Question 1: What is EMAS?
Question 2: What are the key features of EMAS?
Question 3: What is the history of EMAS?
Question 4: How does EMAS fit into the wider sustainable development approach of the European Union?
Question 5: Where can I find EMAS statistics?
Question 1: Why should my organisation participate in EMAS?
Question 2: What are the benefits of EMAS?
Question 3: What are the benefits of EMAS for small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?
Question 4: Does EMAS distinguish between organisations making more/less improvement to their environmental performace?
Question 5: What are the costs of EMAS?
Question 1: Which organisations can participate in EMAS?
Question 2: What is the geographical scope of EMAS?
Question 3: What is the definition of an ‘organisation’?
Question 4: What is the definition of ‘small organisations’?
Question 5: What is the difference between a site and an organisation?
Question 1: Why should my organisation move from another Envirnomental Management System to EMAS?
Question 2: Can non-formal Environmental Management Systems or parts thereof be recognized as complying with corresponding requirements of EMAS?
Question 3: How to move from another Environmental Management System to EMAS?
Question 4: Which Environmental Management Systems aside from EN ISO 14001 are compatible with EMAS?
Question 1: What are the different steps to implementing EMAS?
Question 2: How must an organisation show legal compliance?
Question 3: Are there any penalties for non-compliance with EMAS?
Question 4: Who can take advantage of the single corporate registration?
Question 5: Who can take advantage of the cluster approach?
Question 6: What are the NACE codes?
Question 1: What are sectoral reference documents?
Question 2: What is the role of EU Member States and the European Commission in order to support EMAS?
Question 3: Whom should my organisation contact if we want to register to EMAS?
Question 4: What is the EMAS Helpdesk?
Question 5: What are the tasks of the Regulatory Committee (Art. 49)?
Question 6: What are the tasks of the Competent Bodies?
Question 7: What are the tasks of the Accreditation/Licensing Bodies?
Question 1: What is EN ISO 14001?
Question 2: Is EMAS compatible with the international standard EN ISO 14001?
Question 3: What are the differences between ISO 14001 and EMAS?
Question 4: How to implement EMAS if ISO 14001 already exists?
Question 5: Modifications to EN ISO 14001 to meet EMAS requirements
Question 6: Modifications to EN ISO 14001 to meet EMAS requirements
Introduction to EMAS in the Public sector
Question 1: How does the public sector fit into the EMAS approach?
Question 2: How has EMAS registration developed in the public administration sector?
Question 3: Where can I find a list of EMAS-registered organisations in the public sector?
Participation in EMAS
Question 1: Is there a list available of consultants that have helped a public organisation registering with EMAS?
Question 2: Do you know of any public administration in the process of implementing EMAS?
Question 3: Is it possible for a local authority to register on a departmental basis?
Question 4: I am looking for municipalities to join us in an EMAS project
EMAS II = Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2001 allowing voluntary participation by organisation in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS).
(Official Journal of the European Communities L 114 of 24 April 2001)
This Regulation has been repealed!
EMAS III (hereafter; EMAS) = Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the voluntary participation by organisation in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS), repealing Regulation (EC) 761/2001 and Commission Decisions 2001/681/EC and 2006/193/EC.
(Official Journal of the European Communities L 342 of 22 December 2009)
Date of entry into force of latest revision of EMAS (so called “EMAS III”): 11 January 2010
Since January 2010, all organisations that seek EMAS registration and existing EMAS registered organisations that renew their registration are required to comply with the latest EMAS Regulation (“EMAS III”).
The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, EMAS, is a voluntary environmental management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. EMAS promotes continuous evaluation and improvements in the environmental performance of participating organisations. The scheme has been operative since April 1995. The latest revision came into effect on 11 January 2010. The new elements of the scheme lead to the enhanced performance, credibility and transparency of registered organisations and opened the scheme for organisations in non-EU countries.
The key features of EMAS are performance, credibility and transparency. By carrying out annual updates of environmental policy targets and actions to implement and evaluate them, registered organisations continually improve their environmental performance and provide evidence that they comply with all environmental legislation that is applicable to them. Third-party verification from independent environmental verifiers significantly adds credibility to registered organisations by guaranteeing the value of both the actions taken and the disclosed environmental information. Transparency is generated by the environmental statement, which an organisation is required to provide as part of EMAS registration. The communication tool makes available to the public information on the environmental impact and performance of the organisation.
