Topic 3 EMAS

Main stages of EMAS: 10 steps and 4 key principles (Plan-Do-Check-Act)


  1. Contact your competent body

They will help you with technical advices and with the research of funding opportunities, but he can also advise you on the consultant to hire for your organisation.

  1. Conduct an initial environmental review

It is the assessment of the environmental problems caused by the organisation. There are five main parts to the environmental review:

    • Determine the internal and external issues that might positively or negatively impact the organisation’s EMS;
    • Analyse the expectations of interested parties;
    • Assess the current environmental performance according to the organisation’s current activities;
    • Identify direct and indirect environmental impacts (with a life cycle perspective);
    • Determine applicable legal requirements.
  1. PLAN: Define the environmental policy and programme of your organisation’s EMS

An important step in developing an EMS is defining clearly its scope. The environmental policy and the environmental programme are meant to structure the EMS. The role of the EMS is to ensure their successful implementation.

    • The environmental policy: It is a public document prepared by the organisation declaring the commitment made to the environment. It is also a framework for setting goals and targets, as it indicates the organisation’s intention in terms of performance.
    • The environmental programme: It is the action plan of the organisation translating the environmental policy into precise goals (global environmental goals) and targets (performance expectations). It contains concreate measures, including the responsibilities and the means to achieve them. It is really the driver for constant improvement.
  1. DO: Implement your EMS

Implement what you have learned from the initial review. It is important to have an active employee participation, in order for it to be effectively implemented. You will have to ensure an interactive and transparent internal communication, but also provide them with specific training programmes, in order to enhance internal awareness.

  1. CHECK: Assess the effectiveness of the EMS through an internal environmental audit

Monitor the performance of your processes in terms of environmental aspects. It can be carried out by an internal auditor or by external experts, as long as he remains objective. It is important to develop a management control panel with environmental performance indicators, in order to manage the organisation’s performance as best as possible. It enables the organisation to be clear and transparent, and to compare the information easily.

  1. ACT: Continuously improve your environmental performance

Identify mistakes, document and analyse them in order to eliminate their causes.

  1. File the environmental report

This document is your window to the world. It should concisely mention the organisation’s environmental performance to stakeholders. It describes the achievements regarding the current goals, and the new environmental targets.

  1. Get the EMS verified and validated by the environmental verifier

The latter is independent. Your competent Body can help you find information about accredited environmental verifiers. By analysing documents, visiting the organisation and questioning employees, he will assess the organisation’s compliance with the EMAS Regulation.

  1. Submit registration

Once it is verified and validated, the organisation can send to the Competent body:

    • The declaration signed by the environmental verifier proving that the verification and validation was done with respect to the EMAS Regulation (Annex VII of the Regulation);
    • The completed application form (Annex VI of the Regulation);
    • The EMAS environmental statement that was validated;
    • Proof of payment of fees (if applicable in your country).

These will count as an application for registration. Once received, the Competent Body will register the organisation and the latter will be in the European EMAS register. 

  1. Promote your organisation’s credentials

You can now show (e.g., by using the logo) your environmental commitment to customers, suppliers and authorities. 

As an SME, reaching an environmental certification such as EMAS can be overwhelming.

In order to facilitate this process, the EMAS Easy methodology was specifically developed to support Small organisations.

For more information, click here.