The UGA was established in December 1995 on the basis of the Environmental Audit Act to ensure the quality and transparency of eco-audits in Germany. The composition and tasks of the UGA are laid down in section 21 of the Environmental Audit Act, which regulates the implementation of corporate environmental management according to the European EMAS Regulation. The Board advises the BMU on the accreditation and supervision of environmental verifiers and is responsible for promoting EMAS in Germany. Guidelines on accreditation, verification and supervision and other decisions taken by the UGA can be accessed online. The UGA comprises all groups interested in eco-audits: industry, environmental verifiers, ministries for the environment and for economic affairs of the Federation and the Länder, trade unions and environmental associations. Its 25 members and 25 deputy members are appointed by the BMU upon proposals of the respective groups and organisations for a period of three years. The 6th appointment period began at the end of 2010.