The EMAS Regulation 1836/93 was first introduced in July 1993 as an environmental policy tool devised by the European Commission, in a step towards the Community’s goal of sustainable development. The EMAS scheme was open for voluntary participation by organisations from April 1995, and its scope restricted participation to sites operating industrial activities.
In 1996, the international environmental management system standard, EN ISO 14001:1996 was recognised as a step towards achieving EMAS.
In 2001 the revised Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 (EMAS II) was adopted. Its main elements were:
the extension of the scope of EMAS to all sectors of economic activity including local authorities;
the integration of ISO 14001 as the environmental management system required by EMAS, so that progressing from ISO 14001 to EMAS is smoother and does not entail duplication;
the adoption of a visible and recognisable EMAS logo to allow registered organisations to publicise their participation in EMAS more effectively;
the involvement of employees in the implementation of EMAS;
the strengthening of the role of the environmental statement to improve the transparency of communication of environmental performance between registered organisations and their stakeholders and the public; and
a more thorough consideration of indirect effects including capital investments, administrative and planning decisions, procurement procedures, choice and composition of services (e.g. catering).
In 2009 the EMAS Regulation has been revised and modified for the second time. Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 (“EMAS III”) was published on 22 December 2009. The revised EMAS Regulation came into effect on 11 January 2010 (See FAQ on “New Provisions in EMAS” for additional information).
The overall objective of the European Community, as defined by the Maastricht Treaty, is in particular to promote “[…] a harmonious and balanced development of economic activities, sustainable and non-inflationary growth respecting the environment, […] the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States” (Article 2).
The goal of sustainable development, which is reinforced by the European Union’s renewed Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS), calls for the use of a wider range of environmental policy tools. In 2008, the European Commission presented the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP) Action Plan, which is an integral part of the EU SDS.The SCP/SIPAction Plan includes a set of proposals and tools on sustainable consumption and production. The aim of these proposals and tools is to improve the environmental performance of products and/or organisations and to increase the demand for more sustainable goods and production technologies.EMAS is among the powerful tools designed to promote resource-efficient and leaner production.
EMAS and additional tools such as the EU Ecolabel or Green Public Procurement (GPP) complement a range of EU and national policies that are aimed at improving sustainable consumption and production. However, EMAS neither replaces existing Community or national environmental legislation or technical standards nor does it, in any way, remove a company’s responsibility to fulfil all its legal obligations under such legislation or standards.
You can directly access the EMAS register/database and define any query you would like to define, access predefined queries and access statistics on the following website: /environment/emas/register/.
On this website you can choose between different options:
the base search, which you can use for simple queries that give quick answers, such as statistics on NACE codes and/or country;
a more sophisticated search, such as multi-criteria search or wild-card search that you can access through the ‘search‘ icon of the menu on top of the page;
search to statistics: accessible through the ‘statistic’ icon of the menu on top of the page. On this search page, you can get access to the different statistics that used to be in the statistics file that is available quarterly and on demand to the Helpdesk.
The different results of your queries can be easily downloaded to Excel sheets by simply clicking on this option (in most cases indicated at the bottom of the first column of the results), and you can use this data in any form you like, such as to include them in your own documents.
Of course, you can always address your questions to the EMAS Helpdesk, but by using the database/register yourself you have the advantage that you have a direct access to the information and that you can define specific queries to which you have an immediate answer. Moreover, this information is up-to-date and based on the latest updates of the EMAS register.
The new elements of EMAS, which came into effect on 11 January 2010, further strengthen the scheme and add value to registered organisations. EMAS includes the following major revisions:
Revised audit cycles to further improve applicability for SMEs.
On the main page of the EMAS website /environment/emas/index_en.htm, you can find a link to download the new Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 (EMAS) in all Community languages. You can also follow this link:
Since January 2010, all organisations that seek EMAS registration and existing EMAS registered organisations renew their registration are required to comply with the latest EMAS Regulation.
