The separate case relates to environmental performance indicators. According to the Annex IV the indicators published in the environmental statement of the entity registered with EMAS shall:
(a) give an accurate appraisal of the organisation’s environmental performance;
(b) be understandable and unambiguous;
(c) allow for a year on year comparison to assess the development of the environmental performance of the organisation;
(d) allow for comparison with sector, national or regional benchmarks as appropriate;
(e) allow for comparison with regulatory requirements as appropriate.
The scope for environmental reporting under EMAS also mentions core indicators which apply to all types of organisations. They focus on performance in the following key environmental areas:
(i) energy efficiency;
(ii) material efficiency;
(v) biodiversity; and
After careful consideration of content of the Annex IV to the regulation It seems, however, that there can’t be excluded that certain information on the list above may in certain enterprises be considered commercially sensitive and sometimes fall under the scope of legitimately protected know-how of the entity. Even the general strategy of the enterprise to adapt to the more and more stringent environmental policies of the EU may sometimes contain analysis regarding some of the abovementioned parameters and be strictly confidential.
Indexing – worthwhile method for EMAS disclosure without losing commercial and industrial secrets
The regulation requires that the reporting provide data on actual input/impact of the entity with regard to the environment. The Annex IV to the Regulation contains however explicit provision that, ‘If disclosure would adversely affect the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information of the organisation where such confidentiality is provided for by national or Community law to protect a legitimate economic interest, the organisation may be permitted to index this information in its reporting, e.g. by establishing a base line year (with the index number 100) from which the development of the actual input/impact would appear.’
This clause is worth to be noticed because it may be exploited as a useful instrument to achieve reputation and regulatory gains under EMAS without loosing trade and industrial secrets.