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Green Business

Introduction to EMAS

What is EMAS?

The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, EMAS, is a voluntary environmental management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance.

Organisations implement an Environmental Management System (EMS): they set up procedures to assess and improve their environmental performance. If they follow the demanding guidelines of the EMAS regulation, they can be EMAS-registered.

EMAS’ strict requirements include:

  • Legal compliance with all environmental legislation, checked by a verifier and a public authority
  • Continuous improvement of environmental performance
  • Verification of the performance by a specifically trained verifier
  • Publication of key environmental data in an annual report, the environment statement

The scheme has been operative since April 1995 and has been amended several times (see below).

Check out our Join EMAS section or our presentation of EMAS for organisations if you are interested in becoming EMAS-registered or finding out about the process

EMAS - Combining forward looking business and environmental protection



How does it work?

Becoming an environmental leader and achieving continuous improvement through EMAS is easy, thanks to ten steps and four key principles: Plan-Do-Check-Act!

explanation map of how EMAS works

EMAS Governance

EMAS, ISO 14001 and Regional Labels

Ever wondered what the differences are between EMAS and other labels? What really makes EMAS stand out? 

What is more, if you have already obtained a regional label or the international standard ISO 14001, chances are that you are already fulfilling some requirements of EMAS and your registration process could be simpler as a result.

General publications2 December 2022
EMAS - facsheet EMAS and ISO 14001
(856.07 KB - PDF)


Audit Cycles

What are the audit cycles for small organisations?

With the revision of EMAS in 2010, environmental audits covering all activities at the organisation concerned now must be conducted within an audit cycle of no longer than three years. However, for small organisations EMAS offers derogations (Art. 7 of EMAS Regulation).

Visit our section on small organisations to find out more.

Is a site visit obligatory as part of the renewal of EMAS registration in intervening years?

Yes. The provisions for site visits as part of the renewal of the EMAS registration can be found in Art. 25(4) in conjunction with Art. 6(2) and Art. 18(7) (all in EMAS Regulation). According to Art. 25(4), site visits are obligatory in intervening years. Derogations apply to small organisations according to Art. 7, and Art. 7(3) in particular.

EMAS Global

Check out EMAS Global, if you have sites based outside of Europe!