site into electricity. Water efficiency is enhanced by using integrated supply systems: For example, water that is no longer suitable for cooling purposes is used to rinse filters or in industrial cleaning processes. The water that evaporates from cooling cycles is often replaced by condensate or recycled drinking water. And in order to reduce production waste, Evonik recycles substances within the production process and even uses large quantities of waste with a high calorific value to generate energy, thereby replacing fossil fuels.
Apart from material improvements, EMAS has motivated the Evonik staff to become dedicated to continuous environmental performance improvement. After the great success of the last years, the sustainability teams are now developing demanding new targets for the next reporting period. No doubt, they will continue to set a benchmark for EMAS registered organisations.
Download Evonik's Corporate Responsibility report here.
A meeting of the parties interested in EMAS is organised every year by the competent bodies in Belgium.
In order to participate, you can follow one of those two links:
The German environmental research organisation Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ) has been EMAS registered for an outstanding nine years running.
Located in Leipzig, the centre is one of the few organisations in Germany’s east to be using EMAS. When the UFZ recently renewed its EMAS registration, it confirmed once again its environmental ambition and dedication to continual performance improvement.
In a constant effort to reduce its CO2 emissions, UFZ has installed over 100 solar panels on its roof (which generate enough power per year to support 5, 2-person households for the same period of time), started using a ground heat exchange system and switched to a renewable electricity supplier. UFZ even helped reduce its emissions by carefully selecting the locations, transportation options and catering services for all of its meetings. Taken together, all of these factors add up and have a significant impact on UFZ’s overall carbon footprint. There are, of course, some activities that produce CO2 that just cannot be avoided, but UFZ has done all it can to reduce the impact of these events. In a clear demonstration of innovation and dedication, UFZ has designed its own carbon dioxide calculator and installed it on its website so that employees and managers can use it to calculate the emissions of various activities. Not only does careful and real-time monitoring such as this allow UFZ to better identify where there is still room to improve on efficiency, but it also allows UFZ to make up for carbon-costly activities by contributing money to environmental improvement projects. All of the large and small actions that UFZ has taken and continues to take clearly prove that it is worthy of the EMAS title.
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung is an environmental research organisation that conducts studies on topics including water, biodiversity, climate change, adaptation possibilities and environmental health impacts. Its research is designed to help society meet and overcome challenges posed by environmental degradation.
You can download the UFZ’s environmental statement here.
In cooperation with the European Union Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago the island state is moving towards its first EMAS Global registration in the tourist and transportation sectors. The project is part of the European Union Delegation's ongoing efforts to provide support for non-state environmental management sectors.
In March 2012, the European Union, under the auspices of the Tobago Housing Authority and the Ministry of Transport and in collaboration with the environmental consultancy Jaric Environment, Safety and Health Services Limited, launched a pilot project to introduce environmental management systems according to EMAS on the island.
The collaboration aimed at sharing European expertise and know-how in environmental management with a first cluster of participating organisations: Tobago’s ANR Robinson International Airport, Adventure EcoVillas accommodation and Argyle Waterfall and Riverdale Lodge attraction.
As a small island state, Trinidad and Tobago is amongst the group of countries who are most vulnerable to the consequences of human-induced climate change, such as changes in sea level, rising sea temperatures and frequent tropical storms, because their economic activity is concentrated along a narrow coast strip and they rely to a large degree upon coastal resources for their most important industries, including tourism and fishing. On the other hand, unlike most small island developing states, Trinidad and Tobago is a hydro-carbon economy and, in per capita terms, a major producer of greenhouse gases. Consequently, awareness about environmental protection and management has developed in the twin island state.
The EMAS project employed the ‘EMASeasy’ approach in which the three SMEs received training and guidance together as a convoy. EMASeasy developer Heinz Werner Engel, who is executive director of consultancy Eco-Conseil Entreprise, assisted Jaric Environment Safety and Health Services in the training and carried out a round of internal audits in 2012. Engel expressed his satisfaction with the progress made and attested to the organisations’ clear commitment to environmental protection.
According to Solomon Ioannou, Programme Officer of the Delegation of the European Union in Trinidad and Tobago, the novel achievement of the project has been to use EMAS in EU Development Assistance Programmes as a European tool to safeguard environmental protection.
Left to right: Entrance of Adventure Eco-Villas, Farm and Nature Reserve; Mainhouse with two solar water heaters; Glass collection for recycling at Adventure Eco-Villas.
During his recent two-day visit to Berlin, the American president resided at the EMAS registered The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the first 5 star hotel in Europe to apply the highest environmental standards.
Barack Obama surprised the Berliners when he chose The Ritz-Carlton over Berlin’s classic president’s abode, the Interconti, or the historical Adlon Hotel where Obama stayed during his last visit to the German capital in 2008.
Obama, his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha spent the night in the 204m2 Ritz Carlton Suite. Rumour has it that the president appreciated the opportunity to relax in the suite’s private sauna. And no doubt his daughters were excited to find the living area equipped with its very own star-gazing telescope.
But our guess is that The Ritz-Carlton’s environmental performance was what swayed the president’s vote in its favour. Or the first lady’s. She is an avid advocate of sustainable living and organic gardening in particular. Michelle Obama had a Kitchen Garden planted on the ground of the White House where children are educated about organic food. In 2010, a new addition was made to the garden: a colony of approximately 70,000 bees now resides on the grounds, pollinating the plants and providing honey for the White house.
Well, guess what: As part of its EMAS activities, The Ritz-Carlton keeps three bee colonies of its very own on the hotel’s 17 story high roof-top. The hotel uses 40kg a year of their honey (organically certified!) in the hotel kitchen. Home-made honey for breakfast? Feels just like home, the presidential family must have been thinking.
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.