Germany and China seek to strengthen EMAS together

At the fifth round of talks as part of the German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations in Berlin on 9 July 2018, Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang discuss economic cooperation in the context of global free trade.


The German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations serve to deepen cooperation and economic exchange between the two countries. On 9 July 2018, Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang mainly discussed global free trade and a mutual market opening for finance and new investment opportunities for German companies in China.

The resulting German-Chinese Declaration titled “Responsible Partners for a Better World” deepened the results of the discussion in 71 points on international governance, trade and markets, research and innovation, sustainable future, security, and socio-cultural and educational cooperation. Increasing the participation of companies in environmental management systems should contribute to a sustainable future. To this end, both countries specifically want to discuss and work together on EMAS and promote the joint recognition of eco-labels on a broader scale.

EMAS is global

The German EMAS Advisory Board (UGA) welcomes the high-level dialogue between Germany and China and the agreement on EMAS. EMAS is a system of EU law that is applicable worldwide. Companies in one EU Member State can include their sites in third countries in their EMAS registration, or companies in third countries can themselves introduce EMAS and apply for inclusion in the EMAS registry.

However, the global participation of companies in EMAS is still very low. Of the more than 3,800 companies and organisations included in the European EMAS register with more than 9,000 locations, only five are located outside the European Union. These companies are based in Belarus and South Korea. For companies based in a Member State that include their locations in third countries in their registration, it is slightly more. Here, Germany is a pioneer with almost 30 locations in seven third-party countries, six of them in the People’s Republic of China.

The UGA sees in the global application of EMAS the potential to further advance environmental protection for a sustainable future and is pleased to support the Federal Government and the People’s Republic of China in their plans. The UGA is committed to promoting and disseminating EMAS. For Germany, there is already a target set by the German Sustainability Strategy to reach 5,000 EMAS locations by 2030. The UGA is actively involved in achieving this goal and is also prepared to expand this engagement worldwide.

Further information

§ Federal Government press release 09.07.2018: Joint declaration on the occassion of the 5th German-Chinese Intergovernmental Consultation

§ Statistics and graphics on EMAS participation: Numbers from the European EMAS registry

EMAS stands for Eco-Management and Audit Scheme and is the world's most ambitious system for environmental management and environmental auditing. The German EMAS Advisory Board (UGA) is an independent advisory body of the Federal Environment Ministry. As a multi-stakeholder forum, the UGA brings together various stakeholders in the field of environmental management and is actively involved in implementing and disseminating the European environmental management system EMAS.