EMS Resources and Programs

An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a set of management processes, and procedures that allows an organization to integrate environmental considerations into day-to-day decisions and practices, thereby improving both its environmental and economic performance.  In other words, it provides a framework for managing environmental responsibilities in a more systematic way. This site provides links to available resources and programs that can help a facility develop, implement and continuously improve its EMS.

General Resources Compliance-Focused 
Government Facilities (e.g., federal, state, local) Industry-Specific (e.g., healthcare, metal finishing)
ISO 14001 Resources Small/Medium Sized Businesses

General Resources

Environmental Management Systems: A Design for the Environment Approach (2001. free) - EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) Program has developed an enhanced environmental management system approach called Integrated Environmental Management Systems (IEMS) to help companies achieve continuous environmental improvement. DfE's IEMS combines continuous improvement management tools and principles with proven environmental assessment methodologies, including risk and substitutes assessment and full cost accounting and emphasizes reducing risk to humans and the environment, pollution prevention, and wise resource management.

Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange's EMS Topic Hub Exit EPA disclaimer - This site is intended as a quick guide to EMSs, as well as a compilation of pertinent on-line resources. The site offers general background information, including a lengthy collection of documents on the overall impact of EMSs. 

EPA's EMS Web site - This Web site provides information and resources related to EMSs for businesses, associations, the public, and government agencies.  Among other references, you will find EPA's internal EMS policy, EPA's 2001 EMS Action Plan for incorporating EMSs into the agency's programs, and the revised EPA EMS position statement (2002).

National Database on Environmental Management Systems  Exit EPA disclaimer - This database was created by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Environmental Law Institute, with support from EPA, and with cooperation of the Multi State Working Group on Environmental Management Systems. The database is compiling information on the process and nature of EMS implementation, the costs and benefits realized, and the economic benefits. The database seeks to determine how the environmental and economic performance of a range of corporate, military and municipal facilities is affected by the implementation of EMSs. 

North Carolina Department of Natural Resources' EMS Website Exit EPA disclaimer - This website provides case studies and design tools to use when implementing an EMS, illustrates case studies, and answers frequently asked questions.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's EMS Website Exit EPA disclaimer   - This website covers EMS happenings within Pennsylvania and is a repository for a variety of useful EMS documents from around the country, including EPA documents no longer available on the EPA web site. Includes case studies and interesting articles.

Compliance-Focused EMS Resources

Compliance-Focused Environmental Management Systems  (2000. free) - Since the late 1980's, civil multimedia compliance investigations conducted by EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center (NEIC) have increasingly involved identifying causes of noncompliance. In a significant number of cases, the causes arise from inadequate EMSs. NEIC, in response, developed key elements of a compliance-focused EMS model, which has been used as the basis for EMS requirements in several settlement agreements. The purpose of this guidance is to present those key elements and to show how they can be incorporated into a settlement agreement.

Free PDF reader available Improving Environmental Performance and Compliance: 10 elements of Effective Environmental Management Systems  (2000. free) - This guidance document was developed by the Commission of Environmental Cooperation and sets out what the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States have agreed is important to address when implementing EMSs. It is intended to assist EMS users make responsible decisions and take actions to achieve better environmental performance through maintaining compliance with environmental laws and moving beyond compliance.

Free PDF reader available Guidance on Incorporating Environmental Management Systems into Enforcement Negotiations and Settlements. Exit EPA disclaimer (2001. free) - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued this guidance which provides some slightly different insight than the NEIC document listed above.

EMS Resources for Government Facilities

The National Peer Center Exit EPA disclaimer - The Public Entity Environmental Management System Resource (PEER) Center is a virtual clearinghouse specifically designed to aid local, county, and state governments that are considering implementing or have implemented an environmental management system (EMS) and want to access the knowledge and field experience of other public entities that have done so.  

