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The Future of EMAS – 10 years European Environmental Management and Audit Scheme

Thomas Kiel

elni Review 2005, Issue 1,  pp. 12-15. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2005.002

The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is the European Union (EU) voluntary scheme for organisations willing to commit themselves to evaluate, improve and report on their environmental performances. The scheme was launched in April 1995 and was originally restricted to companies of industrial sectors. EMAS II revision has opened the instrument since 2001 to all economic sectors including public and private services. In addition, EMAS was strengthened by the integration of parts of EN ISO 14001 standard as environmental management system requirement; by adopting an attractive logo to signal EMAS registration to the public; and by considering more strongly indirect environmental aspects such as those related to external traffic, financial services or administrative and planning decisions. Participating in EMAS is voluntary and extends to public or private organisations operating in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. In all new member states the EMAS Regulation came into force with the association to the EU in May 2004. On 15 November 2004 a revised version of ISO environmental management standard 14001 was published. The author takes this for opportunity to think about the future developments of EMAS. 
After ten years practice of a new and proactive instrument in voluntary environmental management a turning point is reached. The commission has to decide whether to give EMAS a permanent place within the canon of environmental policy instruments and to strengthen its use by different means or to restrain from EU management requirements and leave further decisions on development of environmental management tools to the private market.

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References:

  1. Council Regulation (EEC) No 1836/93 of 29 June 1993, OJ L 168/1.
  2. Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2001 (EMAS II), OJ L 114/1.
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