With this report we present the findings of an extensive survey among German organisations concerning their usage of the European environmental management system, EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme). The survey was commissioned by the German Federal Environment Ministry and the German Environment Agency. The experiences of EMAS users detailed here are important for recognising possible areas for optimisation, and for forming suggestions of improvements to be considered in negotiations for the next amendment of the EMAS Regulation. This report summarises the results of the survey, and gives an overview of problems encountered in using EMAS in day-to-day operations. Even though a need for improvement is seen by the EMAS users, for example by raising public awareness of EMAS, the overall findings show that EMAS is now an established instrument for voluntary environmental protection – and one that is highly regarded. The vast majority of respondents consider EMAS to be an excellent or good system. The distinctive key elements emphasised by the European Commission of transparency, credibility and environmental performance were confirmed by the EMAS participants. Once again it has been shown that EMAS organisations are motivated to achieve the high level environmental protection required by EMAS by their own convictions and high standards.
Many participants in the survey have submitted further extensive comments, such as on the issue of biodiversity, on using EMAS as an instrument for resource management, or on key figures. These comments provide helpful suggestions for our further considerations.
An extensive overview of the EMAS system is available on the website of the German EMAS Advisory Board www.emas.de.