Environmental Management Reviews at Federal Facilities - EPA offers free on-site reviews of a federal facility's program and management systems to determine the extent to which the facility has developed and implemented specific environmental protection programs and plans which, if properly managed, should ensure compliance and progress towards environmental excellence. A copy of EPA's EMR policy and guidance for federal facilities can be downloaded from our website. In addition, EPA issued a national report on our EMR program to provide information on the results of and lessons learned from EMRs conducted at Federal facilities during EPA's EMR Pilot Program which began in May 1996 and ended in September 1998.  After reading the above documents, if you would like an EMR conducted at your facility, please contact Kathleen Malone, EPA Region 2's Federal Facilities Program Manager, at 212-637-4083 or via E-mail at malone.kathleen@epa.gov 

Free PDF reader available Environmental Management Systems Primer for Federal Facilities  - (1998. free) - This primer was prepared by U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. EPA to help federal managers who are considering adopting an EMS. It outlines the elements of an EMS, offers tips on how to make the case for an EMS to upper management, explains how an EMS will benefit an organization, and places EMSs in the context of regulations, compliance issues, pollution prevention, and other government programs. It also provides references to Internet websites, books, reports, and newsletters for more information.

Free PDF reader available Implementation Guide for The Code of Environmental Management Principles for Federal Agencies (CEMP) (1997. free) - The code of environmental management principles developed by EPA in response to Executive Order 12856, is a collection of five broad principles and underlying performance objectives that provide a basis for Federal Agencies to move toward responsible environmental management. Adherence to the five principles will help ensure environmental performance is proactive, flexible, cost-effective, integrated, and sustainable. 

Free PDF reader available Environmental Management System Tools: A Reference Guide (2001. free)  This guide, which was developed by an interagency work group in 2001, gives advice to federal facilities on how to assess the status quo of an organization's EMS. The assessment of gaps and strengths can greatly assist in building better EMSs. Discusses use of the Code of Environmental Management Principles (CEMP) and for agencies which have adopted ISO14001, use of the Oregon Green Permits Program Guide ISO-based approach to conduct an EMS self-assessment.

Free PDF reader available Generic Protocol for Conducting Environmental Audits at Federal Facilities: Phase III: Auditing EMSs (1998. free) This protocol, which was developed by a Federal Interagency Workgroup in 1998, contains detailed protocols for assessing EMSs at either Federal facilities or at the Federal agency level.

Free PDF reader availableAn Environmental Management System Review of the National Park Service: Based on the Code of Environmental Management Principles (2000. free) This report details an analysis of EMSs within the National Park Service conducted by EPA and the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) using the CEMP as the comparative criteria. The report concludes with findings and recommendations for improving EMSs within the Park Service.

DOD DENIX EMS Exit EPA disclaimer - The Defense Environmental Network and Information Exchange's EMS website provides EMS news, policy, and guidance within the Department of Defense (DOD) activities worldwide. Information on this site includes case studies (e.g., DOD EMS/ISO14001 Pilot Study Sites and Points of Contact Exit EPA disclaimer ), EMS presentations, and self-assessment tools. 

EPA's Environmental Science Center's EMS - This site examines the ISO-14001 EMS being implemented at EPA's Environmental Science Center (ESC) at Ft. Meade MD which is a state-of-the-art laboratory facility. The site includes several background presentations on EMSs.

U.S. EPA Region 3's Office EMS - The intent of  this website is to make EPA Region 3's EMS available for the use of their staff as well as external stakeholders.  The site includes a list of environmental impacts that occur from daily office activities.

U.S. Department of  Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory's EMS Exit EPA disclaimer - One of Brookhaven National Laboratory's highest priorities is ensuring that the Laboratory's environmental performance measures up to its world class status in science. As part of their commitment to environmentally responsible operations, they have established an ISO 14001 certified EMS.

Environmental Management System Pilot Program for Local Government Entities Exit EPA disclaimer is a detailed report on a pilot project that the EPA Office of Wastewater Management sponsored in 1997-99 to implement EMSs at 9 public agencies across the country. The final report discusses the process, benefits and costs to the participants in a fair amount of detail. Also there is a section of case studies at the back which describes each facility's experiences, including benefits, resource commitments (labor, $, cost of consultants if used), and the barriers encountered along the way. A second group of municipal entities were studied from 2000-2002.

