EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) is a voluntary environmental management tool enabling businesses and other organizations to evaluate, report, and enhance their environmental performance. It addresses businesses and other organizations that intend to systematically improve resource and material efficiency, as well as their legal compliance, and decrease negative environmental effects and environmental hazards. The current legal basis is Regulation No. 1221/2009, which was amended by EU Regulation 2017/1505 (Annexes I, II, and III) and EU Regulation No. 2018/2026 (Annex IV). In December 2019, 1,150 organizations were EMAS-registered in Germany, and as of 2021, 3,845 organizations were EMAS-registered worldwide.
What are the contents of EMAS?
The requirements of the international environmental management standard ISO 14001 are an integral part of an EMAS eco-management system. EMAS focuses primarily on measurable improvements, internal and external transparency, and legal certainty. The introduction of EMAS is intended to improve environmental performance, for example, by increasing energy or material efficiency and reducing emissions, wastewater or waste at the site. In addition to such "direct″ environmental aspects, the "indirect″ environmental aspects, for example, the environmental compatibility of products and services, procurement, the behavior of subcontractors, or the working routes of employees, are also recorded and evaluated.
How does your company obtain EMAS certification?
EMAS does not set minimum performance requirements but rather supports organizations in enhancing their sustainability performance by implementing an eco-management system. Companies themselves must identify their environmental impacts and obligations. Participation in the scheme is open to organizations operating in all economic sectors.
Organizations that implement an environmental management system (EMS) establish procedures to assess and improve their environmental performance. The internal process takes one year. If a company complies with the guidelines of the EMAS Regulation, it can be listed on the EMAS register.
The following requirements need to be met to obtain EMAS certification:
Compliance with all environmental regulations, verified by an auditor and an official authority
Continuous improvement of environmental performance
Verification of the performance by a specifically trained verifier
Publication of key environmental data in an annual report on all relevant environmental impacts, the environmental statement
What is the environmental statement of EMAS?
The environment statement is the reporting instrument of EMAS. It provides a picture of the environmental performance of companies and other EMAS organizations. It focuses on key figures that clearly show the development of environmental performance over time. Thus, the environmental statement shows the extent to which the organization has fulfilled its obligation to make appropriate improvements in environmental protection and what it has planned for the coming years. This relates not only to the direct environmental aspects occurring at the organization's site but also to the indirect ones, for example, the environmental impact of the products and services manufactured, or of procurement.
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