The European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for organisations aiming to improve their environmental and financial performance and communicate their environmental achievements. EMAS leads to enhanced performance, credibility and transparency of registered organisations. Since 1995 more than 4,400 organisations across Europe have registered with EMAS.
In 2005 the European Commission decided to reward the excellent work of EMAS registered organisations by introducing the EMAS Awards. The EMAS Awards recognise outstanding achievements in one particular environmental management aspect each year.
The theme of the 2011 EMAS Awards was “Stakeholder involvement, including employee involvement, leading to continuous improvement”. This year, 36 bodies from 15 European countries were nominated. Six winners were selected by a jury of stakeholders and environment experts. Award winners were announced at a ceremony that took place in the Wieliczka Salt Mine - Krakow, Poland.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "The environmental challenges we face today concern all of us and require joint action. I congratulate the winners – and all the nominees – on their commitment to improving the environment. I hope that their innovative solutions and successful involvement of different actors will inspire others to follow suit."
The 2011 winners and their achievements:
Organisations from the private sector
Micro-organisations: Belvas Organic Chocolate (Belgium)
The Belvas waste management process incorporates separation of organic waste and its use in biomethanisation plants. Belvas organises site visits to showcase practical examples of environmental protection in an “ecological factory”.
Small organisations: Kneissler Brüniertechnik (Germany)
This family business involves employees in environmental management and rewards useful suggestions, such as the adoption of new waste management activities, leading to reductions of up to 90% in one production process.
Medium-sized organisations: Ebswien hauptkläranlage (Austria)
This Viennese wastewater treatment plant works with internal and external stakeholders. Employee ambassadors inform the public during plant tours and open days, emphasising water and waste education for children.
Large-organisations: Eurobank EFG Bank (Greece)
This financial institution contributes to the integration of sustainable principles in banking practices through its membership of the Global Steering Committee, and as Chair of the European Task Force of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.
Organisations from the public sector
Small organisations: Fritz-Erler-Schule Pforzheim (Germany)
This school integrates environmental management into its core teaching activities . Teachers, students and suppliers, including the school’s bakery and facility management work together to improve the school’s environmental performance.
Large organisations: Municipality of Ravenna (Italy)
The Municipality of Ravenna established participatory structures to involve employees and external stakeholders. 100 EMAS "champions" in the Ravenna Municipality buildings use real-time information sharing to improve environmental performance. Green procurement, focusing on the purchase of recycled paper, school furniture made of certified materials and other items, is key. The municipality also carried out waste collection projects involving around 13,000 students and families, doubling the previous level of participation.
EMAS Awards website