Catalonia EMAS Competent Body: Adopted initiatives to facilitate EMAS registration during COVID-19
About this good practice
Catalonia EMAS CB has carried out actions in line with:
- Assistance and support to EMAS organizations in the electronic processing of the EMAS registration
- Support actions to EMAS organizations on the measures given by the Commission regarding the verification and validation of EMAS Registration and ENAC's (Spain National Accreditation Body) position on remote audits
Experience has enabled the EMAS Catalan CB to identify how to respond to exceptional situations that may affect the EMAS registration/renewal and maintenance procedure. Moreover, the scheme itself has demonstrated the ability of EMAS organisations to cope with and respond to the crisis.
Main beneficiaries of this practice are EMAS organisations that have been able to continue with the EMAS implementation and registration process started before the crisis despite its strong impact.Response of organisations to the situation demonstrates the interest in maintaining the EMAS given the added value it brings to the organisation from many points of view, both at process level and from a strategic point of view in the definition of objectives to improve their environmental performance.
The CB itself also benefits from the implementation of the practice, as it facilitates the maintenance of the EMAS register and new registrations in exceptional situations. The CB itself has acquired skills to address situations that may potentially deviate from the established procedure and to respond favourably to these situations.
It is a good practice that does not require an additional budget to carry it out, since it refers to the adaptation of the usual work procedures for the registration/renewal or maintenance of EMAS, to an exceptional crisis situation. An increase in CB staff and financial resources is not required.
Evidence of success
In June 2022, 234 EMAS organizations with 628 sites are accounted for in Catalonia. EMAS registrations has remained stable since the start of Covid-19 (2020) but there has been an increase of 35% in the sites number. Thus, actors involved in EMAS register have been able to cope with the radical changes caused by crisis. Environmental statement has been validated and include references to crisis, e.g. how period of confinement was addressed or how the EMAS scheme has adapted to teleworking tools.
Potential for learning or transfer
This good practice has been presented at the interregional meeting of ENHANCE project in which other EMAS CB have participated to share and exchange experiences.
The fact that organizations have been able to carry out remote audits, extensions of deadlines and that registration/renewal or maintenance of EMAS register could be done entirely electronically from home, has meant that EMAS registration was not stopped during times of lockdown. The action that has generated the most debate and interest has been the execution of remote audits to verify the conformity of the EMAS scheme implemented.
This good practice can be transferred to other EMAS CB, to consider in their working procedures the response to exceptional situations and to complement the actions that have been identified to deal with the crisis.
Collaboration between the agents involved in EMAS scheme favours its positioning to be considered in the regional instruments focused on improving efficiency in the use of resources.