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Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS)

EMAS aims at encouraging European organisations, be they private companies or public bodies, to improve their environmental performance. The aim of this new Regulation is to develop the existing scheme and to encourage a larger number of organisations to participate. It represents a considerable asset, bringing them added value in terms of regulatory control, cost savings and public image if they are able to demonstrate an improvement in their environmental performance.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the voluntary participation by organisations in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS), repealing Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 and Commission Decisions 2001/681/EC and 2006/193/EC.

SUMMARY

The Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) is an instrument which is open to voluntary participation by organisations * established inside or outside the Community. Its objective is to promote continuous improvements in the environmental performance of these organisations from all sectors of economic activity by:

  • an environmental review of all of their environmental aspects;
  • establishing and implementing environmental management systems based on the results of the environmental review;
  • the systematic, objective and periodic evaluation of these systems;
  • the exchange of information on the results obtained;
  • consulting the public and other interested parties;
  • active involvement of employees and appropriate training.

Registration of organisations

Applications for registration from organisations in a Member State shall be made to a Competent Body in that Member State. Competent Bodies shall be designated by Member States. Only one application for registration may be submitted. If the organisation has other sites within the Community or in third countries, the application shall be submitted by means of a corporate registration.

Before submitting its application for registration, an organisation must:

  • carry out an environmental review of all of its environmental aspects (see Annexes I and II point A.3.1);
  • review, develop and implement an environmental management system (see Annex II);
  • carry out an internal audit (see Annex II point A.5.5 and Annex III);
  • prepare an environmental statement (see Annex IV);
  • demonstrate that it complies with all of the applicable legal requirements relating to the environment;
  • have the environmental review, the environmental management system, and the audit procedure and its implementation verified by an accredited environmental verifier, and the environmental statement validated by that verifier.

The application for registration shall include:

  • the environmental statement validated by an environmental verifier *;
  • the environmental verifier’s declaration (see Annex VII);
  • the form containing the information requirements for registration (see Annex VI);
  • evidence of payment of applicable fees, if applicable.

Obligations of registered organisations

At least once every three years, registered organisations must:

  • have the environmental management system and audit programme and its implementation verified;
  • update the environmental statement and have it validated by an environmental verifier;
  • forward the updated and validated environmental statement to the Competent Body;
  • forward to the Competent Body a form including the information requirements for registration (see Annex VI);
  • pay a fee for the renewal of the registration to the Competent Body, if applicable.

In each intervening year, registered organisations must carry out an internal audit of their environmental performance and compliance with applicable legal requirements relating to the environment and update the environmental statement which, after validation, must be forwarded to the Competent Body with payment of a fee for the maintenance of the registration, if applicable.

The environmental statements drawn up by the organisations must be accessible to the public.

Use of the EMAS logo

As long as their registration is valid, registered organisations are authorised to use the EMAS logo (see Annex V).

The logo must be accompanied by the registration number of the organisation, unless it is used to promote EMAS.

The logo may be used on the environmental information validated by an environmental verifier. On the other hand, it may not be used on products or their packaging, or in conjunction with comparative claims concerning other activities and services, or in a way that may create confusion with environmental product labels.

Tasks of environmental verifiers

Environmental verifiers shall assess the compliance of an organisation’s environmental review, environmental policy, management system, audit procedures and their implementation, and of the environmental statement. Verifiers shall also verify the organisation’s compliance with the applicable legal requirements relating to the environment, the organisation’s continuous improvement of environmental performance and the reliability of the relevant data and information.

Environmental verifiers shall at intervals not exceeding 12 months validate any updated information in the environmental statement.

In order to obtain accreditation or a licence, a verifier shall introduce a request with an Accreditation or Licensing Body of its choice.

Sanctions

Member States shall take appropriate legal or administrative measures in case of non-compliance with the provisions of this Regulation. They may make use of provisions put in place in accordance with Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair commercial practices.

Information

The Commission shall update and make publicly available:

  • a register of environmental verifiers and a register of organisations registered under EMAS;
  • a database of environmental statements;
  • a database of best practices on EMAS;
  • a list of Community resources for the funding of EMAS.

Context

This Regulation replaces Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 which opened EMAS to the participation of all public and private economic sectors.

Key terms of the Act
  • Organisation: a company, corporation, firm, enterprise, authority or institution, located inside or outside the Community, or part or combination thereof, whether incorporated or not, public or private, which has its own functions and administration.
  • Environmental verifier:
    • a conformity assessment body as defined in Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 or any association or group of such bodies, which has obtained accreditation in accordance with this Regulation; or
    • any natural or legal person, or any association or group of such persons, which has obtained a licence to carry out verification and validation in accordance with this Regulation.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009

11.1.2010

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OJ L 342 of 22.12.2009

Last updated: 22.04.2010
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