In recent years, more and more product certifications and institutes such as EMAS have emerged. Their aim is to make sustainability visible for the consumer. That is why it is even more important to know what a certificate stands for. Therefore, in this article we start with the EMAS regulation.
EMAS is a certification of the European Union. Companies from EU Member States have the opportunity to integrate an environmental management system into their company and voluntarily undergo an environmental audit in order to be identified as sustainable.
Those certificates help the consumer to make easier and better buying decisions and to know which company has a certain level of operational environmental protection.
EMAS: Eco-Management and Audit Scheme
EMAS is also comparable to an instrument that helps companies to improve their environmental performance step by step. This aims to create a continuously sustainable development in the economy.
In 1995, the European EMAS regulation came into force and was revised in 2009 so that in 2010 EMAS III (Regulation (EC) No. 1221/2009) was transposed.
More transparency for sustainable development in the economy and administration. Entrepreneurs should independently recognize the potential behind sustainable corporate governance and their own responsibility towards people and the environment.
Some say EMAS has become the standard for innovative and sustainable companies.
For whom was EMAS created?
The environmental management system is suitable for EU companies, regardless of size or industry, who want to anchor sustainable development in the company and contribute to a coexistence of ecology and economy.
In addition, for consumers who want to escape certification delusion and make informed purchasing decisions.
What are the components of EMAS?
In order to improve operational environmental performance, certain rules and regulations have been established that a potential EMAS company must comply with.
- A company carries out an environmental assessment (internally)
- create the environmental strategy and the environmental program
- anchor the environmental management system in the company
- make an environmental statement
- check of the own environmental management system and have the environmental statement validated by an external expert
An environmental statement includes the environmental policy and program, which identifies the individual impact of the operation and sets goals for operational environmental protection.
In a global comparison, EMAS should be considered one of the most demanding systems for sustainable corporate governance.
Why do we need certificates?
Businesses are created constructs of humanity. People lie and that’s the way it is done by some companies. However, the decision to delude consumers has a big impact on the planet. When companies lie and behave better than they really are, consumers are deceived and at some point lose their trust. Also to companies that really and seriously want to pursue their responsibility towards life on this earth.
In order to avoid companies pretending to be sustainable, there must be trustworthy testing centers to help consumers make their purchasing decisions. Only then can trust exist and cheaters are revealed.
In the past, it has been found that improving business organization, reducing environmental costs and emissions or energy-efficient systems can also benefit the company financially.
Many people are looking specifically for products that are compatible with their values. Companies have the opportunity to improve their image with a certification. This makes it even more important to establish trustworthy systems.
For EMAS participants, the certificate can not only help save costs. But also increased legal security and a lower liability risk can be achieved.
The value of a company, ie shareholder value, may initially decline when switching to a new system. Where a restructuring takes time and money. But in the long run, investing in sustainable systems can pay off, e.g. in photovoltaic systems.
The production costs can also increase. If parameters such as fair working conditions or the responsible use of resources are integrated into the production process, this can also cost more, while the individual gets more or what he or she is entitled to.
Any firm that embraces serious sustainability in the corporate philosophy can be hard to reconcile with short-term profits anyway. However, even at EMAS it has already come to abuse, when companies have been certified, while they are known as environmentally destructive companies.
Every human being has a certain responsibility towards the environment and its fellow humans as soon as we are born. That’s why companies have even more responsibility.
The criticism of exploitative corporations has been growing in recent years, which at the same time gave rise to a greater awareness of the relevance of sustainability.
Although the EMAS registration process is not perfect, it is relatively transparent and the environmental management system is being reviewed by outsiders.
In the future it will be important for us to criticize systems, but at the same time, think about how we can take a step in the right direction, as long as there is no better alternative. Real controls and holistic, ecological thinking should be self-evident. If we really want to change something and not just complain.