What would motivate businesses to adopt EMAS? 

A successful stakeholder meeting in Tallinn was the focal point for gathering good practices that could support to promote the adoption of EMAS, the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, in Estonia.

SEI Tallinn organized the third stakeholder meeting in the framework of the project ENHANCE that aims to drive circular economy and boost the competitiveness of European businesses through organisations adhering to EMAS.

The meeting included presentations of good practices that could promote the implementation of EMAS in Estonia. Seven good practices were selected from other project partner countries (Austria, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic) where these incentives have worked well. Experts from Estonian companies, consultants, and officials from the Estonian Ministry of the Environment discussed the pros and cons and the feasibility of each good practice. Companies shared a valuable feedback on possible barriers and highlighted the situation from their point of view.

Tõnis Meriste, representative of the Estonian electricity producer Eesti Energia highlighted that the first and foremost motivation for an organisation to adopt EMAS is the environmental aspect. By adhering to EMAS, a company will need to keep an eye on its environmental performance and improve it whenever possible.

In addition, there is the aspect of financial relief. “It would be a big motivation for companies to adopt EMAS if EMAS-registered organisations had financial relief in paying the finance guarantees established by environmental legal acts,” Meriste said.

Also, less bureaucracy could be a key factor. “EMAS companies prepare in-depth reports which are verified by third parties and which are public. If these could be used as the official environmental report of the company as well as the input information for the controlling agencies, this could be a real motivating factor for many organisations to adopt EMAS,” Meriste went on to add.

Meriste also commented that he is glad to say the ENHANCE project is working on these measures to be applicable in Estonia.

The third stakeholder meeting gave valuable information to further develop the policy instruments and incentives that would motivate organisations to adopt EMAS and continue with the action plan which supports resource efficiency through the EMAS scheme registrations in Estonia.

Watch the video by Tõnis Meriste, Environmental Development Manager at Eesti Energia about what would motivate organisations to adopt EMAS.