Limited resources, climate change, social responsibility: those are topics regularly brought up by newspapers, media but also companies stakeholders and employees. While more and more organizations act on their environmental impact and implement eco-management plans, some don’t know where to start or in the contrary would like to go further on this track. The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is an instrument developed by the EU to help organizations deal with this topic.
We will today learn more about the EMAS and how to improve your environmental footprint.
EMAS: What is it?
The EMAS is a management system aiming to improve organizations environmental performance. With the implementation of KPIs and following a Plan-Do-Check-Act approach, the EMAS rationalizes and focuses on how a company or an enterprise is impacting the environment and how their processes can be improved.
The EMAS is a voluntary instrument only binding for its registered organizations. Compared to the principles of the ISO 14001 certification, the EMAS goes further by boosting internal and external communication while officially recognizing the organizations for their environmental performance.
Open to public and private organizations, the EMAS is established on three values:
- Performance - Evaluation and achievement of environmental policies
- Credibility - Verification and audits made by independent third party bodies
- Transparency - Official statements inform public about organizations environmental policies
Main benefits of the EMAS
Already adopted by more than 9000 organizations around the world, the EMAS can be particularly interesting for firms caring about the environment and for ISO 14001 certified companies wishing to go an extra mile. Implementation of the EMAS brings nine benefits to your organization:
- Resource efficiency
- Climate protection
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
- Legal compliance
- Supply chain management & green public procurement
- Credible information
- Performance measurement
- Employee engagement
- Stakeholder involvement
To easily follow up on the EMAS, the EU has set different KPIs helping organizations to monitor, plan and improve their environmental activity. The indicators are classified as follows:
- Energy efficiency
- Material efficiency
EMAS registration process
As explained above, the EMAS is open to all public and private organizations of all types and all sizes. To become a EMAS organization, you will have to take the following steps:
- Conduct an environmental review
- Adopt an environmental policy
- Develop an environmental programme
- Establish an Environmental Management System
- Carry out an internal environmental audit
- Prepare an environmental statement
- Independent verification and validation by an environmental verifier
- Registration with the competent body and use of EMAS logo
The EMAS was developed by the European Commission in 1993. Since then, the text has then been updated in 2001 (EMAS II) and 2009 (EMAS III). Originally restricted to industrial sectors, the EMAS II opened up the scheme to all economic sectors and then to the world with EMAS III.
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