The Community Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is an instrument developed by the European Communities in 1993 for companies that want to continuously improve their environmental performance.
The advantage of an environmental management system is, on the one hand, that processes and procedures can be examined more closely, particularly with regard to resource consumption and waste/wastewater generation, and can thus be optimized, which regularly leads to cost savings. On the other hand, companies that are registered under the EMAS Regulation benefit from financial relief as well as relief in the enforcement of environmental law (e.g. relief in reporting and documentation obligations, monitoring or official controls - keyword: deregulation/substitution). In public tenders, EMAS can also be referred to as proof of technical performance. When awarding contracts to private companies, EMAS participation is also often viewed positively as proof of ecological management. EMAS is recognized both for tax relief when implementing the energy and electricity tax laws for peak compensation and for the special compensation scheme under the Renewable Energy Sources Act. Further advantages can arise in the case of insurance premiums as well as in the case of loans. This is because banks and insurance companies regard EMAS participation as a positive sign in the rating process that the likelihood of environmental damage is reduced.
To obtain EMAS registration, the company must set up an operational environmental management system in accordance with the EMAS Regulation and draw up a so-called environmental statement to inform the public about the environmental management system. An external independent environmental verifier checks whether the information in the environmental statement is correct and whether the other requirements according to the EMAS Regulation have been met. If this is the case, he declares the environmental statement valid (so-called validation). Validation is a prerequisite for registration in the EMAS register in accordance with the EMAS Regulation.
To make it easier for small and medium-sized companies to introduce EMAS, the EMAS Compass was developed as part of the Bavarian Environmental Pact. In a pilot project, small companies were accompanied step by step on their way to EMAS. The working materials (manual) developed and tested in the process, as well as experience and assistance from the project, are available free of charge to all interested companies in Bavaria via a video blog for the independent introduction of EMAS.