Program Areas
Quick Reference
Environmental Management Systems (EMS)


The EMS Program Area includes the latest guidance, examples, and resources for the development and implementation of processes and practices that enable an organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency.

Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, encourages the continued implementation of formal Environmental Management Systems (EMS) where those systems have proven effective and deployment of new EMSs where appropriate (Section 7, para (i)).

The following definitions from the EO are applicable to this Program Area:

  • Agency - an executive agency as defined in section 105 of title 5, United States Code, excluding the Government Accountability Office (EO 13693, Section 19, para b).
  • Federal Facility - any building or collection of buildings, grounds, or structures, as well as any fixture or part thereof, which is owned by the United States or any Federal agency or that is held by the United States or any Federal agency under a lease-acquisition agreement under which the United States or a Federal agency will receive fee simple title under the terms of such agreement without further negotiation (EO 13693, Section 19, para l).

Please use the links above to quickly jump to the information area needed or scroll down to view all items.

EMS archive documents can be found here.

Regulations, Guidance, and Policy


Executive Orders
Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade
19 March 2015
The goal of EO 13693 is to maintain Federal leadership in sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Signed by President Obama on 19 March 2015. Section 16 of this EO revokes the following:
  • Executive Order 13423 of January 24, 2007;
  • Executive Order 13514 of October 5, 2009;
  • Presidential Memorandum of December 2, 2011 (Implementation of Energy Savings Projects and Performance-Based Contracting for Energy Savings);
  • Section 1 of Presidential Memorandum of February 21, 2012 (Driving Innovation and Creating Jobs in Rural America through Biobased and Sustainable Product Procurement); and
  • Presidential Memorandum of December 5, 2013 (Federal Leadership on Energy Management); and
  • Presidential Memorandum of May 24, 2011 (Federal Fleet Performance).
Need help understanding Executive Order (EO) 13693? Want to know more about how to take action and turn your building into a high-performance building? The Sustainable Facilities Tool can walk you through EO 13693. Click through the annotated text for definitions, strategies, and links.
This GSA-developed chart summarizes the major provisions of Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability for the Next Decade, and how they differ from prior authorities.
Federal Agency Guidance and Policies
This memorandum, dated 24 October 2016, outlines the DOE plans for the continued implementation of EMS.
EPA memo by EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, May 17, 2002.
EPA Guidance
EPA's website on EMS includes information and resources related to EMS for small businesses and private industry, as well as local, state and federal agencies.
International Standards Organization (ISO)
Developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the 14000 series is primarily concerned with environmental management. The ISO standards must be purchased and so are not replicated here. The family of ISO 14000 standards includes:
  • ISO 14001, Environmental management systems -- Requirements with guidance for use, 2004
  • ISO 14004, Environmental management systems -- General guidelines on principles, systems and support techniques, 2004
  • ISO 14015, Environmental management -- Environmental assessment of sites and organizations (EASO), 2001
  • ISO 14031, Environmental management -- Environmental performance evaluation – Guidelines, 1999
  • ISO 14032, Environmental management -- Examples of environmental performance evaluation (EPE), 1999
ISO/IEC 17021:2006 has been issued and it contains principles and requirements for the competence, consistency and impartiality of the audit and certification of management systems of all types (e.g. quality management systems or environmental management systems) and for bodies providing these activities. Certification bodies operating to this International Standard need not offer all types of management system certification.
Developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), this document is primarily concerned with the management of audit programs. The ISO standards must be purchased and so are not replicated here.
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Supporting Information and Tools
Templates and Tools
Contains proposed language for inclusion in Statements of Work for new on-site contracts.
Contains proposed language for inclusion in Statements of Work for current/existing on-site contracts.
Example position description for senior environmental protection specialist/analyst in the area of environmental management.
U.S. Department of Defense's environmental management system's home page. Contains DoD-wide and Service-specific EMS policy and guidance, tools and training material, POCs, presentations, pilot studies and other useful information.
A non-profit, non-partisan, world federation of national associations for environmental management and sustainable development. Their site contains articles, case studies, and tools on environmental management, as well as links to other EMS sites.
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Lessons Learned
Award Winners
The Federal Green Challenge is a national effort under US EPA's Sustainable Materials Management Program, challenging EPA and other federal agencies throughout the country to lead by example in reducing the Federal Government's environmental impact. Federal Green Challenge (FGC) awards are offered in two categories – data driven and narrative. Data driven awards are in the target areas of Waste, Electronics, Purchasing, Energy, Water and Transportation. Narrative awards are given in the categories of Innovation, Education & Outreach and Leadership.
The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate extraordinary achievement in the pursuit of Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance.
The Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards have honored individuals, teams, and installations for their outstanding achievements to improve the environmental performance of the Department of Defense each year since 1962.
EMS Development
EPA's EMS basics website, including why develop an EMS, how to develop and EMS, costs and benefits, etc.
EMS Examples and Case Studies
Developed by the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) and dated February 2005. This document is designed to help range operators, regulators, and others develop a consistent approach to the evaluation and deployment of appropriate practices and technologies at applicable sites.
Measuring EMS Implementation/Success
These metrics provided agencies, organization and facilities that were implementing an Environmental Management System to report in fiscal years 2009-2015 on progress, performance and successes. Agencies may use this document to develop revised metrics for fiscal year 2016 and beyond.
On 23 November 2009, Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive, sent an email to Agency Senior Sustainability Officers providing information on the annual EMS data call due 15 January 2010. Accompanying the data call are documents for accomplishing the 2009 report (see FY09 EMS Annual Report Data Call); an agency-level EMS report template (Attachment A); a facility/organization-level data template (Attachment B); the FY09 EMS metrics (Attachment C); and supplemental Oct 2008 guidance on establishing EMSs at All Appropriate Levels (Attachment D).
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Training, Presentations, and Briefings
Conferences and Events
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Last Updated: May 10, 2018