Standards for Becoming a VBEP Partner
Standards for becoming a Partner in the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership are based on environmental best management practices. These standards are subject to change as environmental technologies and practices improve.
Businesses must meet each of the standards below. New initiatives are strongly encouraged for fulfilling these standards whenever possible, though businesses will be credited for recent or existing initiatives.
- Designate an environmental team or representative at your facility to ensure the standards are met, new initiatives are developed, and employees are trained in environmental best management practices..
- Adopt and communicate an Environmental Policy statement.
"(Business) is committed to protecting the environment, the health and safety of our employees, and the community in which we conduct our business. It is our policy to seek improvements throughout our operations to lessen our impact on the local and global environment by conserving energy, water, and other natural resources; reducing waste generation; recycling and purchasing recycled products; and reducing our use of toxic materials. We are committed to pollution prevention, continuous improvement and meeting or exceeding all environmental regulatory requirements."
- Adopt an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) policy.
Preference will be given to purchasing products and services that have the following environmentally friendly attributes with acceptable parameters for price, quality, and delivery:
- maximum post-consumer recycled content,
- minimum packaging and other wastes,
- minimum toxicity,
- are durable and reusable,
- are locally available to minimize transportation,
- made from sustainably produced materials,
- are compostable or biodegradable, and
- conserve energy, water, and other natural resources.
The goal of this policy is to ensure that products and services purchased or contracted for conform to the goals of our company's environmental policy. We will strive, where feasible, to purchase environmentally preferable products and services to meet the company's office and operational needs. We will also favor suppliers who strive to improve their environmental performance, provide environmentally preferable products, and who can document the supply-chain impacts of their efforts.
Wherever possible, purchasing decisions will favor products and feedstocks that
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
- are made with renewable energy,
- reduce pollution from all discharges (releases to air, water, and land),
- reduce the use of toxic materials hazardous to the environment, employees, and public health,
- contain the highest possible percentage of post-consumer recycled content, followed by percentage of recycled content,
- reduce packaging and other waste,
- are energy efficient,
- conserve water,
- are reusable and/or durable,
- minimize transportation (local sources, more concentrated products), and
- serve several functions (for example, copier/printers, multipurpose cleaners) to reduce the overall number of products purchased.
Environmentally preferable products and services that are comparable in quality to their standard counterparts will receive a purchasing preference. In situations where the most environmentally preferable product is unavailable or impractical, secondary considerations will include production methods and the environmentally and socially responsible management practices of suppliers and producers. Environmentally preferable purchasing is part of our long-term commitment to the environment. By sending a clear signal to producers and suppliers about this commitment, we hope to support wider adoption of environmentally preferable products and practices.
Purchase for use or resale three (3) environmentally preferable products of significant use, with the following:
Conserve resources and reduce wastes through
- maximum post-consumer recycled content, (%PC)
- minimum toxicity,
- minimum packaging,
- greater durability,
- reduced or renewable resources, or
- other environmentally friendly attributes.
Implement at least one (1) water conservation measure.
- reduction (amount and/or toxicity),
- reuse, or
Implement at least three (3) energy efficiency measures.
Best Management Practices (BMPs) – implement at least three (3) of the following BMPs, where possible. For each BMP that is selected, please provide a brief description of how it is being implemented. Others may be proposed in this section, but will need approval by a program representative.
- Adopt and practice grounds keeping or landscaping methods that achieve resource conservation.
- Install stormwater management systems that protect the environment and promote water reuse.
- Install renewable energy sources.
- Use biodiesel for vehicles or heating.
- Reduce energy use for transportation by purchasing electric or hybrid vehicles or otherwise increase fleet miles per gallon.
- Purchase Energy Star or silver to gold level EPEAT computers.
- Use green building materials and techniques for all new construction and renovation.
- Implement all feasible building weatherization.
- Complete an energy and/or renewable energy assessment or audit done in-house or by a private contractor/business, a town energy committee, or a non-profit agency (assessment/audit must be no older than three years).
- Create a comprehensive plan for energy reduction or sustainability measures.
- Complete a carbon footprint assessment (assessment must be no older than three years).
- Use significant local sourcing to reduce transportation pollution.
- Participate in corporate sustainability reporting.
- Conduct regular employee training in all aspects of environmental management.
- Create an employee incentive to improve environmental management.
- Participate annually in a community environmental project.
Note: If you have implemented or plan to implement an environmental Best Management Practice(s) not identified in any of the above categories under #8, please call the program representative for consideration.
Standards for Becoming a VBEP Environmental Leader
Businesses receiving the ENVIRONMENTAL LEADER designation must meet each of the 3 standards below.
- For Genral Business designation, achieve the standards for ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNER designation. Each facility designated and recognized as an ENVIRONMENTAL LEADER must first achieve ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNER status. For sector specific programs, all standards must be met before designation.
- Develop and implement an Environmental Management Plan that (a) builds on the findings of an environmental assessment; (b) considers the technical and economic feasibility of various strategies; (c) defines waste reduction goals and measures of success; (d) describes an action plan for implementing selected strategies; and (e) creates a system for assessing progress and maintaining compliance with environmental, safety and health regulations.
[Staff of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resource's Environmental Assistance Office and the Vermont Small Business Development Center are prepared to provide free on-site, confidential technical assistance to help you develop a comprehensive environmental management plan and to implement and sustain your Environmental Management System. Please contact either the Environmental Assistance Office by calling 1-800-974-9559 or the Vermont Small Business Development Center by calling 1-800-464-SBDC.]
- Be in good regulatory standing with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and in compliance with all applicable DEC regulations. Each Environmental Leader facility should be a model of regulatory compliance as well as of environmental excellence. Depending on the size and scope of operations at your facility, the following regulations are just a few that may apply to you:
Air Quality regulations
Hazardous Waste Management regulations
Indirect Discharge Permit regulations
Pretreatment Discharge Program
Storm water Discharge Permit
Underground Storage Tanks (UST) standards
Solid Waste Management Regulations
Regulatory standing can best be evidenced by a report prepared after an environmental compliance review. A non-regulatory compliance assistance specialist is available to conduct an on-site visit to determine regulatory standing and, where there may be non-compliance, to suggest pollution prevention and other strategies that can be used to achieve full compliance. This free and confidential service is available through the Environmental Assistance Office by calling 1-800-974-9559.
Because any assessment or review of environmental compliance provides at best only a snapshot in time, there needs to be a system for maintaining good regulatory standing over time. It is the intent of this Standard to have Environmental Leaders conduct and document the findings of a baseline compliance assessment - and to implement as part of their Environmental Management System (EMS) or Environmental Management Plan (EMP), a system for periodically assessing and maintaining compliance with environmental, safety and health regulations.