EMAS & ISO 14001

ISO 14001 Revision

EMAS is the most credible and robust environmental management tool on the market and goes beyond the requirements of ISO 14001, the international standard for Environmental Management Systems.

Stepping up from ISO 14001 to EMAS

The ISO 14001 standard has been an integral part of EMAS since 2001, and in this way it has allowed many ISO-certified organisations to step up to EMAS through an uncomplicated process.

Some of the main features that distinguish EMAS from ISO 14001 are:

  • Boost your external communication strategy by annually publishing an environmental report (called ‘environmental statement’). This report documents your environmental activities and performance and needs to be validated externally
  • Find innovative and creative ways to involve your employees
  • Commit to continuous improvement of your environmental performance
  • Validate your registration with a public authority by applying to your national Competent Body for registration

EMAS and the revised ISO 14001:2015

As the ISO 14001 standard was revised in 2015, the European Commission and Member States worked together to integrate the new ISO requirements into the Annexes of the EMAS regulation. The amended annexes were published in August 2017.

  • Following the revisions to ISO 14001, EMAS-registered organisations will need to make a few adaptations. They will need to take into account additional elements as part of the environmental review process and when implementing the EMS. From now on, organisations implementing EMAS also have to:
    1. determine the organisational context of their EMS,
    2. identify interested parties and their relevant needs and expectations,
    3. consider a life-cycle perspective when assessing the significance of their environmental aspects and
    4. determine the risks and opportunities related to their EMS.
  • Following the enhancement of ISO 14001, EMAS still encompasses the following unique features:
    1. demonstrated legal compliance signed off by Competent Bodies;
    2. a direct commitment to continuously improve environmental performance;
    3. transparency, thanks to compulsory communication through environmental statements;
    4. employee participation and commitment to continuous improvement.

More information about the revised ISO 14001 standard and how its new elements were integrated into the EMAS Regulation can be found in the Helpdesk’s Factsheet ”The revised Annexes of the EMAS Regulation”.