New eco management and audit scheme allows companies to advertise their green credentials
Following a process of European Commission and Member State consultation on the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), the UK’s largest environmental trade fair, ET2001, hosted the launch of the new scheme, which is now more appropriate for the needs of companies, allowing them to advertise their green credentials, make a public commitment to improving their environmental performance and strengthen relations with customers and regulators. The scheme may also mean that regulation costs paid to the Environment Agency by companies which have a reputation for good environmental management are lower than for less sustainable firms, an Agency spokesperson told edie.
EMAS is a voluntary environmental registration scheme which requires organisations to implement an environmental management system in order to deliver continuous environmental improvement and report publicly on their performance in an environmental statement. Originally launched in July 1993, the UK was the first country in Europe to register organisations under the scheme in 1995. After five years of operation, the European Commission led a review to identify areas where improvements could be made. The new scheme also allows companies to meet the needs of markets and stakeholders and demonstrate legal compliance.
The scheme now:
- is available to all sectors of business;
- incorporates ISO 14001 as the management system;
- requires validated environmental reporting, but allows flexibility for organisations to tailor environmental information for specific interest groups;
- enables corporate and multi site registration;
- has a logo that can be used with validated green claims in advertisements;
- involves the environmental regulators in the registration process.
“The Environment Agency fully supports the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, and we recognise the additional emphasis placed on legal compliance, environmental performance and public environmental reporting by the scheme,” said Baroness Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency. “Just as we expect business to increase and improve efficiency, we recognise that we need to improve the efficiency with which we regulate those organisations. The new EMAS scheme has the potential to help us in this process by recognising organisations that have made a real commitment to the environment.”
The EMAS launch also saw the announcement of the first company to be certified under the new scheme. Cosworth Technology, a supplier of powertrain engineering services to the automotive industry, is possibly even the first company in Europe to be successfully assessed against the revised regulation, says a company spokesman. According to Cosworth Technology, the revised regulation is particularly suited to the company as it now recognises multiple sites, with the certification currently covering two facilities, and a third to be added next year.
“There are two predominant benefits that Cosworth Technology has gained through the Environmental Management System,” said Ian Riggs, Quality Director at Cosworth. “It enhanced transparency and control of our environmental aspects and legislative requirements.” According to Anna Broadhurst, Quality Leader at Cosworth Technology, the company is “now in a far better position to improve performance and lower costs through activities such as energy efficiency and waste reduction.”
“Now that Cosworth Technology has achieved EMAS registration, we can not only manage the requirements of customers and the challenges presented by legislation, we can turn them around to be opportunities for improvements which can directly impact our bottom line and improve the environment in which we operate,” said Broadhurst.