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Green Business

How can EMAS benefit you?

EMAS helps organisations optimise internal processes, achieve legal compliance, reduce environmental impacts, and use resources more efficiently for all kinds of organisations - enjoy its benefits!

Premium Benefits through EMAS

EMAS helps organisations optimise their internal processes, achieve legal compliance, reduce environmental impacts, and use resources more efficiently. All kinds of organisations – public and private, large multi-national companies as well as small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with few financial resources and limited in-house environmental management expertise – can enjoy the benefits.

Through the EMAS Global Mechanism, EMAS can be implemented worldwide – in the EU and beyond.

EMAS is the ideal complement to ISO 14001 and allows organisations that are already certified by ISO 14001 to go the extra mile in a few easy steps.

EMAS stands for PERFORMANCE, CREDIBILITY and TRANSPARENCY. Navigate in the menus on the left to have concrete examples of benefits EMAS registered organisations can experience .

 To learn more about implementing EMAS…

...check out this short video here.

…check out how to Join EMAS, with special guidance for SMEs

…at sectoral level, Best Environmental Management Practice documents support organisations in specific sectors to realise their full potential.

…at national level, EMAS Competent Bodies provide sectoral guidelines for EMAS implementation, general resources for all organisations, and tips for finding consultants. Find out more from your national Competent Body.

…at EU level, the Users’ Guide translates the EMAS Regulation into practical steps. If you haven’t found an answer to your questions, do not hesitate to contact the EMAS Helpdesk.

SME corner

SMEs (companies with fewer than 250 employees or a turnover of less than €50 million euro) and micro-enterprises are the backbone of the European economy, driving economic growth and providing jobs for a significant number of people. Despite these benefits, they collectively create a substantial impact on the environment. Therefore, encouraging SMEs towards more sustainable practices is essential in lessening this environmental impact, as well as saving energy and resources.

To this end, EMAS has elaborated several provisions to meet the needs of SMEs in order to facilitate their meeting the requirements of the scheme.

As an SME, your organisation can benefit from several advantages:

  • EMAS full verification can be carried out every four years, instead of every three.
  • The time period for internal audit can be extended from one year to two.
  • Your environmental statement can be published every two years, provided that you forward the non-validated, updated environmental statement to the Competent Body every year.
  • Environmental verifiers take into account the characteristics specific to small organisations in order to avoid unnecessarily burdening them.
  • Fees are designed to be proportionate to the size of the organisation.

Technical and financial support for SMEs is provided on four levels:

  • Member States make available information on legal requirements and enforcement authorities, as well as technical information regarding environmental verifiers, registration procedures, grants and support.
  • Financial support is available in some regions and Member States in order to encourage the participation of SMEs in EMAS. These initiatives are explained in the Compendium on EMAS Promotion and Policy Support in the Member States. Contact your Competent Body to find out if these funding opportunities are available in your Member State or region.
  • The European Commission helps organisations by recognising other environmental management systems and by integrating EMAS into EU policies, which could be relevant to your SME if it is already affiliated to a regional label.
  • The European Commission has issued Sectoral Reference Documents which provides best management practices to inspire SMEs
  • The EMAS Easy method , a comprehensive methodology on EMAS implementation (read below)

SMEs who have implemented EMAS have consistently benefited financially from the resulting increases in energy efficiency and saving of resources due to their participation in the scheme. More information on the benefits attained by EMAS-registered organisations is available in the “Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations”.


SMEs can become EMAS registered by using the EMAS Easy method. Based on the Ecomapping concept, EMAS Easy is a way to implement EMAS that takes into account the size, financial capacity and organisational culture of small businesses. It brings a number of new features to the table in order to guide SMEs into compliance with EMAS, while still focusing on what matters: environmental protection in their everyday production.

EMAS Easy also supports the EMS implementation in a group of SMEs, facilitated by a consultant. This approach is useful for organisations in the same sector of activity or located in the same geographical area. Local authorities, in cooperation with chambers of commerce, industrial associations and others, can provide support for SMEs that are seeking to implement EMAS by facilitating a cluster and step-by-step approach.

The EMAS Easy guidance is available here.

Benefits of EMAS registration

Why should my organisation participate in EMAS?

Interest from stakeholders in organisations’ environmental performance is continually increasing. It is no longer possible for organisations to operate without taking into account the environmental consequences of their actions. Organisations with a proactive approach to environmental challenges want to improve their (environmental) performance continuously. EMAS is the perfect tool to achieve this.

Check out our best practices to find out about some of the accomplishments of EMAS registered organisations.

What are the benefits of EMAS for organisations?

The EMAS for organisations presentation offers a succinct overview of its advantages, from improved environmental performance to higher legal compliance. 69% of EMAS-registered organisations feel that EMAS helps them achieve legal compliance more easily and completely than ISO 14001 alone for instance.

A 2009 study from the European Commission, the ‘Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations’, analysed the costs and benefits of EMAS registration. Convincing evidence was found for a number of benefits arising from EMAS registration, including reduced costs for resource and waste management, risk minimisation, regulatory compliance, regulatory relief, improved relations with internal and external stakeholders, and achieving a competitive advantage. Check out the study here.

What are the benefits of EMAS for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?

Generally, SMEs and micro enterprises can realise many of the same benefits that larger organisations gain from EMAS registration. The European Commission ‘Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations’ identified energy and resource savings as important benefits, since most environmental impacts also have financial implications, as they represent inefficient use of substances.

SMEs can also make use of a number of support mechanisms when opting to become EMAS registered:

  • EMAS Easy: a method for implementing EMAS that takes into account the size, financial capacity and organisational culture of small businesses. Find out more and download the EMAS Easy brochure.
  • Implementation Tools: designed to help any organisation implement EMAS. The tools are easy to use and facilitate the collection and analysis of data. Find out more.

Check out our section dedicated to SMEs for further information.

Transition from a non-formal environmental management system to EMAS

Why should my organisation move from another environmental management system to EMAS?

The number of non-formal environmental management systems is increasing throughout the EU, as they have been designed to cover specific needs coming from specific areas or specific sectors of activity. Though each Environmental Management System represents a worthy step towards improved environmental performance, committed organisations can reach a point at which they face the system’s limits. EMAS is the premium benchmark for environmental management, and significantly enhances the performance, credibility and transparency of registered organisations.

To find out what makes EMAS unique, visit our section on Premium Benefits through EMAS or the presentation on EMAS for organisations. You may also be interested in finding out about the successes that registered organisations have had with the help of EMAS: check out our best practices.

Can non-formal environmental management systems or parts thereof be recognised as complying with corresponding EMAS requirements?

Yes, this is possible. Based on Article 45 of the EMAS Regulation, existing environmental management systems or parts thereof can be recognised as complying with corresponding requirements of EMAS. This recognition is valuable for organisations seeking to register with EMAS: they can become EMAS registered by using the previous work they have carried out to fulfil part of the criteria required for EMAS.

In 2009, the European Commission launched a study outlining a step-by-step approach to upgrading from selected non-formal EMS and ISO 14001 to EMAS. You can find it here.

Competent Bodies can submit requests to haven national and regional labels in their country recognised under Article 45 of the EMAS Regulation. To date, only the Norwegian scheme Eco-Lighthouse has gone through this process and had some parts of its system officially recognised. The decision was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

You can find all relevant information on EMAS & Regional Labels here.