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Best environmental management practice

Organisations of all sizes and kinds 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, many organisations try to reduce their impact on the environment.

To help organisations reach such an objective, the JRC studies what frontrunner organisations in different sectors do and identifies the best environmental management practices (BEMPs), i.e. those techniques, measures or actions that allow organisations to minimise their impact on the environment in all aspects under their direct control or on which they have a considerable influence. The results of this work are Sectoral Reference Documents (SRDs) on best environmental management practice.

This activity is part of the European Commission's work to implement the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), a voluntary framework for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. Within this framework, the EU decided in 2009 to promote best environmental management practice, by developing Sectoral Reference Documents.

Interested to download the documents produced so far?
Retail trade sectorBest practice reportSectoral Reference Document
Tourism sectorBest practice reportSectoral Reference Document
Food and beverage manufacturing sectorBest practice report (final draft)

Sectoral Reference Document

Construction sectorBest practice report (final draft) 
Public administration sectorBest practice report (final draft) 
Agriculture sectorBest practice report (final draft)


Car manufacturing sectorBest practice report


Electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing sectorBest practice report (final draft)


Waste management sectorBest practice report (final draft)



The European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme

The EMAS scheme has evolved through time. In its latest revision, it promotes best environmental management practice, thanks to the development of Sectoral Reference Documents to be taken into account by EMAS registered organisations when assessing their environmental performance.

Priority sectors

Sectoral Reference Documents on best environmental management practice will be elaborated for a list of priority sectors. The firsts of these sectors are: Retail trade, Tourism, Construction, Public Administration, Agriculture and Food and beverage manufacturing.

Sharing best environmental management practices

The documents on best environmental management practice are intended to support environmental improvement efforts of all actors within the sector they address. They are not only for EMAS registered organisations, but for all actors willing to improve their environmental performance, with or without an environmental management system.

Development of Sectoral Reference Documents

Relevant stakeholders are involved in the development of Sectoral Reference Documents.

Best environmental management practices

BEMPs for each sector are collected in a Sectoral Reference Document and described in detail in a technical report, called the "Best practice report"; both are publicly available.

Contact information

If you have any question on the work carried out in this area or if you would like to contribute to the identification of BEMPs in one of the sectors under study, please feel free to contact the  JRC EMAS SRDs team.