The European
Eco Management & Audit Scheme

from the

This page provides an introduction to the Eco-Management & Audit Scheme, and provides links to many other environmentally oriented pages.


EMAS Description
Audit & Review Cycle
Comparison of EMAS, ISO14001 & BS7750
Other Environmental Pages

EMAS Description

EMAS is generally a site based registration system with due consideration provided to off site activities that may have a bearing upon the products and services of the primary site. Within the UK an extension to the scheme has been agreed for local government operations, who may also register their Environmental Management Systems to the EMAS Regulations.

EMAS requires an Environmental Policy to be in existence within the organisation, fully supported by senior management, and outlining the policies of the company, not only to the staff but to the general public and other stake holders. The policy needs to clarify compliance with Environmental Regulations that may effect the organisation and stress a commitment to continuos improvement. Emphasis has been placed on policy as this provides the direction for the remainder of the Management System.

Those companies who have witnessed ISO9000 Assessments will know that the policy is frequently discussed during the assessment, many staff are asked if they understand or are aware of the policy, and any problems associated with the policy are seldom serious. The Environmental Policy is different, this provides the initial foundation and direction for the Management System and will be more stringently reviewed than a similar ISO9000 policy. The statement must be publicised in non-technical language so that it can be understood by the majority of readers. It should relate to the sites within the organisation encompassed by the Management System, it should provide an overview of the company’s activities on the site and a description of those activities. A clear picture of the company’s operations.

In addition to a summary of the process, the statement requires quantifiable data on current emissions and environmental effects emanating from the site, waste generated, raw materials utilised, energy and water resources consumed, and any other environmental aspect that may relate to operations on the site.

The preparatory review is part of an EMAS Assessment. This is not the case for BS7750. The Environmental Review must be comprehensive in consideration of input processes and output at the site. This control process is designed to identify all relevant environmental aspects that may arise from existence on the site. These may relate to current operations, they may relate to future, perhaps even unplanned future activities, and they will certainly relate to the activities performed on site in the past (i.e. contamination of land).

The initial or preparatory review will also include a wide-ranging consideration of the legislation which may effect the site, whether it is currently being complied with, and perhaps even whether copies of the legislation are available. Many of the environmental assessments undertaken already have highlighted that companies are often unaware of ALL of the legislation that affects them, and being unaware, are often not meeting the requirements of that legislation.

The company will declare its primary environmental objectives, those that can have most environmental impact. In order to gain most benefit these will become the primary areas of consideration within the improvement process, and the company’s environmental programme. The programme will be the plan to achieve specific goals or targets along the route to a specific goal and describe the means to reach those objectives such that they are real and achievable. The Environmental Management System provides further detail on the environmental programme. The EMS establishes procedures, work instructions and controls to ensure that implementation of the policy and achievement of the targets can become a reality. Communication is a vital factor, enabling people in the organisation to be aware of their responsibilities, aware of the objectives of the scheme, and able to contribute to its success.

The environmental audit and review cycle

As with ISO9000 the Environmental Management System requires a planned comprehensive periodic audit of the Environmental Management System to ensure that it is effective in operation, is meeting specified goals, and the system continues to perform in accordance with relevant regulations and standards. The audits are designed to provide additional information in order to exercise effective management of the system, providing information on practices which differ to the current procedures or offer an opportunity for improvement. Under EMAS the bare minimum frequency for an audit is at least once every three years.

Most companies are used to producing an annual report and accounts describing the activities of the organisation over the previous year, and its plans for the future. EMAS generally expects a similar system for the company’s environmental performance. That there should be a periodic statement about performance during the previous period, a set of current performance data, and notice of any particular plans for the future that may have an effect upon the environmental performance of the organisation, whether detrimental or beneficial.

The peculiarity with EMAS is that the policy statement, the programme, the management system and audit cycles are reviewed and validated by an external accredited EMAS verifier. The verifier not only provides a registration service but is also required to confirm, and perhaps even sign, the company’s periodic environmental statements.

Comparison of EMS Standards

System ElementISO14000EMASBS7750
Environmental Management System4.0ANNEX I, Part B4.1
Preparatory Environmental ReviewANNEX A.4.2.1 (Guide)Article 3, Paragraph b ANNEX I, Part CANNEX A.1.2 (Guide)
Environmental Policy4.1ANNEX I, Part A and D4.2
Organisation and Personnel4.3.1, 4.3.2ANNEX I, Part B2 & D114.3
Environmental Effects/ Aspects4.2.1, 4.2.2ANNEX I, Part B3 & D2/34.4
Objectives and Targets4.2.3ANNEX I, Part A44.5
Environmental Management Programmes4.2.4ANNEX I, Part A54.6
Manual and Documentation4.3.4, 4.3.5ANNEX I, Part B54.7
Operational Controls4.3.6, 4.3.7, 4.4.1, 4.4.2ANNEX I, Part B4 & D6-74.8
Records4.4.3ANNEX I, Part B54.9
EMAS Audits4.4.4ANNEX I, Part B6, ANNEX II4.10
Management Review4.5ANNEX I, Part B14.11
Environmental StatementN/AArticle 5 and ANNEX VN/A

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