European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
The European Commission’s Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is outlined in the Council Regulation No. EC/1221/2009. EMAS supplements EN ISO14001 as the Environmental Management system for an organisation and requires that an organisation:
These environmental statements explain how the organisation’s environmental performance is maintained and improved each year by outlining results achieved.
The most common benefits quoted for EMAS implementation are:
- Sustainable use of resources, reduction of water and energy consumption
- Reduction of operating costs
- Recycling and reduction of waste, wastewater and air pollution
- Reduction of environmental fees
- Reduced risk of occurrence of environmental accidents
- Reduced cost of possible contamination litigation
- Legal compliance facing more and more stringent regulations
- Competitive advantage in the market
- Higher market value
- Reduced insurance costs
- Improved labour safety conditions
- Increased environmental awareness among employees
- Better public image
- Better relations with local community, public authorities and other stakeholders.
How to become an EMAS registered site?
The Irish National Accreditation Board is the designated competent body for EMAS in Ireland. As competent body, INAB has responsibility to inform the European Commission of all organisations registered in Ireland and also maintains this register of EMAS sites in Ireland.
In order to become an EMAS registered site:
First, conduct an environmental review.
- You should have a picture of your organisation’s current environmental performance.
- Identify direct and indirect environmental aspects and impacts
- Identify applicable legal requirements
Develop an environmental policy
- Address all significant environmental issues identified in the initial environmental review
- Commit to comply with applicable legal requirements
- Commit to achieve continual improvement in your environmental performance
Develop an environmental programme
- Develop a detailed work plan
- Set specific targets and measures to achieve them
- Update the programme regularly
Establish an Environmental Management System (EMS)
To ensure the successful implementation of the environmental policy and programme, internal structures and operating procedures and controls need to be established. For instance, all the staff must receive training on environmental awareness and on the EMS implemented in the organisation. Additionally, the organisation chart laying out the responsibilities of various departments in addressing environmental issue may need to be revised, or performance criteria may need to be changed to reflect new environmental responsibilities.
- Aim at achieving policy commitments
- Base the EMS on the initial environmental review
- Set responsibilities, operational procedures, training needs, monitoring and communication systems
If your organisation has already developed and implemented an environmental management system in compliance with standards such as ISO 14001, then the above requirements should have already been addressed. EMAS also has several parallels with systems based on ISO 50001 (energy management) and ISO 26000 (social responsibility).
As part of the EMS, you should then
Carry out an internal environmental audit
- Cover all activities and all significant environmental aspects
- Assess the management system
- Check conformity with your environmental policy and programme
- Correct mistakes in your EMS
- Update your environmental objectives
Develop an environmental statement
The environmental statement is a clear and concise document addressed to the organisation's stakeholders. In this document, your organisation describes its environmental achievements and efforts towards continuous environmental performance. The environmental statement must include information as applicable on the six environmental core indicators required by the regulation (see table below) and any additional relevant environmental performance indicators.
- Publish your environmental policy, programme and management system
- Communicate the results of your work to the public and other stakeholders
Then have your organisation's environmental statement verified by an accredited EMAS verifier:
When all of the above has taken place, have an accredited EMAS verifier verifies that your organisation's environmental policy and its EMS comply with the provisions of the EMAS regulation. The verifier will also validate your environmental statement.
Your organisation should then submit the verified environmental statement, application form and all necessary information as requested together with registration payment, to INAB. See the 'Documents and Forms' section, available from the link in the banner at the top of this page for application form and fee schedule.
INAB, as Competent Body, has specific responsibility, when registering organisations, to review the application and Environmental Statement against the requirements of the EMAS regulation.
INAB will also contact the appropriate regulatory authority (normally EPA) to ensure they have no objection to your organisation being placed on the EMAS register.
- Get official recognition
- Use the EMAS logo
|Environmental core indicators|
|Environmental Key Area||Input/Impact|
Total direct energy use:
total annual energy consumption, expressed in MWh or GJ
|Material efficiency||Annual mass-flow of different materials used (excluding energy carriers and water): in tonnes|
|Water||Total annual water consumption: in m3|
|Waste||Total annual generation of waste:
Total annual generation of hazardous waste: in kilograms or tonnes
|Biodiversity||Use of land: in m2 of built-up area|
Total annual emission of greenhouse gases ( incl. at least emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs and SF6) : in tonnes of CO2 equivalent
The EU EMAS website has an excellent toolkit for SMEs. See http://ec.europa.eu/environmental/emas/toolkit/ for details.
Funding is available in some cases, See http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Productivity/Build-a-green-sustainable-Buisness/Implementing-Environmental-Standards.shortcut.html for further details
How to become an EMAS accredited verifier?
While it is not a precondition to have EMS accreditation in advance of application for EMAS accreditation, applicants should realise that all criteria from ISO 17021 will apply.In order to become accredited as an EMAS verifier, please see ‘Accreditation of Certification Bodies and Verifiers’ section of this website for more information.
Useful links to other websites containing the Regulation and associated guidance documents can be found on the EU EMAS website or by sending an email to the EU EMAS help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the 'Contact Us' form, available at the top of this page.
To access the link to the European Eco-Management & Audit Scheme Information Sheet - IS3 EMAS Information Sheet (PDF, 4 Page, 61KB)