The Decisions of the European Commission on the use of the EMAS logo on tertiary packaging (2006/193/EC) and on the entities suitable for registration to EMAS, on verification, validation and audit frequency, and on the use of the EMAS logo (20017681/EC) have been repealed.
A recent study from the European Commission (official title: ‘Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations’) analyses the costs and benefits of EMAS registrations (see the complete study). Convincing evidence was found for a number of benefits arising from EMAS registration, including reduced costs for resources and waste management, risk minimisation, regulatory compliance, regulatory relief, improved relations with internal and external stakeholders, and achieving competitive advantage.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises are the economic backbone of most economies around the world by contributing to economic growth and employing a significant numbers of people. However, collectively, SMEs and micro enterprises also cause significant impacts on the environment by their production activities, products and services. Given the significant effects on the environment, SME and micro enterprise participation in implementing an Environmental Management System is an important step towards promoting a resource-efficient and sustainable production.
Generally, SMEs and micro enterprises can realise many of the same benefits that larger organisations gain from EMAS registration. In the European Commission ‘Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations’ energy and resource savings were identified as important benefits, since most environmental impacts also have financial implications, as they represent inefficient use of substances. EMAS organisations indicated that their annual energy savings alone exceeded the annual costs of maintaining EMAS. In addition, gaining access to public contracts was highlighted as a key benefit for SMEs.
For SMEs in the supply chain EMAS registration of client companies can have a direct impact. A growing number of small companies will need to demonstrate (or have already demonstrated) a recognised track record of systematic environmental management. In fact, often supplier companies are required to have EMAS registration in order to gain market access. For instance, in industry sectors close to the customer, suppliers note that their customers request EMAS registration.
EMAS’ objective is to continuously improve the environmental performance of registered organisations by having them commit to evaluating and reducing their environmental impact. Independent environmental verifiers verify organisations’ improvement of their environmental performance. After the validated environmental statement is sent to the Competent Body it has to be made publicly available. Only then the organisation is listed in the EMAS Register and has the right to use the EMAS logo.
Additionally, the European Commission annually organises the European EMAS Awards, which is the most prestigious award in environmental management. The Awards are handed out to companies and local authorities that excel in issues such as energy efficiency or resource efficiency. Further information on the European EMAS Awards is available at: /environment/emas/emasawards/index.htm
External costs of implementing EMAS are incurred by employing external expertise to support EMAS implementation and reporting.
Support may be needed for the initial review, auditing, training and ongoing implementation of EMAS. Internal costs are incurred by organisation staff to implement, administer and report on EMAS. The costs include the following aspects:
The internal costs rest upon implementation and maintenance costs. A significant part of internal costs is the internal resources required to implement the scheme. Depending on the organisation’s size, number of sites, previous experience with management systems and the complexity of environmental impacts, the typical personal commitment to implement EMAS varies from a few persons per month in a small company in the service sector to several persons per year in large corporations with many sites. Costs in subsequent years are on average around half of those in the first year. Higher costs in the first year result from learning EMAS requirements and establishing the necessary management and administrative systems, often requiring expert advice from outside the organisation.
Once EMAS is implemented and registration attained, system maintenance takes many fewer resources, since many activities required for the first registration are no longer needed (e.g. the initial review, installation of measurement and data management systems, and distribution of responsibilities). External consultancy costs show the largest reduction, with costs declining in subsequent years to approximately one third of those incurred in the first year.
In-depth information on benefits and costs is available in the ‘Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations’. Please also visit the section on case studies for examples of EMAS implementations in different organisations.
Participation in the scheme is open to organisations operating in all economic sectors (see FAQ on the definition of ‘organisations’ for additional information). EMAS identifies different types of economic activity areas by using ‘Statistical Classification of Economic Activity (NACE) Codes’ (see FAQ on ‘NACE codes’ for additional information).
With the introduction of the latest revision of EMAS in 2010, the scheme is also open to non-European organisations and European organisations operating in third countries (Articles 1 and 11 of EMAS).
The EMAS Regulation applies to all 27 EU Member States, the three European Economic Area Member States (i.e. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and European Union Accession Countries.
