ISO14001 certification tops 700 as EMAS trails behind

The number of UK companies achieving certification to the international environmental management standard ISO14001 continues to grow at a healthy rate, with 121 certificates issued since July. But only four new registrations under the EC eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) were recorded in the same period. Electrical companies continue to dominate ISO14001 certifications, while the chemical industry is the leader under EMAS.

A total of 722 ISO14001 certificates have now been issued in the UK, according to figures compiled by environmental consultancy EAG Environ. This is an increase of 121, or 20%, since ENDS' last update in July (ENDS Report 282, p 8 ).

EMAS registrations trail far behind, with 62 sites - just four more than in July - recorded on the register maintained by the Institute of Environmental Assessment, the UK competent body (see box ). The EMAS list includes six new registrations, but two companies have been removed pending re-registration.

An analysis of the uptake of each scheme reveals that certain sectors prefer one over the other (see table ). The electrical sector dominates ISO14001, holding 35% of the certificates issued, but accounts for only 5% of EMAS registrations.

The high uptake of ISO14001 in this sector may be due to the enthusiasm for the scheme in the Far East, notably Japan (ENDS Report 273, p 3 ). Many UK-based electrical companies have been certified as a result of decisions by their Asian parent companies, and other firms in the sector which are not foreign-owned are experiencing supply chain pressure.

Meanwhile, the chemical industry leads EMAS, with 28% of registrations. Many chemical companies are also opting for ISO14001, and now account for 12% of certifications.

The tendency for companies to get certified under both schemes is not restricted to the chemical industry. As many as two-thirds of the sites registered under EMAS are also certified to ISO14001, and the trend may increase when the EMAS Regulation is amended to make it more compatible with ISO14001 (see p 42 )

The oil industry also makes a strong showing in EMAS, mainly as a result of Shell and BP's preference for the scheme. Earlier this year, BP announced plans to register all of its European plants under the scheme (ENDS Report 278, p 5 ). Shortly afterwards, Shell Expro made a commitment to get all of its land-based operations certified to either ISO14001 or EMAS by 2000, leaving it to each operating company to decide which scheme to go for (ENDS Report 279, pp 25-26 ). To date, EMAS has proved the more popular.

Another difference between the two schemes is the position of the machinery manufacturing industry, which comes third in the ISO14001 rankings but features less prominently in EMAS.

Moving down the league table, there seems to be greater similarity in uptake of the two schemes. The next strongest sectors in EMAS are paper and metals, each accounting for 10% of registrations. They also occupy joint fifth position in the ISO14001 ranking.

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