Once accepted, members remain in the program for three years, as long as they continue to meet the program criteria. After three years, they may reapply. Facilities applying to Green Leaders must meet the following criteria (note that separate criteria apply to small businesses):
- Environmental Management System (EMS)
Performance Track facilities must have an environmental management system (EMS) that includes the five elements listed below and has gone through at least one full plan-do-check-act implementation cycle (typically one year). During the application process, facilities must certify that they have had an independent assessment of their EMS within the last two years. See DES’s EMS webpage or EPA’s EMS webpage for additional informaion.
Green Leaders facilities must have an EMS with the following five elements:
3. Implementation and Operation
4. Checking and Corrective Action
5. Management Review
- Sustained Compliance
Applicants must have a sustained record of compliance with environmental laws. They also commit to maintaining the level of compliance needed to qualify for the program. The criteria DES will use to determine this can be seen here: compliance screening criteria.
- Continuous Improvement
Applicants must demonstrate past environmental achievements during the current and preceding year. Applicants also commit to four quantitative goals (small businesses commit to two goals) for improving their environmental performance. Goals range from upstream improvements (such as improving environmental performance of suppliers) to on-site improvements (such as reducing emissions or waste from a facility) to downstream improvements (such as reducing a product's packaging or its lifetime energy use). Green Leaders set and make good faith efforts to achieve their goals over the three-year term of participation. We encourage members to set ambitious "stretch" goals rather than setting goals they will be able to meet comfortably. Members commit to making progress toward their goals, and are normally expected to make progress toward at least three of their four goals.
- Public Outreach and Performance Reporting
Applicants commit to remaining involved and active in their community, sharing their accomplishments with the public and addressing any community concerns. They also complete an annual performance report for each year of their membership, describing to DES and/or EPA, and the public, their environmental accomplishments during the previous year.
- Pre-Entry Site Visit.
Applicants will receive a site visit from DES staff before their admittance to Green Leaders. The nature of this site visit depends on the applicant and its record, and will vary from a short visit by DES assistance staff to regulatory inspection by one or more DES programs.
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