20th anniversary of EMAS - 200 professionals gather in Frankfurt for high level conference
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), the EU's environmental management instrument, an international conference was held at the new European Central Bank (ECB) premises in Frankfurt (Main) on 13th November 2015. EMAS is a voluntary environmental management tool that organisations use to increase resource efficiency and savings, reduce environmental impacts, ensure legal compliance and report to stakeholders in a transparent manner. More than 200 EMAS users and experts gathered in the new, sustainable ECB building to celebrate 20 years of premium environmental management with EMAS. While most of the participants originated from Member States of the European Union, some guests came from as far away as China. With the Commission is currently finalising a new Action Plan to help Europe develop a more circular economy that can drive the EU towards a more competitive, low carbon and resource-efficient economy, EMAS has the potential to be a springboard towards additional circular economy initiatives. Speakers addressed the different benefits gained that EMAS has created and looked at EMAS's role in the years to come. Three panel sessions considered environmental management in a circular economy, benefits and challenges to the private sector, EMAS as an instrument for making cities, municipalities and offices “greener” and “smarter” and the crucial role of public bodies in promoting advanced environmental management. The discussions reaffirmed EMAS's ability to make a meaningful contribution to a circular economy and to support cities' and municipalities' important roles as examples of environmental protection and innovation. They also demonstrated the key role of policy support in helping EMAS to promote sustainability among both private and public organisations.