Environmental Management Systems – Your A – Z guide

Introducing EMAS

emas logoEMAS - the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, is a voluntary initiative designed to improve companies’ environmental performance. It was initially established by European Regulation 1836/93, which has since been updated twice with REGULATION (EC) No 1221/2009 coming into force in January 2010.

Its aim is to recognise and reward those organisations that go beyond minimum legal compliance and continuously improve their environmental performance. In addition, it is a requirement of the scheme that participating organisations regularly produce a public environmental statement that reports on their environmental performance. It is this voluntary publication of environmental information, whose accuracy and reliability has been independently checked by an environmental verifier, that gives EMAS and those organisations that participate enhanced credibility and recognition.

Environmental management has become a core business issue for many organisations. Minimising the amount of waste that is produced, reducing energy consumption and making more efficient use of resources can all lead to financial cost savings, in addition to helping to protect and enhance the environment. EMAS is strongly backed by Government and the environmental regulators - organisations who participate are recognised as making strong commitments to the environment and to improving their economic competitiveness.




The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) regulation came into effect on 11 January this year and the UK would encourage organisations to pursue EMAS registration. In addition to the requirements of EMAS, the regulation also contains some permissive provisions which Member States can choose whether to implement or not. The UK has opted not to make use of the permissive article which provides for organisations outside the EU to apply for EMAS registration in the UK.


The decision not to allow for non-EU registration is on grounds that there would be resource costs with few clear benefits. The UK position will be kept under review in the light of developments on EU guidance. The UK has further decided not to appoint a separate licensing body in the UK, or allow the licensing of natural persons as environmental verifiers for the purposes of EMAS. Again, there would appear to be little benefit to the UK. This decision is supported by the key stakeholders – the Institute of Environmental Management Assessment (IEMA) as the UK competent body; and the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS), as the national accreditation body. The Devolved Administrations have been consulted in reaching the UK position on these permissive articles in the EMAS regulation.

The following link will access the EU web site:


The following link will access the EMAS toolkit for Small and Medium sized businesses (SMEs)

EMAS Toolkit


For further information please contact: emas@iema.net



Last modified August 27, 2015 2:37:38 PM