The Environment Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool developped by the European Commission aimed at businesses and other organisations in the public or private sector who wish to evaluate, manage and improve their environmental performance.
EMAS contains several stages and is based on 3 principles:
- compliance with environmental legislation;
- continuous improvement of the environmental performance;
- and disclosure of information to the public.
All public or private organisations, including organisations established in non-EU Member States who wish to minimise their environmental impact and who want to continuously improve their performance can participate in EMAS.
Participation in EMAS allows to reduce:
- the consumption of raw materials;
- the consumption of water and energy;
- the production of waste;
- emissions into the water and the atmosphere.
Preparation of the application for registration
In order to obtain the EMAS label, applicants first have to prepare an application for registration to be submitted to the Environment Agency by following the steps hereafter:
- preparation of an environmental evaluation which takes into account the organisation's activities;
- development of an environmental strategy containing the organisation's environmental objectives in which it commits to comply with environmental legislation and to improve its environmental performance;
- implementation of an environmental management system based on the results of the environmental analysis and strategy and which determines:
- the responsibilities, the objectives, means and operational procedures;
- the training needs;
- control and monitoring systems;
- and communication systems;
- execution of an environmental audit whose purpose is to verify if the environmental management system is operational and if the objectives and the programme developed by the organisation have been properly implemented. The audit is also intended to check whether the organisation complies with environmental regulations;
- preparation of an environmental statement, i.e. a public statement on the organisation's environmental performance in which it presents its objectives and measures undertaken to improve its environmental performance;
- examination and validation of reports drawn up by the organisation (i.e. the environmental analysis, the environmental strategy, the environmental management system, the environmental audit and the environmental statement) by an EMAS verifier.
Registration with the Environment Agency
Once the application has been prepared, applicants can register with the EMAS / European Ecolabel Service at the Environment Agency in order to obtain the EMAS label.
To that purpose, applications have to be accompanied by the following on plain paper or email:
- the validated environmental statement, in printed or electronic format;
- the statement made by the environmental verifier with regard to the verification and validation activities;
- a form containing information about the organisation, its premises and the environmental verifier (cf. the form in annexe VI of Regulation (EC) 1221/2009).
Once it has been registered, the organisation can use the environmental statement as well as the EMAS logo in the marketing of their products and services.
Validity of the statement
The EMAS statement has to be updated every 3 years at least.
To this end, the registered organisation has to:
- update the environmental statement and have it validated by an environmental verifier;
- transmit the validated environmental statement to the Environment Agency, EMAS / European Ecolabel Service;
- and transmit a form with information about the organisation, its premises and the environmental verifier to the EMAS / European Ecolabel Service.