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EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) is a voluntary environmental management system for organisations that want to improve their environmental performance in a proactive and systematic way. The system has been developed by the European Union.


The three key concepts of EMAS are: performance, credibility and transparency.

  • Performance: the objective of EMAS is the continuous improvement of an organisation’s environmental performance.
  • Credibility: in order to obtain EMAS registration, independent environmental verifiers check the environmental management system by means of audits.
  • Transparency: companies make information about their environmental performance available publicly through EMAS.

EMAS is accessible to any organisation seeking to improve its environmental performance. All organisations from the public, economic and service sectors can participate.

To obtain EMAS registration, an organisation must take the following preparatory steps:

  1. Environmental review

    • The environmental review describes all environmental aspects of the organisation’s activities, products and services.
  2. Environmental programme and environmental objectives

    • The organisation prepares an environmental programme with specific environmental objectives.
    • The programme helps the organisation plan and implement recommendations for improvement and can be regarded as an internal environmental audit.
  3. Environmental management system
    • In order to achieve the set objectives and to continuously improve its environmental performance, the organisation sets up an environmental management system.
    • It is a description of how the organisation operates in terms of responsibilities, resources, procedures, training needs, measurement methods, communication systems, etc.
  4. Environmental statement
    • Every EMAS-registered organisation must have an environmental statement in which the organisation makes the following commitments:
      • the organisation shall comply at all times with all relevant environmental legislation
      • the organisation shall strive for continuous improvement of its environmental performance.
  5. Environmental audit
    • An environmental verifier must carry out an environmental audit of the environmental management system and the environmental statement.
    • The environmental verifier must be accredited in accordance with the EMAS Regulation in order to be allowed to carry out such audits.


Vinçotte nvJan Olieslagerslaan 35
1800 Vilvoorde
Bureau Veritas Certification Belgium nvMechelsesteenweg 128-136
2018 Antwerpen
CertiqualityVia Gaetano Giardino 4
20123 Milaan
AENORC/Génova 6
28004 Madrid


Once all the above steps have been completed, the organisation must submit an application for registration to the competent body. The competent body is the region where either the organisation or the headquarters are located. The Department of Environment and Spatial Development (Dutch: Departement Omgeving) of the Flemish administration is competent for the Flemish Region.

The application must be drawn up in Dutch and include the information/documents listed below.

  • The validated environmental statement that meets the requirements of Annex IV of the Regulation and clearly identifies and reports at least the most significant environmental impacts of each site subject to registration.
  • A declaration signed by the environmental verifier as referred to in Annex VII of the Regulation. The environmental verifier confirms in this declaration that the verification and validation were carried out in compliance with the Regulation.
  • A completed form containing at least the information set out in Annex VI to the Regulation.

The application must

You can find additional information on EMAS registration(opens in new window) on the website of the Department of Environment and Spatial Development.


  • The organisation does not have to pay any fees to the competent body for EMAS registration.
  • The environmental verifier will, however, charge costs for carrying out the environmental audit.