One of the tools set by the European Community (EC) to reduce the environmental impact of firms is EMAS Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009), setting up an Environmental Management System (EMS), which aims for a continuous improvement of environmental performances. Italy has the highest number of certified organization among all European Member States, accounting for over one thousand registrations. The paper presents the result of a survey conducted through a questionnaire about EMAS implementation and targeted to all Italian registered organizations. Of nearly 1000 organizations, over 500 answers were collected. The main goal is to understand how organizations experience the scheme, focusing on main drivers for its adoption, main difficulties encountered, and perceived benefits. In particular, survey results contribute to define a reflection on the difficulties regarding EMAS diffusion among European companies. Aspects identified as critical can lead to a contraction of registration requests, especially those formulated by SMEs, which constitute the majority of Italian companies. Moreover, perceived difficulties might affect the firms’ willingness to renew EMAS registration. Data provided by the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) recently highlighted the increasing rate of firms who decide to withdraw from registration. This study offers interesting inputs related to main critical issues in EMAS implementation, which can be the baseline for future research on companies that abandon the certification scheme, in order to provide suggestions for the improvement of its effectiveness both for national and communitarian institutions.
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