In addition, if a Member State decides to allow registration of organisations located outside the Community (EMAS Global), these organisations have to address their request for registration to a Competent Body of that Member State. The organisation has to contact an environmental verifier from the same Member State.
In order to introduce EMAS Global a number of practical and legal issues needed to be clarified.
According to Article 2(21) of EMAS, ‘organisation’ means a company, corporation, firm, enterprise, authority or institution located inside or outside the Community, or part or combination thereof, whether incorporated or not, public or private, which has its own functions and administration.
According to Article 2(28) of EMAS "small organisations" means:
In most cases, a site is best understood as a production facility of an organisation, respectively, company. Hence, one organisation can have more than one site that is EMAS registered.
Following the official definition, ‘site’ shall mean, according to Article 2(22) of EMAS, a distinct geographical location under the management control of an organisation covering activities, products and services, including all infrastructure, equipment and materials; a site is the smallest entity to be considered for registration.
Question 1:Why should my organisation move from another Environmental Management System to EMAS?
The number of non-formal Environmental Management System is increasing all over the EU, as they have been designed to cover specific needs coming from specific areas or specific sectors of activity. Though each Environmental Management System represents a worthy step towards improved environmental performance, committed organisations can come to a point where they face the system’s limits and feel the need for a more demanding and ambitious Environmental Management System. EMAS, the premium benchmark for environmental management, significantly enhances the performance, credibility and transparency of registered organisations. This is achieved in particular through the environmental statement that facilitates and strengthens interactions with an organisation’s stakeholders and through the scheme’s requirements in relation to both compliance with relevant environmental legislation and continuous improvement of an organisation’s performance.
Question 2:Can non-formal Environmental Management Systems or parts thereof be recognised as complying with corresponding requirements of EMAS
Yes, this is possible. Based on Article 45 of EMAS, existing Environmental Management Systems or parts thereof can be recognised as complying with corresponding requirements of EMAS. This recognition is valuable for organisations seeking to register with EMAS so as to enhance their performance, credibility and transparency. Organisations can now seek EMAS registration using the previous work they have carried out to fulfil the criteria for another Environmental Management System.
In order to achieve recognition, Member States need to submit a written request to the European Commission. Member States should specify the parts for which they are seeking recognition, and provide evidence of their equivalence to EMAS.
Question 3:How to move from another Environmental Management System to EMAS?
In 2009, the European Commission launched a study outlining a step-by-step approach to upgrading from selected non-formal EMS and ISO 14001 to EMAS. The study is available here. In addition to providing critical information for organisations that have already adopted an Environmental Management System other than EMAS, the study can prove useful for Member States that are considering submitting a request as foreseen in Article 45 of EMAS.
Question 4:Which Environmental Management Systems aside from EN ISO 14001 are compatible with EMAS?
The European Commission has recently published a ‘Study on Guidelines for Transition from Non-Formal EMAS and ISO 14001 to EMAS’. The study analyses 20 of the most relevant Environmental Management Systems in terms of geographical scope and affinity to EMAS and outlines the steps to move from each system to EMAS. A decision as to the recognition of non-formal Environmental Management Systems by the European Commission has not been made so far, although two countries have filed a request for recognition of local Environmental Management Systems as corresponding with EMAS requirements.
An organisation needs to conduct an environmental review considering all environmental aspects of the organisation’s activities, products and services, methods to assess them, the organisation’s legal and regulatory framework and existing environmental management practices and procedures.
Registration to EMAS requires an organisation to adopt an environmental policy and to commit itself both to compliance with all relevant environmental legislation and to achieve continuous improvements in environmental performance.
Through an environmental programme an organisation translates general objectives established in the environmental policy into specific targets. An organisation needs to determine concrete measures, responsibilities and means taken or envisaged to achieve environmental objectives and targets and the deadlines for achieving the objectives.
Based on the results of the environmental review and the development of an environmental policy, an effective environmental management system needs to be established. The Environmental Management System is aimed at achieving the organisation’s environmental policy objectives as defined by the top management. The management system needs to set responsibilities, roles, operational procedures, training needs, monitoring and communication systems.
After an Environmental Management System is established, an internal environmental audit is carried out. The audit assesses in particular if the management system is in place and in conformity with the organisation’s policy and programme. The audit also checks if the organisation is in compliance with relevant environmental regulatory requirements.
