Urban Environmental Management
Cities, EMS and Everything
Putting up a Green Front
Return to the main ISO 14001 page
Return to
List of Info Sheets

EMAS and Local Governments in Europe

The European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a Europe-wide initiative set up to encourage a range of entities, including the private sector, to improve its environmental performance. Like ISO 14001, the implementation and adoption of requirements under EMAS is voluntary, but pressure to adopt from national and regional governments is high.

Much like ISO 14001, EMAS regulations require formulation and implementation of an environmental policy with commitment to continuous improvement; the setting up of an environmental management system and procedures for monitoring and verifying its compliance; and conduct environmental audits and site-based environmental statements. It requires third party verification of all statements, and public access to the information.

EMAS is site-specific and voluntary. EMAS-qualified sites must show evidence of a management system such as that contained in ISO 14001, as well as evidence of performance and auditing activities. It must issue a public statement of its objectives and targets, establish a register of significant environmental effects and pledge to use best available technologies, items not required in ISO 14001.

ISO 14001 EMAS BS 7750
Adopted internationally Across EU Across UK, but also elsewhere
Applied to whole organization or part Applied to site only Applied to whole organization
Covers whole organization activities, products and services Specific site and industrial activities Any sector or activity
Applicable to non-industrial activities, e.g. transport, local government etc. Can include non-industrial activities (experimental basis) Open to non-industrial activities
Auditing is not concerned with environmental performance Auditing is concerned only with environmental performance and compliance with relevant environmental legislation Auditing is not concerned with environmental performance
Frequency of audit is not specified and can be negotiated Maximum audit frequency at three years Frequency of audit is not specified
Only environmental policy needs to be publicly available Environmental policy programme and management system must be made publicly available. Only environmental policy needs to be publicly available

Source: UNCRD (1999) ISO 14001 and Regional Environmental Management: A Case Study of Central Japan. Nagoya: UN Centre for Regional Development

Return to the ISO 14001 Homepage
Return to Info Sheet Contents
Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org