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EMAS - Performance, Credibility, Transparency

Eco-label Environmental Compliance Assistance Program Green Public Procurement


In order to facilitate the process towards EMAS-registration and to facilitate maintenance of EMAS registration for small and medium sized organisations (SME's), EMAS Easy, a lean and standardized methodology has been developed with small and micro businesses in mind. This methodology, which covers all requirements of the environmental management standards for EMAS and/or ISO 14001, is based on the Eco-mapping concept, where the business is mapped in terms of both location and internal processes to identify its environmental aspects. Using simple and sequential tables and prompts, smaller businesses can develop an Environmental Management System (EMS) and either register for EMAS or achieve certification to ISO 14001. Under the slogan "in 10 days, with 10 people, on 10 pages, in 30 steps", the methodology is set out in a brochure which walks the user through each step on the way to EMAS in an easy way. The EMAS Easy brochure can be downloaded in different languages from the website.

Implementing EMAS via the EMAS Easy methodology is one way for SME's to reduce their first year and annual implementation costs. Data originating from the study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations1, were combined with recent estimates based on data provided by SMEs during evaluations performed at EMAS capacity building seminars for SMEs, and during various EMAS Easy coaching's in different member states. This resulted in the following indicative numbers on cost reductions that are included in Table 1.

Table 1: Costs and potential annual efficiency savings in EMAS

Organisation size2

Potential annual efficiency savings (€)

First year implementation costs of EMAS (€)

EMAS Annual costs (€)

EMAS Easy First year implementation costs (€)3

EMAS Easy Annual costs (€)4


3,000 – 10,000






20,000 – 40,000






Up to 100,000




Up to 400,000



1Energy savings only; no data available on resource efficiency savings

On top of the figures on potential annual efficiency savings, the EMAS 'Toolkit for small organisations' provides many other examples of benefits/costs savings.

The figures in table 1 are purely indicative and related to the defined category sizes as laid out in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, and can therefore not be applied directly to any organisation in any situation. Although the numbers have an indicative nature they illustrate that the EMAS Easy tool can help small and micro businesses to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) and become EMAS registered with considerably lower human resources and costs.

It must be noted that in general implementation costs for organisations increase relative to the size of the organisation. As a whole, micro and small organisations face proportionally higher fixed and external costs than medium and large organisations, since medium and large organisations benefit from economies of scale, with a higher proportion of costs borne internally by environmental departments and lower external costs associated with the use of consultants. However, this is true also for very large organisations. Therefore it is advisable to assess the implementation costs in more detail and in an organisation specific context.

Finally it must be noted that the costs and benefits when implementing EMAS, can also be influenced by the technical and financial support and/or subsidies in place in the different EU Member States, national, regional or local authorities and/or EMAS Competent Bodies.

1Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations, 2009, Milieu Ltd and Risk and Policy Analysis Ltd for DG Environment of the European Commission

2Organisation sizes as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises Official Journal L 124 of 20.05.2003.

3For the estimates the average hourly labour costs as provided by Eurostat were used. The average hourly labour costs in 2011 were: €23.1/hour in the EU27 business economy Actual costs can strongly depend on the average wages in the various EU Member States.

4For the estimates the average hourly labour costs as provided by Eurostat were used. The average hourly labour costs in 2011 were: €23.1/hour in the EU27 business economy