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.
- Enhanced credibility, transparency and reputation
- continuous improvement of environmental performance is verified
- independently validated reporting through environmental statement
- an opportunity to stand out from the crowd with a premium instrument, leading to increased business opportunities in markets that prioritise green production processes
- better relations with customers, the local and wider community, and regulators
- EMAS logo as a marketing tool
- Enhanced environmental risks and opportunities management
- guarantee of full regulatory compliance with environmental legislation
- reduced risk of fines related to environmental legislation
- regulatory relief
- access to deregulation incentives
- access to public contracts
- Enhanced environmental and financial performance
- high quality environmental management
- resource efficiency and cost savings
- Enhanced employee empowerment and motivation
- improved workplace environment
- enhanced employee commitment
- greater team-building capacity
Check out the 3x3 Good Reasons for EMAS brochure to learn about this premium environmental management instrument and how it supports tackling key management challenges, helps with risk & opportunity management and the disctinctive features that make EMAS unique.
- EMAS benefits fact sheet
- Compendium of EMAS Promotion and Policy Support measures: regulatory relief available for EMAS organisations, financial support, promotional activities
- Fact sheet on the differences between EMAS and ISO 14001
- Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations
If your organisation is interested in registering with EMAS we encourage you to contact your national Competent Body. Your national Competent Body is there to help you with any questions you may have on your way to EMAS.
As the only environmental management tool requiring publication of an annual, independently validated environmental statement with detailed core indicators, EMAS provides registered organisations with a high degree of transparency.
EMAS registered organisations can use their environmental statements and the official EMAS logo to give their clients and customers a clear signal of their commitment to environmental performance, backed up by real data.
These efforts are recognised not only by customers, but also by regulators in the Member States. Several national and local regulators accept the EMAS registration and environmental statement as proof of an organisation's legal compliance or to fulfil other reporting requirements. This recognition can lead to many benefits for EMAS registered organisations, including fewer inspections and less administrative work. Examples:
- France's Grenelle II CSR reporting requirement - Section 225 states that EMAS registered organisations do not have to submit environmental information in their CSR report, as the EMAS environmental statement serves as a substitute.
- Germany’s Waste Management and Product Recycling Act allows EMAS registered waste disposal organisations to follow “privileged rules” that eliminate waiting periods and other requirements as long as the organisation’s environmental statement contains detailed information on waste.
- Germany's 2015 Federal Act on Energy Services introduced a new obligation for large companies to conduct an energy audit meeting the specifications of DIN EN 16247-1 every four years. The new rule affects all organisations in the manufacturing and service sectors with more than 250 employees and more than € 50 million annual turnover. EMAS registered organisations now automatically meet the requirements of the energy audit and must only prove their EMAS registration status. An ISO 14001 certification, which does not contain a guarantee of legal compliance or a mandatory environmental statement, is not sufficient.
- In 2012, the Italian region of Lombardy reduced inspection fees by 30 % for EMAS registered organisations, based largely on their transparency and independently verified legal compliance. Organisations with only ISO 14001 received a 20% discount.
- In Sweden, public authorities must report their work with their environmental management system and the associated direct and indirect impacts to the Swedish government and to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency on a yearly basis. EMAS's reporting requirements make it easy for the public authorities there and in other countries with reporting requirements to produce the necessary data.
Unlike other EMS certifications, the EMAS regulation requires legal compliance with all relevant environmental legislation. This compliance is determined by third-party auditors and ensured by government supervision.
In a 2014 survey of over 400 EMAS registered organisations in Europe, a majority of respondents identified "improved legislative compliance" and "reduced risk of environmental sanctions" as the top benefits they received from EMAS.
EMAS can help organisations to identify, evaluate and comply with ever-changing and more demanding environmental regulations - and even to go beyond them in a cost-effective manner!
A number of Member States give benefits to EMAS organisations in recognition of their high level of legal compliance. Examples:
- Primarily because of EMAS's requirement for independently certified legal compliance, Austria's Federal Procurement Agency gives EMAS registered organisations extra points in certain bidding evaluations in comparison to ISO 14001 companies or non-certified companies.
- France exempts EMAS registered organisations under the Industrial Emissions Directive from environmental inspections provided they have demonstrated legal compliance in their environmental statements. Other Member States, including Poland, Malta and Spain, have either reduced or are in the process of reducing inspections for EMAS registered organisations under their laws transposing the IED.
- Tuscany’s Law 79/2013 on the reorganisation of tax cuts for businesses affecting the regional tax on productive activities (IRAP) reduces the IRAP tax for EMAS organisations by 0.6 %.
