FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions 

Why has NIH implemented the NEMS?
“The mission of NIH makes this a clear choice for helping improve the environment and the nation's health. Additionally, Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, requires the NIH to:

“Implement within the agency environmental management systems (EMS) at all appropriate organizational levels”
The Department of Health and Human Services fully supports implementation of the NEMS at appropriate HHS facilities and has developed a Department-wide framework as a guide.

How is the NEMS structured?
Most EMSs follow the structure provided by ISO 14001. This structure is commonly referred to an Plan Do Check Act and requires the demonstration of measurable continual improvement.

How will the EMS benefit the NIH?
The NEMS will help each member of the NIH understand their role in the environment, and to see how what they do at the NIH affects the environment. It provides for responsibility, ownership, and accountability of actions and related impacts. It contributes to a workforce that is more aware, better trained, more motivated, and more enthusiastic. Other benefits of NEMS implementation include:
  • Improving the environmental condition
  • Improving public health
  • Minimizing accidents and problems
  • Reducing redundant paperwork
  • Achieving cost savings
  • Facilitating compliance
How does this affect employees?
The NIH will demonstrate its environmental commitment in accordance with EO 13423 by developing an environmental policy, the NEMS, and a systematic environmental auditing program. NIH employees will need to be familiar with the NIH Environmental policy, and aware of the potential environmental impacts of their jobs. Upper management be affected in that they will be involved in reviewing and approving the components and policies of the NEMS.

Will all the ICs be participating?
Yes, all the ICs on campus will be involved. The Sustainability Management Team is comprise of representatives from ICs and administrative offices. The team will formally approve the components of the EMS, including goals and policies. EMSs are also being developed at Research Triangle Park in NC, Ft. Detrick, MD and Rocky Mountain Laboratories in MT.

What is the employee’s role?
Employees can affect the environment:

They also can be involved in the EMS. There are currently five working groups that are working on many of the components of an EMS. These teams are focused on the areas where the NIH has the greatest potential to impact the environment:
  • Sustainable Office Practices
  • Sustainable Design and Construct
  • Sustainable Lab Practices
  • Sustainable Facilities
  • Sustainable Animal Care Activities
  • Sustainable Clinical Center Activities
The teams will perform the following:
  • Examine NIH activities and the potential environmental impacts of our activities.
  • Recommend goals and metrics
  • Identify environmental awareness training needs for the NIH community.
  • Identify communication, structure and responsibility needs.
  • Determine operational controls
  • Perform audits
  • Prepare annual report
At what point in the EMS development process is NIH?
The NIH is in the process of implementing the EMS. This website will be populated in the near future with more specific information on how each of the components of the EMS is being implemented at the NIH. Please check back often!

If you are interested in participating in this process, please contact: Bani Bhattacharya, NEMS Manager