Eco Management and Audit Scheme

EMAS is the abbreviation for Eco - Management and Audit Scheme, also known as the EU Eco - Audit or Eco-Audit. EMAS was developed by the European Union and is a combined system of environmental management and audit scheme for organizations that want to improve their environmental performance. The EMAS Regulation ( Eco- Management and Audit Scheme ) measures of ownership of the economy to cope with their direct and indirect environmental effects play a decisive role. Can be certified companies, service providers, government offices, etc., but also other types of organization, including inter-governmental organizations. EMAS is one of the so-called " New environmental policy instruments" ( NEPI - new environmental policy instruments ).


At EMAS participating organizations have to publish an environmental statement, in which they ( directly or indirectly) their environmental performance and their environmental objectives, inter alia, to report on their impact on the environment. The environmental statement shall be verified by an independent environmental verifier who is subject to state supervision, to ensure correctness and must be updated annually. At least every three years on the environmental verifier as part of the so-called revalidation among others the environmental management system, compliance with the environmental policy and compliance with the legal regulations ( legal compliance ) and a consolidated environmental statement.

Organizations that successfully pass the examination by the environmental verifier can be registered in the EMAS register ( in Germany this is done with the competent commerce and industry chambers and the chambers of crafts ) and may result in the EMAS logo for their company environmental protection.

Strengths and potentials

The great strength of EMAS is the measurement and publication of the environmental impact of the company and to improve in terms of sustainable development. This impacts both in the sense of pure environmental protection, as well as from the viewpoint of improving the eco-efficiency, which can improve the economic and environmental performance, for example by reducing unnecessary material flows (eco- efficiency).

Weaknesses and problems

The implementation of EMAS includes the same difficulty as all management systems - it requires a high learning and organizational readiness across the enterprise. A merely arranged by management or external consultants reorganization will have little success if the willingness to change not supported by the entire company, but the certification is understood only as a cosmetic seal.

Development of EMAS

Commission Regulation ( EEC) No 1836/93 of 29 June 1993 on the voluntary participation of industrial companies in a Community eco-management and audit scheme, a concept was developed by the EU for the first time created, with the aid of commercial enterprises as a guide to improve its environmental performance should be given. Basis for this regulation is the fifth Environment Action Programme of the European Community on 1 February 1993, the new environmental policy instruments to improve the environmental status should be achieved. In order to assess the effectiveness of the EMAS Regulation, a review of Regulation five years after its entry into force has been set. On 30 October 1998, the first Commission proposal for a revised EMAS Regulation was present, which was after repeated revision and the use of a conciliation committee finally approved by the European Parliament and the Council on 14 February 2001. On April 24, 2001, the currently valid Regulation ( EC) No 761/ 2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2001 allowing voluntary participation by organizations in a Community eco-management and audit scheme ( EMAS) in the Official Journal of the European Communities. This Regulation will be briefly referred to as EMAS II and entered into force on 27 April 2001.

Development - EMAS II

The aim of the old and the new EMAS Regulation is to continuously improve the environmental performance of a company. With EMAS II was an attempt to eliminate the main criticisms of EMAS. Inter alia There were the following changes:

  • Extension of the existing scope ( commercial companies ) to so-called organizations. These are companies, corporations, firms, companies, authorities or institution, or part or combination thereof, whether incorporated or not, public or private, that has its own functions and administration.
  • To improve the connection to industry standard ISO 14001 which set out therein to the environmental management component of EMAS II were
  • Companies with multiple locations can now be validated in a process.

Novella - EMAS III

On 11 January 2010 entered a new EC Regulation ( No 1221/ 2009, shortly referred to as EMAS III ) in force with the previously applicable regulations were summarized and modified.


The most significant change by EMAS III relates to relief for small and medium businesses. You must their environmental statement only every two years (instead of annually ) and upgrade every four ( instead of three ) years be validated by an expert. In addition, the EMAS III Regulation specifies the requirements for the content of the environmental statement, expands the scope of the Regulation to companies outside the EU and requires Member States to support the dissemination of EMAS.


The amendment is based on a European Commission proposal from 2008. The Commission 's objective to maintain the high standard and EMAS at the same time to increase the attractiveness of the system and thus the number of registrations. EU standardization experts from consumer groups criticized, however, after the adoption of the amendment, a company could follow all EMAS requirements, without providing a good environmental performance.

Implementation in Germany

In Germany, substantial parts of the EMAS Regulation will be implemented by the Environmental Audit Act (UAG ). In UAG inter alia, the licensing and supervisory system for the environmental verifier is regulated. It also constitutes the environmental verifier Committee (UGA ), which has the task of advising the Federal Environment Ministry in the area of this voluntary environmental audits to adopt guidelines for the application of the Environmental Audit Act and to promote the dissemination of EMAS in Germany. In UGA the following interests are represented: Economic, Environmental expert, environmental and economic management of the federal and state governments, trade unions and environmental organizations. The 25 volunteer members are supported in their work and commitment of a full-time office based in Berlin.

In June 2007, the German Evangelical Church was the first major event series in Germany the EMAS environmental certification. The scientific monitoring was carried out by the Research Center of the Evangelical Association for the study


The number of organizations that can be validated in accordance with EMAS, has declined slightly in the old EU countries and rising slightly in most acceded to the EU since 2004 States. The " highlight " of the EMAS validation was in the years 2001 and 2002, which is still Germany ( followed by Italy and Spain ), the most EMAS validation. In Germany, a total of 1,224 organizations (with 1,873 locations ) according to EMAS. Across Europe, there are 4,155 organizations in 8,376 locations (as of June 28, 2013 ).

The reasons for the slow growth of validations are complex, but should mainly be due to the following aspects:

  • Lack of international acceptance of EMAS. The international standard ISO 14001 is recognized worldwide, EMAS, however, is limited to the EU.
  • Furthermore, EMAS II is based on an Environmental Management System according to ISO 14001 and extends the requirements for a binding legal compliance, and substantive accountability through the environmental statement. The registration procedure is somewhat more extensive than in ISO 14001., The economic benefit to the company is equal to or even higher, since the EMAS validation should be taken into account in public procurement projects, and also includes an ISO 14001 certification.

Particularly in Germany, the participating companies from the political facilitation was provided (eg, more self-monitoring ) and financial incentives (partial waiver of fees) in view. These incentives are now in the majority of states, but perhaps came too late. In some states, be assimilated in the provision of administrative and fee reductions ISO 14001 and EMAS, so that there is also this incentive is eliminated. Whether EMAS a company actually costs more than ISO 14001 is controversial, especially since there is no mandatory audit days as in ISO certifications in EMAS. The latest EU directive on public awards ( 2004/18/EC) are clearly companies with EMAS represented, which should contribute to the further dissemination.


Based on the environmental audit according to the EMAS Regulation has in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg, and in the Protestant Church in Baden the environmental audit " The Green Gockel " developed. It is specially adapted to the conditions and the structure of a church community.

Another specialization is the sustainability management concept EMASplus. It follows the EMAS standards in structure and sequence. EMASplus also includes an improvement cycle that includes next "Environment " includes the topics of " economy" and " social ", which guarantees about the Sustainability Report, a transparent information to the public and can be validated by independent appraisers. In the three-year trial period from 2004 to 2006, the concept has been tested in more than 40 religious and social enterprises. A fact -based policy EMASplus enables the integrated certification of sustainability management in accordance with EMAS and ISO 9001. ( )

Another approach to dissemination of EMAS is the EMASEasy concept, which is specifically tailored to small and micro enterprises.