Sustainable Consumption Pledge and the role of EMAS

July 4, 2022  

By EU EMAS Helpdesk of the European Commission

IMAGE: Unsplash

To steer more voluntary corporate actions, the Commission plans to work with companies to encourage them to voluntarily commit to disclosing the company's environmental footprint to consumers, improving their sustainability and reducing their impact on the environment. The Commission places EMAS at the heart of the Sustainable Consumption Pledge.


The Sustainable Consumption Pledge was launched in February 2022 as the first initiative under the New Consumer Agenda, which aims to better inform consumers about sustainability of products and services. The New Consumer Agenda recognizes that the uptake of sustainable products in the European market also requires action by businesses. As such, the Sustainable Consumption Pledge is a tool to commit companies to the green transition, as one of the strategic pillars of climate action.


The Sustainable Consumption Pledge has evolved from the concept of the Green Consumption Pledge, launched in January 2021, which focuses solely on carbon emissions identification and reduction. The Sustainable Consumption Pledge advances the requirements for companies to include other aspects of sustainability, notably social sustainability, circularity and environmental footprint calculation. In addition to identifying their carbon footprint and reducing it by setting targets that can be measured and checked, the Sustainable Consumption Pledge commits companies to either calculate and improve their overall environmental performance or to increase circularity in their activities or to respect social sustainability across their supply chain.


Until February 2024, companies may choose to apply under the Sustainable Consumption Pledge or the Green Consumption Pledge. Companies that have already taken the pledge in 2021 include H&M Group, Philips, L’Oréal and LEGO.




IMAGE: Unsplash

The role of EMAS


EMAS is strategically placed in the initiative. There are two explicit references to EMAS. Firstly, the initiative stipulates that companies calculate their carbon footprint using either EMAS or the Organisation Environmental Footprint or Product Environmental Footprint methods. Secondly, EMAS is also cited as a tool for calculating and improving a company’s environmental performance, as one of the extended requirements. It can be inferred that EMAS is recognized by the initiative as a great impact measurement and verification tool.





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