City of Seattle Environmental Management Program. Exit EPA disclaimer This site contains a link to the City of Seattle's EMS manual which consists of three parts: Part A outlines the planning process and describes the management system for meeting the environmental policy; Part B details the environmental policies and performance indicators; and Part C identifies the specific work elements, by department, planned for the next two years to implement this management program. Since this document represents a management system, it is, and will continue to be, a work in progress. Some sections will be expanded and more details filled in as the EMS is implemented. Also on this site is a copy of an EMS bench marking report compiled by CH2MHill for the City of Seattle. The bench marking report was developed from telephone interviews and reviews of EMS documentation from 23 municipal organizations. Finally, this site contains a bibliography of EMS resources on the Internet.

Scottsdale, Arizona EMS Exit EPA disclaimer - This site provides background information regarding the city's EMS as well as general EMS information, such as other applicable web sites. 

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection - Exit EPA disclaimer This web site contains a brief case study on the EMS implemented at a state-run laboratory.

City of Santa Monica's Sustainable City Program Exit EPA disclaimer - This website provides information on the city's approach to a sustainable community.

Industry-Specific EMS Guides

Academic Institutions Agriculture Automobile Manufacturing
Biosolids Healthcare Laboratories
Livestock Meat Processors Metal Finishers
Academic Institutions

DRAFT College and University Environmental Management System Implementation Guide. - (2001. free) EPA New England and colleges and universities nationwide worked cooperatively to develop this EMS guide that helps colleges and universities design cost-effective EMSs that improve compliance, promote P2 and save money. This Guide will provide colleges and universities a framework to systematically identify, prioritize, manage, mitigate, and document the environmental aspects and impacts of its activities.

EMS Self-Assessment Checklist for Colleges and Universities (2000. free) Exit EPA disclaimer   -  The Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence (C2E2) is a not-for-profit corporation formed by several New England colleges and universities. To help colleges and universities move their EMSs forward, the C2E2 has developed this EMS self-assessment tool designed to help a campus identify the strengths and weaknesses of its current EMS


Certified Environmental Management Systems for Agriculture Exit EPA disclaimer - is a three-year project supported by the IOWA Soybean Association, the IOWA Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement an EMS, which is practical and feasible for use in a farming operation. The agricultural system is based on the ISO 14001 EMS that is well known in industrial settings.

Automobile Manufacturing

Ford Motor Company's ISO 14001 EMS Template Environmental Management System Manual. Exit EPA disclaimer MSWord documents downloadable as Section 3 of the Environmental Management System Workbook , Dec. 1999


National Biosolids Partnership EMS Guidance Exit EPA disclaimer - This site was developed by the National Biosolids Partnership which is a not-for-profit alliance formed in 1997 between the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, Water Environment Federation, and EPA to advance environmentally sound and accepted biosolids management practices. The site provides EMS guidance targeted toward biosolids producers, service contractors, and users.


Healthcare Guide to Pollution Prevention Implementation through Environmental Management Systems [DOC]- Exit EPA disclaimer The Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center developed this manual, under a grant from EPA, to provide hospitals with guidelines for the reduction of persistent, bioaccumulative toxics and pollution prevention through an EMS approach.


Environmental Management Guide for Small Laboratories (1998. free) This document provides information designed to help staff in small labs better understand their responsibility for good environmental management. Its purpose is to assist in the development and implementation of environmental management programs which meet important Federal regulatory requirements.

U.S. Department of  Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory's EMS Exit EPA disclaimer- One of Brookhaven National Laboratory's highest priorities is ensuring that the Laboratory's environmental performance measures up to its world class status in science. As part of their commitment to environmentally responsible operations, they have established an ISO 14001 certified EMS.

EPA's Environmental Science Center's EMS - This site examines the ISO-14001 EMS being implemented at EPA's Environmental Science Center (ESC) at Ft. Meade MD which is a state-of-the-art laboratory facility. The site includes several background presentations on EMSs.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection - Exit EPA disclaimer This web site contains a brief case study on the EMS implemented at a state-run laboratory.


Environmental Management Systems for Pork Producers Exit EPA disclaimer - This site is dedicated to assisting pork producers design and implement an EMS to better manage their environmental performance.