According to Art. 4 (4) of EMAS, organisations shall provide material or documentary evidence showing that it complies with all applicable legal requirements relating to the environment. According to Art. 15 of EMAS, national Competent Bodies are responsible for suspending or deleting non-compliant organisations from the EMAS register.
Yes, there are penalties for non-compliance. Since EMAS is based on a Regulation, Member States are responsible for taking appropriate legal or administrative measures to resolve accidental non-compliance situations as quickly as possible. The main sanctioning instrument in the case of (ongoing) non-compliance with the Regulation is suspension or deletion from the EMAS register.
According to Article 3(2) of EMAS, organisations with sites located in more than one Member State may apply for one single corporate registration of all or some of those sites. Application for a single corporate registration will be made to a Competent Body of the EU Member State where the organisation’s headquarters or management centre is located.
EU Member States should encourage local authorities to provide specific assistance in the development and implementation phases towards EMAS registration to clusters of organisations such as industrial associations or regional chambers of commerce (Article 37 of EMAS). Each organisation from the cluster will be registered separately. A cluster approach is possible for a group of organisations located in one EU Member State or located in different EU Member States.
NACE stands for ‘Nomenclature générale des activités économiques dans les Communautés Européennes’, which is the standard for classification of economic activities in the EU. The latest NACE codes (Revision 2) are based on the Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, establishing the statistical classification of economic activities.
For EMAS, the NACE codes are used to classify the registered organisations and the accredited environmental verifiers. The agreement was made that the Competent Body which registers the site and forwards the information to the EMAS Helpdesk should collect NACE information with a minimum of one decimal after the point. Competent Bodies may compile more detailed NACE information (see the complete NACE code list).
verification of full environmental management system and audit programme and its implementation as well as environmental statement validated in a four-yearly frequency (instead of a three-yearly frequency);
no significant environmental risks are present;
the organisation has no substantial changes planned as defined in Article 8 of EMAS; and
nevertheless, each year they are exempt from the obligation to prepare a validated updated environmental statement, they need to forward the non-validated updated environmental statement to the Competent Body; and
Yes. The provisions for site visits as part of the renewal of EMAS registration can be found in Art. 25(4) in conjunction with Art. 6(2) and Art. 18(7) (all EMAS). According to Art. 25(4), site visits are obligatory in intervening years. Derogations apply to small organisations according to Art. 7, particularly Art. 7(3).
The updated environmental statement shall contain at least the elements and shall meet the minimum requirements as set out in points (e) to (h).
Environmental core indicators are introduced for a more harmonised and thorough consideration of direct environmental aspects. In the environmental statement organisations need to report on core indicators insofar as these relate to the direct environmental aspects of the organisation (Annex IV of EMAS). Direct environmental aspects are environmental aspects associated with activities, products and services of the organisation itself over which it has direct management control. The core indicators focus on performance in the following key environmental areas:
Energy efficiency: total direct energy use, including renewable energy use;
Material efficiency: annual mass-flow of different materials used;
Water: total annual water consumption;
Waste: total annual generation of (hazardous) waste;
Biodiversity: use of land; and
An organisation may decide not to report on a specific core indicator where it concludes that one or more indicators are not relevant to its significant direct environmental aspects. The organisation must then provide justifications with reference to its environmental review. Further information on environmental core indicators is available in the EMAS fact sheet ‘EMAS II to EMAS III’.
The EMAS logo is an appealing communication and marketing tool for organisations which raises buyers’ and other stakeholders’ awareness of EMAS. With the introduction of the latest revision of EMAS, only one logo is used by EMAS registered organisations. The EMAS logo using the wording ‘Verified Environmental Management’ in conjunction with the registration number (set out in Annex V of EMAS) may be used only by registered organisations and only as long as their registration is valid. The logo shall always bear the registration number.
The EMAS logo has the following functions:
Any environmental information published by a registered organisation may bear the EMAS logo provided that such information makes reference to the organisation’s latest environmental statement or updated environmental statement.
