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The European Union's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS): Still a Viable Entity or a Concept Spiraling Towards Obscurity?

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image of Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

The European Union's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) was envisioned as a panacea for the perceived ills facing the European Union (EU) at the time of its inception. Its manifest purpose was to more comprehensively administer environmental management and compliance, to help ensure a uniform set of environmental performance across the entire EU. The scheme, together with the Eco-Label, the other EU voluntary tool, was developed as a complement to traditional 'command-and-control' legislation. While noble and ambitious in its design, EMAS has failed to become the shining light of environmental management which it was designed to be, and instead has devolved into a second class citizen. While the ongoing revision, EMAS III, offers some hope for the future, the program as a whole remains burdened by inefficiency and impracticality. The Scheme must expand in scope, and include motivations and rewards for incorporating such pressing ideas as CSR, or it will be doomed to the ash heap of history.


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