Meat Processors

EMS Guide for Meat Processors Exit EPA disclaimer - As part of the Meat Processing Stewardship Program, EPA, in conjunction with industry and other stakeholders, crafted an EMS Guide for the Meat Processing Industry.  EPA partnered with the Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to pilot test the Guide with five Iowa companies. IWRC and IDNR provided technical assistance and implementation consulting to the five companies. The EMS pilot project implementation included a gap analysis, ten face-to-face workshops, EMS documentation, four site-visits, bi-weekly teleconferences, and one-on-one technical assistance.

Metal Finishers

EMS: A Guide for Metal Finishers Exit EPA disclaimer (1998. free) - This industry-specific guide was developed by NSF International, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and Environmental Consulting and Technology, Inc. through an EPA grant, and contains detailed EMS development advice based on the real life ISO 14001 implementation experiences of 11 metal finishers from around the country. The guide includes the following for each of the 17 elements of the Standard: What the Standard Requires; Starting Points; Implementation Tips; Examples: Conformance Check; and EMS Links. In addition, the guide provides an overall action plan for implementation and includes the top ten things you should consider before implementing your EMS.


Video: Environmental Management Systems for Printers: It's a Bottom Line Benefit (EPA/744-V-99-001)
This 21 minute video documents the experiences of two printers that developed EMSs for their companies. The purpose of the video is to encourage businesses of all sizes to consider implementing an EMS within their companies. By focusing on small steps and easy successes at first, companies can garner the support and enthusiasm needed from employees to proceed to larger, more complex projects. The video cites many examples of easy ways to incorporate environmental and pollution prevention decisions into daily business practices, and shows that many environmental benefits may be economic as well.

Printed Wiring Board Case Study #7: Identifying Objectives for Your Environmental Management System
(EPA/744-F-97-009) December 1997, 4 pages - This case study describes the benefits of initiating an EMS and the process by which a company can identify the environmental aspects of its operations and determine their significance. These results are based on the experiences of H-R Industries, Inc. (now McDonald Technologies), a manufacturer of printed wiring boards.

Printed Wiring Board Case Study #8: Building an Environmental Management System: H-R Industries' Experience (EPA/744-F-97-010) December 1997, 4 pages
This case study describes the initial steps taken by a printed wiring board manufacturer, H-R Industries, Inc., to develop an EMS; shows the similarity between the requirements for ISO 14001 and ISO 9000; and demonstrates how the ISO 9000 quality system may be used to begin building an ISO 14001 EMS

ISO 14001 Resources

ISO 14001 EMS Standard - ISO 14001 is the international standard for EMSs developed in 1996 by the International Organization for Standardization.  It is available in some libraries for reference but they are copyrighted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and would need to be ordered if additional copies are needed. The ISO14000 series standards are available for purchase from ANSI Exit EPA disclaimer as well as the American Society for Quality Exit EPA disclaimer and the NSF International Strategic Registrations. Exit EPA disclaimer

Greenware ISO 14001 Software - Exit EPA disclaimer GreenWare Environmental Systems, Inc. has developed four software products based on the ISO 14000 series of international standards for EMSs.

EMS Resources for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Free PDF reader available Environmental Management Systems: An Implementation Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Organizations (1996. free) This guide is intended to support and facilitate the development of environmental management systems among small and medium sized organizations. The guide explains how you can develop and implement an effective EMS and how it can support your organization's mission and goals. Development of an EMS is a voluntary approach to improving your organization's environmental performance.

Free PDF reader available Integrated Environmental Management Systems, Company Manual Template for Small Business. (2001. free) - This Company Manual Template contains examples and samples of documents and procedures that may be adapted by to a particular company and its EMS. The Manual will not substitute for developing a company specific EMS or replace the implementation process, but it can help to facilitate the development process and enhance the documentation of the EMS. Caution is advised as this document may invite over simplification through cut-and-paste. 

Understanding and Implementing an Environmental Management System Exit EPA disclaimer The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Pollution Prevention Unit has developed, through a grant from EPA Region 2, a step-by-step EMS guide for small and medium-sized organizations.


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