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Doing business in Austria: Sustainability

29 March 2012
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 30 March 2012

This guide outlines the main legislation in Austria which encourages businesses to adhere to sustainability standards.


Legal requirements


Environmental management standards

The EMAS ('Eco Management Audit Scheme') environmental management system was created to promote adherence to voluntary standards for improving sustainability in business. The Austrian Environmental Management Act provides the legal foundation for the implementation of EMAS.

Environmental Management Act

Environmental management system (EMAS)

Companies which have achieved certain environmental objectives can apply for ISO 14001 environmental certification.

ISO 14.001

The City of Vienna offers an 'Environmental Service Package' to help businesses become more efficient and economical.

EcoBusinessPlan Vienna

The Austrian eco-label encourages people to become more environmentally-friendly. It is awarded to environmentally-friendly products, tourist businesses and education institutions.

Overview of the eco-label guidelines portal for Austrian eco-label

The Austrian eco-label

The law requires businesses to comply with minimum social and environmental rules.

Administrative procedures

Certification of standards

Environmental management standards

The introduction of environmental management systems on a voluntary basis helps to continually improve the environmental performance of organisations and companies. The following tools are available for this purpose:

Eco Management Audit Scheme (EMAS)

ISO 14.001

EcoBusinessPlan Vienna

Voluntary environmental management systems

Applications for the award of the Austrian eco-label must be submitted to the Consumers' Association of Austria (VKI). Applicants may include any individual persons or corporate bodies residing in Austria or providing a service in Austria. Products must fulfil a number of environmental criteria and pass a compliance inspection in order to be awarded the eco-label.

Award of the Austrian eco-label

Other authorisations and procedures

Applications for environmental impact assessments must be submitted to the relevant authority. This must include the documents specified in the administrative regulations (e.g. layout plan, approval of land owner). The Environmental Impact Declaration must be attached to the application.

Environmental Impact Declaration

During the course of the Environmental Impact Assessment (UIA) it is possible for the authority to adjourn the process in order to start mediation proceedings should this be requested by the solicitor of the project. The results of the mediation procedure can be submitted to the authority and taken into consideration (within the bounds of legislation) when the environmental compatibility procedure is resumed and a decision is made.

Environmental mediation


The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) publishes studies and reports and provides an online database covering various topics (e.g. air, water, contaminated sites).

Federal Environmental Agency

ARGE Network Nature Conservation provides information about the scope and implementation of nature conservation measures in rural development. This promotes uniform interpretation and smooth execution of the measures, as well as the exchange of experience between countries and provinces.

ARGE Network Nature Conservation & Rural Development in Austria

Useful information for people living and working in Austria is available from HELP, the Austrian government help service,or the Business Service Portal USP.



The Environmental Service distributes information about current environmental initiatives and projects.

Environmental Service


The Austrian Programme for Rural Development 2007-2013 was adopted and approved by the Rural Development Committee.

Austrian Programme for Rural Development 2007-2013

Doing business in Austria: Environmental rules

Doing business in Austria: Staff welfare

Source: European Commission