ence and technology for sustainability, such as the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability. In addition to engaging other agencies as EPA implements the framework, other stakeholders will also be important to engage, such as state regulators, local officials, industry, academia, community and advocacy groups, and the international community. This will better inform agency decision makers as the framework is refined to promote innovative solutions that are enriched by the growing knowledge of the interconnections of societal, environmental, and economic systems.

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. In addition to uncertainty, tradeoff and synergy analysis is a fundamental component of the Sustainability Assessment and Management approach. The objective is to maximize social, environmental, and economic benefits of a decision and to minimize the adverse effects of conflicts among the three pillars.

The committee limited its recommendations to EPA, but these recommendations are pertinent to the concerted effort by all federal agencies and sectors of society needed to meet the challenges of achieving a sustainable future. The following recommendations were identified by the committee as key recommendations because of their importance in directly addressing the four key questions of the statement of task:

  • The committee recommends that EPA adopt or adapt the comprehensive Sustainability Framework proposed in Figure S-1. The proposed Sustainability Framework requires a comprehensive approach including specific processes for incorporating sustainability into decisions and actions. As part of the framework, EPA should incorporate upfront consideration of sustainability options and analyses5 that cover the three sustainability pillars (social, environmental, and economic), as well as trade-off considerations into its decision making. This framework was developed with the intent that EPA could apply it to any decision to which a need arose. (Recommendation 3.1)
  • For programs, EPA should set several strategic 3–5 year breakthrough objectives6 related to its sustainability implementation and its performance indicators and associated metrics.7 These goals would be designed to improve performance throughout the agency by extending its


5 Sustainability options and subsequent analyses refer to the range of options and the associated social (including health), environmental and economic impacts for each option along with any tradeoff analyses that may have been undertaken.

6 Commonly referred to in the business community, breakthrough objectives are goals that extend far beyond the current capabilities and experiences of an organization and require new strategies and approaches to ensure successful attainment of these goals. These objectives are generally designed to improve performance throughout an organization.

7 Throughout the report, the committee refers to indicators and associated metrics. Indicators, in general, are measures that provide information on the state of, or change in, a system (see Box 3-3).

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