According to Article 10 of the Regulation, the logo shall not be used:
on products or their packaging;
in three colours (Pantone No 355 Green; Pantone 109 Yellow; Pantone No 286 Blue); or
in black; or
in white; or
According to Article 35 of EMAS, the EMAS logo without a registration number may be used by Competent Bodies, Accreditation and Licensing Bodies, national authorities and other stakeholders for EMAS-related marketing and promotional purposes. In such cases, use of the EMAS logo must not suggest that the user is registered where it is not the case.
Yes, there are penalties for the misuse of the logo. Provisions with regard to non-compliance are laid out in Art. 40 of EMAS. Member States shall take appropriate legal or administrative measures in the case of non-compliance with the EMAS Regulation.
Provisions put in place by Member States against the use of the EMAS logo may refer to Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market.
According to Article 46 of EMAS, the European Commission will, in consultation with EU Member States and other stakeholders, develop sectoral reference documents whose objective is to provide guidance to organisations and to facilitate the practical implementation of the requirements of EMAS. For instance, information will be given on best environmental management practice, the use of environmental core indicators and environmental performance indicators for specific sectors, benchmarks of excellence and ratings systems identifying environmental performance levels.
The European Commission will develop reference documents for all sectors of economic activities as defined in the NACE code Regulation.
The European Commission will establish a working plan setting out an indicative list of sectors, which will be considered as priorities for the adoption of sectoral and cross-sectoral reference documents. The working plan will then be made publicly available and regularly updated. Both the working plan and the sectoral reference documents will be published on the EMAS website.
EU Member States, in cooperation with Competent Bodies and other relevant stakeholders, promote EMAS (Article 33 in conjunction with Article 35 of EMAS). To that end, EU Member States are encouraged to establish a promotion strategy. Furthermore, EU Member States will ensure assistance with regard to compliance with legal requirements relating to the environment (Article 32 in conjunction with Article 36 of EMAS). According to Article 45 of EMAS, EU Member States may submit a request for recognition of an existing EMS as equivalent to EMAS parts. Once the EMS is formally recognised by the European Commission as being equivalent to EMAS parts, organisations implementing that specific EMS are not obliged to carry out those parts when registering to EMAS.
According to Article 42 of EMAS, the European Commission will make publicly available (inter alia) a database of environmental statements, a database of best practices on EMAS, and a list of Community resources for the funding of EMAS implementation and related projects and activities. In addition, the European Commission will consider how registration under EMAS can be taken into account in the development of new legislation and revision of existing legislation, in particular in the form of regulatory relief and better regulation.
Every Member State has designated a Competent Body which is responsible for registering organisations and for maintaining the list of registered organisations in their country. The Competent Body can provide your organisation with useful information on the steps to implement EMAS and the administrative procedures and fees involved.
You will find the contact details of your Competent Body on the contacts page of this website.
The Helpdesk is a service provided by the European Commission, operated by BIO Intelligence Services in collaboration with Adelphi.
The objectives of the EMAS Helpdesk are as follows:
to provide high-quality and effective information services to all interested parties such as companies, environmental groups, academic researchers, trade unions and the general public. The Helpdesk can provide you with the latest EMAS figures, list of organisations and verifiers and various documents on EMAS;
to ensure the effective collection and listing of data concerning all industrial organisations participating in EMAS and all accredited environmental verifiers. All data on EMAS collected from the EU Member States is made available to the public via the EMAS website;
to design and maintain the official EMAS website; and
To get in touch with the Helpdesk, see its contact details in the contacts page.
The Article 49 Regulatory Committee (former Article 14) under EMAS is chaired by the European Commission. It represents the EU Member States and interest groups. The Committee meets several times a year to support the European Commission in practical issues concerning the implementation of the EMAS Regulation. Areas in which the Committee has to be involved are defined by the Regulation; they include, amongst others: finding ways to disseminate best practice for the promotion of the scheme, adopting rules for the use of the logo, revising and updating the annexes of the Regulation.
Each Member State designates a national — independent and neutral – Competent Body to organise the registration process of sites within its own territory. It is its responsibility to issue registration numbers to organisations which have submitted a validated environmental statement, collect any payable registration fee, refuse, suspend and delete organisations from the register and respond to enquiries concerning organisations on the national EMAS register. Changes to this register have to be communicated to the Commission. Consistency of procedures relating to the registration process is ensured by a peer review process of all Competent Bodies, which meet at least once a year to exchange information.
