First step towards the introduction of EMAS is to determine the status quo and the finding of aspired environmental goals. Which relevant environmental impact has the organisation? Where do we want to stand in a few years? An operationalisation of the objectives is then accomplished by the development of concrete improvement measures and the distribution of responsibilities. Core indicators as energy and water consumption and waste generation provide comprehensibility. Through an internal audit process the effectiveness of the system is ensured. A special feature of EMAS is that the objectives and measures (and later their achievement) are documented in an environmental statement for the public and are thus made transparent.
In the next step, a publicly appointed environmental verifier (Register of EMAS verifiers at DAU Bonn GmbH) checks the organisation’s environmental management system and validates the environmental statement. Another special feature of EMAS is that the compliance with the relevant environmental legislation is to be confirmed by the verifier.
Finally, the organisation applies for registration at the regional EMAS registration body. Before the registration can be made, the registration body consults the local competent enforcement authorities in order to ensure that there is no evidence of breach of applicable legal requirements relating to the environment. The registration body confirms the registration in a notification. The organisation receives an individual registration number and is from then on entitled to use the EMAS logo.
Core of EMAS is the continuous improvement of the environmental performance of the organisation or company. The registration is valid for three years (in small organisations up to four years). In addition the organisation has to provide an annual update of the environmental statement. After three (four) years a new validated environmental statement with new objectives has to be presented.
EMAS is a management system that sets high standards. Especially for the initial setup of the management system - as with other management systems - a relatively high organisational effort is needed. Approaches like EMASeasy or Ecomapping can help smaller organisations to take the hurdle easier. On the other hand, EMAS shows in a well-structured way, opportunities to improve the own environmental performance and resource efficiency, guarantee transparency and credibility as well as legal compliance (see also: Good reasons for EMAS).