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"Seacourt epitomise our core values of ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly work."

The Difference Between EMAS and ISO14001

Posted by: Gareth Dinnage | Sep 09, 2014

The EMAS (EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) credential is well recognised and acknowledged as one of the highest of environmental performance systems available on the market.  In this article we discuss  the power behind EMAS and why it’s different to the more prevalent ISO9001. 

Developed by the European Commission, EMAS is a management system which provides a structure for evaluation, reporting and importantly, improvement of environmental performance.  The programme is open to all businesses across all sectors globally.  Currently there are more than 4500 organisations and more than 8000 sites which are EMAS registered.  They are made up of a variety of bodies – from multinational companies to small businesses to public sector organisations. 

The EMAS qualification is a premium level credential.  It requires stringent processing of information and continuous improvement in performance and so is not for the faint-hearted.  If you take on EMAS, you are clearly serious about your organisation’s sustainable orientation, and in return it enhances performance, offers depth of credibility to all stakeholders and transparency due to its public nature.  

The Difference between EMAS & ISO 14001

ISO 14001 is a creditable and well-regarded qualification.  It provides an accessible entry into environmental management and can form a stepping stone towards the more stringent EMAS qualification. 

The core difference beyond the additional factors of public reporting, employee involvement, legal compliance and third-party verification ( as shown on the above diagram), is the fact that ISO 14001 is a management tool whereas EMAS monitors both management and performance, and is a driver of continuous and significant improvement.  

EMAS – Continual Investment and  Improvement

By it’s very nature, once you have EMAS there is no resting on laurels!  There is a continuous programme for improvement and performance in order to retain the qualification.  Having completed all the steps to create an environmental programme, this needs continual reviewing, auditing and reporting on an annual basis.  

In summary, EMAS is not just for the big industrial bodies but for organisations of all sizes and sectors.  However, the common factor is that these organisations are all committed to best practice and sustainability is prized as a core business value.