An Accreditation/Licensing Body is an independent, impartial institution or organisation responsible for the accreditation/issuing of licences to and supervision of environmental verifiers designated by Member States. Member States may use existing accreditation/licensing institutions or the EMAS Competent Body, or designate any other appropriate body. The Accreditation/Licensing Body establishes, revises and updates a list of environmental verifiers and their scope of accreditation (according to NACE codes) in their Member State. Changes to this list have to be communicated to the Competent Body and the Commission.
The European Commission does not provide specific financial support to individual organisations in order for them to participate in EMAS. Financial support is given to broader actions through open calls for tender, in particular for the development of means to support SME participation in the EMAS scheme.
The Secretariat-General of the European Commission has produced a guide on Community funding entitled ‘Grants and Loans from the European Union’. It provides useful information about the way EU funding works and is available online at the following address:
Funding may be obtained from the European Community’s LIFE-Environment programme, administered by Directorate-General Environment of the European Commission, for projects which fulfil the requirements of the programme. This does not cover the routine implementation of EMAS. More information about LIFE is available online at the following address:
There is also general information on funding opportunities available from the Directorate-General Environment at the following address:
Through the revised EMAS Regulation (Article 36) the Commission encourages individual EU Member States to provide support mechanisms for organisations wishing to implement EMAS. The revised EMAS regulation specifically mentions and encourages such support to SMEs.
Within the various EU Member States there are a number of ongoing schemes that give particular emphasis to supporting the participation of SMEs in EMAS. While the European Commission does not maintain a central register of these national programmes, EU Member States are required to inform the European Commission of any measures taken to encourage organisations’ participation in EMAS. We suggest that you contact the relevant EMAS Competent Body for further information. You will find their contact details on this website in the contacts page.
ISO, the International Standards Organisation, has developed a series of standards and guidelines in the field of environment which collectively are known as the EN ISO 14000 series.
EN ISO 14001: 2004 is one of the most well-known and widely implemented environmental standards. It is used worldwide by large and small organisations and in both the public and private sectors. The scheme is based on a ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle’ and specifies the most important requirements to identify, control, and monitor environmental aspects of organisations, as well as how to manage and improve environmental management systems.
It is not correct to refer to the EN ISO 14000 standard. EN ISO 14001 is the only certifiable standard, the remainder being supportive guidelines.
Currently the most advanced of the standards and guidelines in the series are:
EN ISO 14000
Environmental management systems
EN ISO 14001
EN ISO 14010
Guidelines for environmental auditing
EN ISO 14010
EN ISO 14020
Environmental labels and declarations
EN ISO 14020
EN ISO 14030
Evaluating environmental performance
EN ISO 14031
EN ISO 14040
Life cycle analysis
EN ISO 14040
EN ISO 14050
Understanding terms and definitions
EN ISO 14050
Both EMAS and EN ISO 14001:2004 have the common objective of providing good environmental management. Yet too often they are seen as competitors. The European Commission has recognised that EN ISO 14001 can provide a stepping stone for EMAS. In fact, the ISO 14001: 2004 environmental management system requirements are an integral part of EMAS (Annex II of EMAS).
The adoption of EN ISO 14001:2004 as the management system element of EMAS will allow organisations to progress from EN ISO 14001:2004 to EMAS without undue duplication of effort. A successful certification of EN ISO 14001:2004 means that the most important steps towards EMAS certification have been taken. However, certain additional steps will have to be taken in order to register under EMAS as the premium benchmark for environmental management.
Notable difference include:
Environmental policy: EMAS includes commitment to continual improvement of the environmental performance of the organisation. ISO does not stipulate the extent to which performance must be improved. Rather, the scheme focuses on the performance of the management system.