- Based on EMAS’s guarantee of independently verified legal compliance through a government-approved verifier, Poland exempts EMAS registered organisations from the fee required to enter the country's mandatory waste registry. This discount is only available to EMAS registered organisations and not those with other certified EMS.
- Portugal has accepted EMAS registration as proof that EMAS registered nature tourism organisations meet ecological criteria required by national law.
- Environmental permits for Greek EMAS registered manufacturing organisations are now valid for 14 years rather than 10, based on EMAS’s transparency and legal compliance. Those with only ISO 14001 have inspections every 12 years.
Be environmentally friendly AND save money?
EMAS offers organisations the management tools to save resources of all types – from trees to euros. With EMAS, organisations can quantify their resource use and develop plans to improve their environmental performance, reaching environmental goals while coming up with new, more efficient management processes.
In a survey of German EMAS registered organisations, 67% of respondents reported having achieved (very) high or medium energy cost savings. Emissions rank in second position among cost savings, followed by savings in the areas of waste and disposal as well as water and wastewater.
Across the EU, organisations report similar benefits with the help of EMAS. The scheme requires them to make continual performance improvements and provides many support mechanisms. At national level, EMAS Competent Bodies in the Member States have guidelines for EMAS implementation in certain sectors (for more information, please get in touch with your national Competent Body ). At an EU level, the EMAS Best Environmental Management Practice documents help organisations to fulfil the EMAS reporting requirements.
Examples of organisations achieving substantial resource and cost savings include:
- The Gloria Palace Hotel Amadores in Spain now obtains 22% of their energy consumption from renewable sources which they operate themselves. Total cost savings since then have been approximately €300,000 annually - so the investment has already more than paid for itself.
- The Polish public organisation Regional Centre for Water and Wastewater Management Co. (RCGW S.A.) has developed a method for using processed waste from the food industry to produce biogas. By 2015, their biogas production exceeded their energy consumption by 50%. RCGW invests the revenues gained from this excess into innovation research and projects to support the local community.
- COMEXI Group Industries S.A.U. from Spain have developed a new type of printer that eliminates the use of solvent based inks in the printing process, eliminating the emission of VOCs. This makes the printing process more energy efficient, consuming 40% less energy than current printing systems. It also significantly reduces CO2 emissions by eliminating the need for end of pipe air emission treatments.
1. Cost savings in the area of emissions can be considered primarily as savings relevant to emissions trading or to emissions-related approvals (e.g. in accordance with BImSchG). However, it is not clear whether the (overall very high) cost savings from emissions reported here result entirely from the factors mentioned, or whether the respondents added other savings, such as in energy costs, to the area of emissions
Employees of EMAS organisations can feel like they are really making a difference.
EMAS's employee involvement requirement means that all employees have the opportunity to really influence environmental management processes and make their own environments greener.
Businesses are increasingly realising the important role of corporate social responsibility measures . People working for an organisation that involves its employees tend to be happier and more productive in their jobs. EMAS is one step ahead because it has encouraged employee involvement from the beginning.
Sometimes the ideas of these involved employees can even lead to eco-innovations that save both resources and money!
Examples of how organisations have benefited from their employees’ involvement:
- After the UK Environment Agency urged its staff to think up ways to reduce their carbon footprints, employees came up with the idea of using methanol fuel cells to power the agency's fish counting equipment. Since the batteries no longer have to be changed so frequently, employees save 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per year per fuel cell, totalling more than 50 tonnes of CO2 every year. The cells paid for themselves within six months, while the agency continues to save all associated travel costs!
- An engaged employee of a small Swedish company, HR Björkman Entremattor, invented an oxygen pump that made water purification more efficient, allowing the company to introduce a washing system that reduced water consumption by half between 2009 and 2013. The company saved resources and won a 2014 EMAS award for this eco-innovation.
- In 2015, Metallbau Haslinger GmbH, a medium-sized German business producing steel constructions and overhead cranes, achieved carbon neutrality despite its energy-intensive processes. Its business model is highly successful due to the motivation and engagement of its employees, who see themselves as “sun welders”. They work in shifts from sunrise to sunset in order to make maximum use of the photovoltaic power produced throughout the day.
- La Page Original, a Spanish graphic design and visual communications studio, has only three employees. Yet their engagement has had an impact far beyond the business itself. EMAS has helped them communicate and put into practice their ambitious environmental goals. With this clear message, they have been able to green the buying behaviour of their clients and attract new customers.
- The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Berlin enjoys a high level of recognition for its strong committment to environmental protection and social responsibility. The hotel produces its own honey from beehives on the roof and organises local community projects. Employees feel proud to be a part of the enterprise, which has had a very positive impact on their customer service.
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.