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   On  18 December 1991 the Commission adopted a proposal for  a  Regulation
   laying  the  foundation for a voluntary Community  ecoiaudit  scheme  for
   industrial firms.
   The  fundamental  objective of this proposal is to  promote  measures  to
   improve the environmental performance of industrial production sites.
   To this end, this proposal introduces a voluntary scheme for  businesses.
   All  firms  which decide to participate in the scheme will  undertake  to
   establish  an  environmental  policy,  programme  and  management  system
   applying  criteria  and  standards designed to ensure  a  high  level  of
   protection at each site covered by the scheme.
   Each   firm  will  systematically  regularly  audit   its   environmental
   performance and inform the authorities and public of the results.
   The  econaudit  scheme provides for verification of compliance  with  the
   requirements  laid down in the proposed Regulation and for validation  of
   the  information  released  to  the  public  by  environmental  verifiers
   accredited  by bodies designated by the Member States and coordinated  at
   Community level.
   Firms  participating in the scheme will be entitled to use  an  eco audit
   logo for each site involved.
   In closer detail, firms participating in the ecodaudit scheme undertake:
   -   to establish and implement, in the light of the results of an initial
       environmental  review  based  on  the  criteria  laid  down  in   the
       Regulation  and  ensuring  full participation by  workers  and  their
       representatives, an environmental protection system for activities on
       the site;
   -   to  carry  out or order environmental audits applying  the  ecoaaudit
       method at each site concerned;
   -   to address, at the highest management level, all audit findings  and,
       in   the  light  thereof,  set  objectives  and  measures  aimed   at
       continuously improving their environmental performance;
                                     - 2 -
   -   to draft a separate environmental statement for each site audited  at
       the same intervals as the environmental audits themselves;
   -   to   have  the  environmental  statement  validated   by   accredited
       environmental verifiers who will confirm the reliability of the  data
       and  information contained therein and that the statement  adequately
       covers all the major environmental issues of relevance to the site;
   -   to  submit the environmental statements validated by  the  accredited
       environmental verifiers to the competent authorities and to make them
       available to the public.
   Measures  to  keep the public informed are a key concern  of  the  scheme
   Consequently,  the  regular environmental statement introduced  for  this
   purpose will include, in particular:
   -   a description of the company's activities at the site;
   -   a detailed assessment of all the major environmental issues raised by
       the activities concerned;
   -   a  summary of the figures on pollutant emissions,  waste  generation,
       raw  material,  energy and water consumption, and  any  other  major,
       relevant environmental aspects;
   -   a  presentation of the company's environmental policy, programme  and
       specific objectives for the site;
   -   an  evaluation  of the environmental performance  of  the  protection
       system employed at the site.
   The  environmental audits to be conducted by all firms  participating  in
   the  scheme  are  a  management tool taking the  form  of  a  systematic,
   documented, regular and objective evaluation of the effectiveness of  the
   organizational arrangements, management and equipment designed to protect
   the environment.  The main aims are:
    (i)     to  make  it  easier for  management  to  control  environmental
   (ii)     to assess compliance with company policies and with the existing
   In the ecocaudit procedure, environmental performance will be assessed by
   reference to the applicable Community and national environment  standards
   and to the best available pollution abatement technologies, as defined by
   Community legislation.
   As  regards  environmental management, the proposal defines a  series  of
   "good management practices" to be applied for the internal  environmental
   protection and auditing systems within the ecoraudit scheme.
   The audits themselves may be carried out by the company's own staff or by
   outside auditors.
                                     - 3 -
   In  either  case, the company must ensure that  accredited  environmental
   verifiers validate the procedures adopted and certify the statements made
   available to the public.
   The  Member States must ensure that within twelve months of the  adoption
   of  the  Regulation the accreditation systems for defining  and  applying
   appropriate   conditions   and  procedures  for  the   accreditation   of
   environmental  verifiers and for supervising their activities  are  fully
   operational.  To  this  end, Member States may either  rely  on  existing
   certification bodies or designate or set up other appropriate bodies.
   The  Commission  will  ensure that uniform  conditions  are  applied  for
   accreditation purposes.
   The competent authorities, industrial federations and professional bodies
   concerned,   noncgovernmental  environmental  and   consumer   protection
   organizations  and  trade unions will be entitled to take  full  part  in
   establishment and management of the accreditation systems.
   Verifiers  accredited  in  one  Member State  will  be  able  to  conduct
   validation activities in any other Member State.
   A  list  of  accredited  environmental verifiers  will  be  drawn  up  at
   Community level.
   All  such  environmental  verifiers shall exercise  their  activities  in
   compliance with professional codes of practice established and revised by
   the Commission.
   The verifiers' role will be to certify:
   -   compliance with all the requirements of the Regulation pertaining  to
       the environmental review and audit processes and to the environmental
   -   the technical validity of the environmental review or audit processes
       and of any other methods and procedures on which the information  and
       data contained in the statement are based;
   -   the  reliability  of the data and information in  the  statement  and
       whether  the statement adequately covers all the major  environmental
       issues and problems of relevance to the site.
   Companies which have obtained such validation may use the eco audit logo:
   -   on the company's environmental statements;
   -   on the company's brochures, reports and information documentation;
   -   on the company's headed paper;
   -   for   the   company's   advertisements,   on   condition   that   the
       advertisements   contain  no  references  to  specific  products   or
   The logo may not be used to advertise specific products or on  individual
   products or packages.
                                     - 4 -
   Special measures have been included to make it easier for small firms  to
   participate in the eco audit scheme.
   For  example,  the Member States may take measures and, possibly  set  up
   structures,  to  provide such companies with the  expertise  and  support
   which  they  need  in  order to comply with  the  rules,  conditions  and
   procedures  defined in the proposal, and in particular to set up  systems
   for environmental protection, environmental auditing, and the preparation
   and validation of environmental statements.
   The  Commission expects this scheme to bring major benefits both for  the
   environment and for the firms which choose to join it.
   It will give firms greater security as regards environmental legislation,
   ensure  more rational environmental practice and improve firms'  standing
   and  credibility with the public, shareholders and  the  authorities.  In
   the  long  term, all this promises economic advantages  and  an  improved
   image.  For this reason, the Commission feels that firms participating in
   the ecosaudit scheme will find the cost benefit balance significantly  to
   their advantage.
                             THE ECOtAUDIT PROCESS
   1.  The company conducts an initial environmental review of the site.
   2.  In  the  light  of the initial review,  the  company  establishes  an
       internal    environmental   protection   system   (general    policy,
       environmental programme, management systems, etc.).
   3.  The company drafts an initial environmental statement.
   4.  The initial statement and the procedures adopted are validated by  an
       accredited environmental verifier.
   5.  The  statement is sent to the competent authorities.  The company  is
       registered on the ecosaudit list.
   6.  The company conducts a regular environmental audit.
   7.  The company prepares an environmental statement at the same intervals
       as the audit and has it validated by the accredited verifier.
   8.  These  regular statements are submitted to the competent  authorities
       and made available to the public.
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