The Environmental Statement
EMAS is open to any organization that intends to improve its global environmental efficiency.
These guidelines are intended to help organizations identify problems to consider when drawing up the environmental statement.
In preparing this document, the information needs of the interested parties and the ways in which organizations can meet these needs have been taken into account.
Openness, transparency and the periodic transmission of environmental information are key elements that differentiate EMAS from other systems. These factors are also important to enable the organization to gain the trust of the interested parties.
A careful preparation of the environmental declaration will increase its usefulness and ability to communicate the results and the constant improvements of the environmental performances achieved by the organization.
In particular, the environmental statement is an opportunity to convey a positive image of the organization to customers, suppliers, local communities, contractors and employees.
Interested parties need different types of information. Taking into account their different needs from the outset is important for deciding on the content, form and method of dissemination of the declaration.
The EMAS system is flexible enough to allow organizations to allocate relevant information to specific audiences, while ensuring that all information is available to those who request it. We must analyze how information can better achieve its objective: whether through a single report or through extracts from a body of validated information.
The information to be used in the environmental statement should be readily available from the environmental management system and, as such, should not be difficult to find.
Although the EMAS Regulation requires that environmental information be made available to the press for those who cannot access it otherwise, organizations are encouraged to use all available methods to make the environmental statement public.
Documents in electronic format, ie web pages, are an effective tool from an economic point of view to make information available to a wide public and can be easily printed to make it available to those who do not have access to consultation by electronic means .
In this way, the organization can avoid the burden of producing large quantities of glossy and expensive publications. The EMAS Regulation states that, in order to give an overall picture of the organization's environmental performance, the information must be available in a consolidated printed version at the time of the organization's first registration in the EMAS system, and thereafter every three years .
Furthermore, the organization must update on an annual basis any changes made to this information [except in circumstances defined in the guidelines for verification,
validation and frequency of the audit referred to in Annex II of Commission Decision 2001/681 / EC].
Structure and content
As a public document, the environmental statement must be drafted clearly and concisely. EMAS declarations do not necessarily have to be long and elaborate documents.
A short and well-presented statement is able to convey all relevant information to the reader. This is especially true for small businesses.
The EMAS Regulation does not provide a specific structure for the environmental declaration, nor the order of presentation of the various themes: it is up to the organization to determine them, provided they meet the requirements of the annex.
If the organization draws up an environmental statement for the entire company including different geographical locations, it is required to structure its declaration in such a way as to guarantee the exact identification and description of the significant environmental impacts of each site.
Those who read the environmental declaration may wish to compare the environmental performance of a company over time, in order to identify the main trends.
It is therefore important to include the same type of information in statements as in previous years, and to return the statements made to improve comparability and make information understandable.
Once the drafting is completed, it will be advisable to assign an external person to review and comment on the document.