Best Environmental Management Practice

Many organisations and companies have a large scope for improving their environmental performance. With motivations ranging from eco-efficiency to reputation and concerns about the sustainability of their business, many of them intend to reduce their impact on the environment.

To help organisations to reach such objective, the JRC identifies, evaluates and documents best environmental management practices (BEMPs) for different sectors in close co-operation with the stakeholders concerned. To do so, the JRC follows the so-called frontrunner approach, i.e. it studies those techniques, measures or actions that are implemented by the organisations within the sector that are most advanced in terms of environmental performance in each of many areas, such as energy efficiency, resource efficiency, emissions, but also supply chain management. The results of this work are Sectoral Reference Documents (SRDs) on best environmental management practice.

This activity is part of the European Commission's work to implement the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), a voluntary framework for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. Within this framework, the EU decided in 2009 to promote best environmental management practice, by developing Sectoral Reference Documents.

EMAS and the promotion of best environmental management practice

The EMAS scheme has evolved through time. In its latest revision, it promotes best environmental management practice, thanks to the development of Sectoral Reference Documents which EMAS registered organisations must take into account when assessing their environmental performance.

Priority sectors

Sectoral Reference Documents on best environmental management practice are elaborated for a list of eleven priority sectors. The first sectors are: Retail trade, Tourism, Construction, Public Administration, Agriculture and Food and Drink Manufacturing.

Supporting all actors within the sectors

The documents on best environmental management practice are aimed at supporting environmental improvement efforts of all actors within the sector they address. They are not only for EMAS registered organisations, but for all those who intend to improve their environmental performance, with or without an environmental management system.

Stakeholders involvement

Sectoral Reference Documents are developed involving relevant stakeholders.

Sectoral Reference Documents and JRC Reports

BEMPs for each sector are collected in a Sectoral Reference Document and described in detail in a "best practice" report; both are publicly available.


For any question or potential contribution, feel free to contact the JRC EMAS SRD team.

Find out more...

This work is carried out by the Circular Economy and Industrial Leadership Unit of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission in-house science and knowledge service. The Circular Economy and Industrial Leadership unit is based in Seville, Spain.

Related content

To find out more about the work carried out for specific sectors, visit the relevant pages:

Relevant EU policy

- Sustainable Consumption and Production policies:

- The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS):

- The EMAS regulations:

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