time there will be an increasing use of the framework. As with all decision making at EPA, uncertainty needs to be acknowledged and addressed, the approach needs to be transparent, and key stakeholders need to be engaged.
Figures 3-1 and 3-2 illustrate the committee’s recommended Sustainability Framework for EPA. The overall approach is driven by sustainability principles and goals and involves setting, meeting, and reporting on measurable performance objectives. As such, the approach reflects an overall management system framework for sustainability. The framework includes a specific “Sustainability Management and Assessment” component for incorporating sustainability into individual EPA decisions and actions, represented by the inset in Figures 3-1 and 3-2. The Sustainability Assessment and Management process is intended to be applicable to all types of issues, including human health and ecological risks. Similar approaches have been used successfully in both the private and public sectors, including several examples described in Box 3-1. In addition, the committee was informed by several efforts to synthesize the literature on sustainable development and propose sustainability frameworks (including Graedel and Klee 2002; Marshall and Toffel 2005; Porritt 2007; Jabareen 2008). In fact, EPA has been a user and promoter of environmental-management-system frameworks. This topic was the subject of Executive Order 13148, which was later reaffirmed by President Bush’s administration in a 2006 memorandum “Commitment to the Integration and Utilization of Environmental Management Systems” (EPA 2006). The agency has also prepared guidance for developing environmental-management-system frameworks for organizations and businesses, noting in its introductory remarks to these entities, “As one of your organization’s leaders, you probably know that interest in environmental protection and sustainable development is growing each year. You might hear about these issues from customers, the public, or others. Like many, your organization may be increasingly challenged to demonstrate its commitment to the environment. Implementing an [environmental management system] can help you meet this challenge in several important ways” (EPA 2008).
A management system framework will accelerate incorporation of sustainability into the operational activities of EPA, which has many motivated and committed professionals who enjoy their jobs and do them well with the goal of protecting public health and ecosystem health. The framework will guide their management of competing priorities and the “pushes and pulls” inherent in their roles by providing a basis for setting priorities based in part on sustainability considerations. In particular, decision makers in the agency at all levels have a special responsibility in considering and making the trade-offs and finding balances inherent in a sustainability framework. This recommended operational framework for sustainability will accelerate alignment and culture