• What is it?

    An Environmental Management System (EMS) relies on a cycle of continuous improvement consisting of four steps – Plan, Do, Check and Act. This model serves as a framework for installations to clearly identify, prioritize, manage, and check progress toward meeting environmental objectives and targets, minimizing environmental risks, and identifying areas for continual improvement of mission support and environmental performance. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed the ISO 14001 standard to provide a set of internationally recognized criteria for EMS. The Army adopted the ISO 14001 because it provides a proven, systematic approach to managing the environmental risks associated with an organization's activities, products and services. ISO 14001 offers flexibility, allowing the organization to pursue its own performance goals as long as they are consistent with its environmental policy. Organizations commit to continuous improvement, prevention of pollution and compliance with legal requirements.

    Establish the system processes and set objectives to develop programs necessary to deliver results in accordance with the installations environmental or sustainability policy. For example: "Set objectives targets and programs to increase availability of training lands." "Review the environmental aspects of the installation's activities, products and services."

    Implement the system processes through defined roles and responsibilities, systematic communication, training and documented controls, including: "Procedures in place to ensure current shop operational controls are in place at the point of use." "Cross-functional teams guide work toward EMS/sustainability objective or goal."

    Monitor and measure results by periodically checking compliance, auditing the system, and ensuring effectiveness of corrective or preventive actions such as: "The installation maintains its Installation Corrective Action Plan to ensure the effectiveness of preventive actions." "Environmental officers and environmental inspectors evaluate compliance and ensure effective communication."

    Take action to continually improve the performance of the EMS. For instance: "The Environmental Quality Control Committee guides the EMS and ensures its continued suitability, adequacy and effectiveness."

  • What has the Army done?

    EMS uses the Environmental Performance Assessment System (EPAS) program to provide external audits and support internal audits that help Army commanders attain, sustain and monitor compliance with federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, and DoD and Army requirements. EPAS audits provide the external check on an installation's EMS that supports continuous improvement of the management system.

  • What does the Army have planned?

    Executive Order 13423 has been revoked by Executive Order 13693, which calls for the agency to continue maintaining EMSs “where effective.” The Army is evaluating future EMS policy.

    ISO 14001:2004 is no longer the current ISO 14001 standard, it was replaced by ISO 14001:2015, which requires Army leaders to decide if the Army will adopt ISO 14001:2015 or pursue another path forward.

  • Why is this important?

    An EMS applies a methodical approach to identifying risks, focusing resources, measuring performance and meeting mission requirements. Through an EMS, an installation can manage the full scope of its environmental programs. Many installations integrate strategic sustainability efforts with their EMS. This ability to incorporate diverse initiatives into one encompassing system, along with the information power it provides, enables garrison commanders to meet their responsibilities to strengthen Soldier and Family readiness, enhance installation sustainability, improve infrastructure and enable business transformation.

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