EU Eco-management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS)

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This article starts with an introduction and the background of the Eco-management Scheme(EMAS). This tool can be used to manage the environmental impacts of a coastal stakeholder. Audits done with this tool result in a certain amount of aspects, concerning the environmental impact. These aspects can be translated into improvements to minimize the pollution to the coastal zone. At the end of this article this management tool is applied in a case study, and this results in several improvements for this marina.


Eco-management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS) is a management system that, if implemented accordingly, fulfills exactly the task of identifying and improving environmental impacts of coastal stakeholders on a continual basis. By making use of the Deming’s cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act), it enacts a dynamic “learning-by-doing” process to the complex problem that coastal systems provide. The continuous improvement circle is the core of the EMAS scheme, and is depicted below. The advantage of this approach is that there is no rigid, finite solution for the future provided, but instead management is constantly re-shaped to the accurateness of the problem (Zubaryeva, 2007[1]).


The EU Eco-management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS) was developed for companies and other organizations as a management tool for environmental performance. EMAS supports a structured evaluation and report of a company’s impact on the environment, as well as the development of improvement strategies on a continuous basis. EMAS is available since 1995, and was strengthened in 2001, upon the integration of the EN/ISO 14001standard as its binding Environmental Management System (EMS) ( EC; 2001[2]).The scheme is open to all economic sectors, including public and private services. Participation takes place on a voluntary basis, but an increasing number of enterprises are implementing EMAS in order to make use of its multiple benefits (Emillson and Hejm, 2002[3]). Particularly tourism service providers, as well as ports and marine protected areas, use the scheme to add credibility and confidence with public authorities, other businesses and customers. In addition to bettering the organizations image by signaling responsibility to the Community, implementation of EMAS results in financial benefits of the organization through better control of operations, and reactive management strategies (prevention). EMAS is in perfect alignment with the European Unions objective to promote “ a harmonious and balanced development of economic activities and sustainable growth respecting the environment.”


In order to become accredited for receiving an EMAS logo, companies and organizations have to comply with the following steps:

  • Environmental Review: all aspects of the organization’s environmental activities, products and services as well as existing environmental management strategies are considered for the review
  • Environmental Management System (EMS): existing EMS is reviewed and improved, or, if lacking, a Management System is established based on the results of the environmental review.
  • Environmental Audit: in this step compliance with relevant environmental regulatory requirements are checked. It is assessed wether the management system in place is in conformity with the organization’s policy and programme.
  • Environmental Statement: The statement on the environmental performance lays down the results achieved against environmental objectives, as well as future steps aiming at a continuous improvement of the organization’s environmental performance.

EMAS and Coastal Zones

Coastal zones are among the most complex social-ecological systems (SES), with humans constantly pressuring present resources, compromising many of the ecosystem services crucial to the well-being of coastal economies and people (MEA, 2005[4]). Supporting services like shore line stabilization, detoxification of polluted waters, as well as amenity services such as tourism and recreation are in conflict with ongoing industrial activities, fishing and logistics. Adaptive Management embodies methods that are useful to address the especially challenging conditions posed by the complexity of this dynamic system, by using a broader approach that includes the social context (Zubaryeva, 2007[1]). Among those, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is a strategy aiming at an integrated approach in planning and managing coastal systems. The ICZM concept stresses the participation of all coastal stakeholders, and the proper consideration of existing policies, sectors and individual interests. It is a management instrument that stimulates communication among governing authorities, while at the same time addressing all dimensions of sustainability: social/cultural, economic and environmental (UNESCO, 2006[5]).

The use of Environmental Management Systems for stakeholders of coastal zones can be understood as one effective method of integrative management. By taking a systematic approach to address potential conflicts that may arise from coastal activities of stakeholders, this tool makes their direct and indirect environmental impacts easier assessable. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for respective projects or activities (shipping, port development, etc.) help to quantify operations of stakeholders to ensure that they are functioning in an environmentally legitimate and sustainable way (Whitelaw,1997[6]).
Fig. 1: Diagram illustrating elements of EMAS scheme (source:

EMAS is a management system that, if implemented accordingly, fulfills exactly this task of identifying and improving environmental impacts of coastal stakeholders on a continual basis. By making use of the Deming’s cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act), it enacts a dynamic “learning-by-doing” process to the complex problem that coastal systems provide. The continuous improvement circle is the core of the EMAS scheme, and is depicted below. The advantage of this approach is that there is no rigid, finite solution for the future provided, but instead management is constantly re-shaped to the accurateness of the problem (Zubaryeva, 2007[1]).