A step-up approach from EN ISO 14001:2004 to EMAS can provide organisations with significant additional benefits. For organisations already certified to EN ISO 14001:2004 there will be some minor modifications to be made to the core EN ISO 14001:2004 elements plus some additional steps specific to EMAS. The flow diagram in Question 6 of this section outlines the additional steps needed for implementation of EMAS for an EN ISO 14001:2004 certified organisation. Additional steps for EMAS registration are:
Initial environmental review. The EMAS regulation requires that an initial environmental review be performed to identify an organisation’s environmental aspects. However, when an organisation already has an EMS certified to EN ISO 14001:2004 it does not need to conduct a formal environmental review when moving on to EMAS implementation, so long as the environmental aspects as set out in Annex I are fully considered in the certified EMS.
Environmental policy. EN ISO 14001:2004 includes a commitment, but not a provision, to comply with relevant environmental legislation. The organisation must strengthen its statement of commitment, included in its environmental policy, to commit itself to ensuring regulatory compliance. Regarding ‘continual improvement’ it should be noted that if more than one site is registered under EMAS then continual improvement must be demonstrated on a site by site basis.
The organisation should ensure that, in identifying its environmental aspects in the planning stage of EN ISO 14001:2004, it has addressed all those items listed in Annex I which are applicable to the organisation.The organisation should also ensure that all the elements of the initial environmental review, detailed in Annex I, have been considered and incorporated where necessary in the EN ISO 14001 process.
Although many companies with EN ISO 14001:2004 may keep registers of identified environmental effects and relevant legislation, it should be noted that under EMAS this is mandatory.
It is possible that the areas and the scope covered by EN ISO 14001:2004 and EMAS may be different. The organisation should take steps to ensure that the scope to be covered by the EMAS registration is covered by the EN ISO 14001:2004 certificate.
Implementation. One of the requirements of EMAS is the active participation of employees in the environmental improvement programme. This may be achieved in a variety of ways, for example by establishing an environmental committee or a suggestion book, or by appointing environmental representatives. The organisation should also take steps to ensure that any suppliers and contractors used also comply with the organisation’s environmental policy.
Checking and corrective action. It is necessary for the ISO-certified organisation to check that the frequency of the audit cycle is in compliance with Annex III of the EMAS Regulation and takes place at intervals of no longer than three years. In addition to the EMS being audited, the environmental performance of the organisation must also be addressed annually to demonstrate continual improvement (see FAQ on ‘Audit Cycles’ for additional information).
Certification of EN ISO 14001:2004. In order to comply with the requirements of EMAS, the EN ISO 14001 certificate must be issued under one of the accreditation procedures recognised by the European Commission.
the base search, which you can use for simple queries that give quick answers, such as statistics on NACE codes and/or country;
a more sophisticated search, such as multi-criteria search or wild-card search that you can access through the ‘search‘ icon of the menu on top of the page;
Unfortunately, the EMAS Helpdesk cannot provide you with such a list, but we would recommend you to contact other public sector organisations that have implemented the scheme. In addition feel free to contact the Competent Body in the country of your interest, which might be able to provide you with further information.
Contact details for Competent Bodies are available at: /environment/emas/tools/contacts/countrymap_en.htm
the registered entity needs to have management control and influence over its environmental aspects;
commitment from the top level of the organisation is required;
You are welcome to send a project description and a call for partners to the EMAS Helpdesk. We will publish it on this website together with your email address, so that interested organisations can contact you directly.
On 7 September 2001, the European Commission adopted a Decision (C (2001)/2591) whereby it politically engaged in a process of applying the EMAS Regulation to its activities. The first phase of this Decision was a pilot project where EMAS was implemented by several key services. After its successful conclusion, the Commission has decided on 23 September 2009 to extend the implementation of the EMAS scheme to all its activities and buildings on its Brussels and Luxemburg sites. By adopting this Decision, the Commission aims towards a better environmental management of its resources
For more information: /environment/emas/emas_ec/index_en.htm
On the EU level, the LIFE programme is the financial instrument for environmental projects. The programme supports environmental initiatives in the European Union, some candidate countries and certain third countries. LIFE actions contribute to the development of innovative techniques and methods by co-financing demonstration projects. Further information on LIFE can be found at: /environment/life/index.htm.
It is possible that some Member States have national funding instruments to support EMAS in the public sector. Please contact your Competent Body for more details.
Contact details for Competent Bodies are available at: /environment/emas/tools/contacts/countrymap_en.htm