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Revised Eco-Management and Audit Scheme lacks teeth


03 Apr 2009


EU Priorities 2020
Health & Consumers

The result of today’s vote in the European Parliament on the Community Eco- Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)1 does little to improve the ambition of the scheme. ANEC and ECOS regret that the opportunity to transform the
European scheme into a true system of excellence has again been missed by the European institutions. The sole improvement to the scheme is the introduction of sectoral reference documents, which are to be taken into account
by EMAS registered organisations when reporting on their environmental performance.

Considering the consensus supporting the tackling of climate change as one of the main priorities for the European Union today, ANEC and ECOS regret that substantive performance requirements have not been introduced in the scheme, but that emphasis has been put instead on making the scheme more attractive for organisations by reducing administrative burdens and through extending the scheme to organisations outside Europe.

The organisations question the usefulness of the generic core performance indicators, introduced in the new regulation as a basis for organisations’ environmental reporting. However, we very much welcome the envisaged
development of sectoral reference documents, including sector-specific performance indicators and benchmarks, which will allow for more meaningful comparisons between organisations’ environmental impacts. The new regulation
requires the Commission to establish a working plan, setting out an indicative list of these sectors, by the end of 2010. Unfortunately the use of these documents
has not been made mandatory in the new regulation.

ANEC and ECOS also welcome the decision to maintain the prohibition on the use of the EMAS logo on products and their packaging. This restriction will help avoid confusion with eco-labels for products.

“We are disappointed by the lack of ambition shown by the institutions in revising this regulation”, commented Stephen Russell, ANEC Secretary-General. “Much of the scheme’s future success now rests on the development of sectoral reference documents and in this we urge the Commission to develop an ambitious working plan with the stakeholders as soon as possible. We regret that
these reference documents are not mandatory as their use would have allowed genuine transparency in the commitment of organisations to reduce their environmental impacts”.

ANEC in brief
ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation, representing and defending consumer interests in standardisation and conformity assessment and in development and revision of legislation related to standards and their use.

ANEC was set up in 1995 as an international non-profit association under Belgian law and represents consumer organisations from the 27 EU Member States and 3 EFTA countries. ANEC is funded by the European Commission and
the EFTA Secretariat, while national consumer organisations contribute in kind.

Its Secretariat is based in Brussels. More information:
Contact person at ANEC: Nina Klemola
Tel: +32(0)2 743 24 70