Furthermore, EMAS requires the environmental policy of each participant to be published. This enhances transparency between stakeholders, organizations, customers and political bodies, encourages trust among them and stimulates co-operation, both essential to a successful coastal zone management. The following businesses and stakeholder interacting with coastal zones may apply EMAS:

  • Shipping and Port sector
  • Tourism and Recreation facilities
  • Aquaculture
  • Entrepreneurs with business near the coast
  • Landowners
  • Universities and research institutes
  • All users of coastal and upland resources

Case Study: EMAS application in Marinas

Recreational boating is a tourism activity that clearly contributes to various environmental pressures at the coastal zone. Not only land-based environmental impacts caused by marina related infrastructure can be observed, but also several external impacts: changes in oceanographic patterns by groynes, depletion of habitats by dredging and landfilling, contamination of water and sediments due to toxic substances from fuels and antifouling paints, and also changes in benthic communities (Daunvin et al., 2006[7]). Owners of marinas (private as well as governmental) may apply the EMAS scheme to their facilities, in order to identify the specific level of thread to the marine and coastal environment, and to use the result obtained for improving environmental performance.

EMAS application was proposed for a leisure marina, Tricase Marina, located in the eastern part of the Apuglian region, Lecce province of Southern Italy, by Zubaryeva (2007[1]). Goal of the study was to apply the first two steps of EMAS on this site: (1) to perform an initial environmental review, and (2) to develop an Environmental Management system, from which potential gaps for improvement on the environmental performance of the owners could be extracted. Results were obtained by performing interviews aiming at identifying activities in the marina, processes to estimate the management’s environmental awareness and perception, as well as potential challenges with regulators and environmental activists. For the environmental review landuse maps were evaluated and data on water quality obtained from ARPA Puglia. An evaluation matrix to identify the significance of environmental aspects after Envirowise (2000) was used.

The port area is divided among 3 management authorities (port authority, local administration, private entity), and the average number of incoming boats in the past year has been about 1365 boats per year (Zubaryeva, 2007[1]). In the past 10 years, this site has not experienced any significant changes (landuse or shore area). Some of the activities in the port area, as well as ship/port interface and maritime area included: administrative services, berth navigation, cleaning of the port, waste disposal and ship traffic, The questionnaires revealed that management authorities of Tricase marina perceived no level of impact of the ongoing activities on the environment, except for storage, loading, and unloading of oil products. The following environmental aspects were found to be significant upon evaluation with a matrix according to Envirowise (2000):

Table 1: Source: Zubaryeva, 2007[1]
Aspects Impact Indicator
Discharge to water Water pollution Inner port water quality, physical, chemical and biological indices
Waste management Waste production Urban and dangerous waste creation
Energy use Energy consumption Electricity comsumption per year
Terrestrial habitat disturbance Natural habitats, protected areas
Marine habitat disturbance Natural habitats, protected areas
Air pollution Emission of CO, Nox, SO Air quality (atm. contaminant emissions)

Managing authorities in Tricase marina may establish, in compliance with regulation n. 761/2001 an environmental management system, whose core should be the formulation of an environmental policy and end include an internal environmental audit. The six significant aspects identified during the initial review should be discussed and further evaluated in terms of possible improvements for the management. Zubaryeva (2007[1]) suggests the following improvements, respectively:

  • Discharge: minimize runoff water from cleaning of the port, continuous monitoring of seawater quality
  • Urban Waste: “ecological islands” with litterbins and garbage containers for dangerous waste should be installed, and waste separation among tourists should be promoted
  • Energy Use: negotiations with energy suppliers for energy purchase to ensure cost-savings, traditional light bulbs should be replaced with low-energy consumption fluorescent lights.
  • Air pollution: Tricase marine should be included in the monitoring scheme by moving laboratories for emission measurements. More efficient engines should be promoted among marine clients, and green plants ought to be introduced in the port area.

In conclusion, it was shown that the implementation of EMAS assists in achieving various goals that marina management authorities can benefit from (Zubaryeva 2007[1]). It identifies key stakeholders and puts them into hierarchical order. By encouraging the setting of concrete strategies and assisting in the development of a sense of a corporate identity, EMAS helps to maintain the initial commitment of governing bodies. Furthermore, through the process of implementation, scattered data and information is compiled and compressed, allowing to identify critical points in environmental and financial marina management, as well as improving the information flow among participating stakeholders (Zubaryeva, 2007[1]).

See also

Internal Links

External Links


  1. 1,0 1,1 1,2 1,3 1,4 1,5 1,6 1,7 1,8 Zubaryeva, Alyona. 2007. Environmental Analysis According to EMAS. Master Thesis CAU-Kiel, 2007.
  2. EC, 2001. EMAS regulation. EC regulation no. 761/2001.
  3. Emillson S., and Hejm O. 2002. Implementation of standardised environmental management system in Swedisch local authorities: reasons, expectations and some outcomes. Environmental Science and Policy. 5. 443 – 448.
  4. Millenium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystem and Human well-being: Opportunities and challenges to businesses and industry. World Resources Institute. Washington DC. (USA).
  5. UNESCO (2006): A Handbook for Measuring the Progress and Outcomes of Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management
  6. Whitelaw K. 1997. ISO 14001 Environmental Systems Handbook. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.
  7. Dauvin J., Dickinson S. Principles for sustainable governance of the coastal zone: in the context of coastal disasters. 2007. Ecological Economics. 63. 319 – 330

The main author of this article is Lindner, Soeren
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Lindner, Soeren (2008): EU Eco-management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS). Available from [accessed on 21-07-2018]