This article gives a thorough review of the EU eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS), particularly the role that environmental management systems play in the scheme. The links between EMAS and the British Standard BS7750 are explored as are the differences and similarities between the two schemes. It is argued that the implementation of BS7750 provides a stepping stone towards full participation in the EMAS scheme. Hence the two schemes are complementary. Copyright © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.