Implementing Sustainable Practices

565 FW 1
FWM Number
565 FW 1, 4/28/2010
Originating Office
Infrastructure Management Division



1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

1.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

1.3 What is the Service’s overall policy?

1.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?

1.5 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?

RESPONSIBILITES1.6 Who implements the policies in this chapter and what are their responsibilities?


1.7 How did the Service establish its carbon footprint?

1.8 How does the Service continually assess its carbon footprint and measure progress in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other sustainability goals?

1.9 How will the Service meet its sustainability requirements and goals governing GHG emission reduction?

1.10 How does the Service recognize achievements in sustainable practices?


1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter establishes policy for implementing sustainable practices and achieving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) goal of carbon neutrality by 2020 through management of activities that impact the environment.

1.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This policy applies to:

A. All Service-owned or operated facilities, including quarters, vessels, and vehicles; and

B. Any special use permit, contract, lease, or concessionaire agreement the Service puts in place.

1.3 What is the Service’s overall policy?

A. It is our policy to carry out our responsibilities in a manner that:

(1) Protects human health and the environment;

(2) Meets or exceeds the requirements of all applicable environmental laws, regulations, Secretarial Orders, Executive Orders, and policies; and

(3) Moves us toward carbon neutrality, consistent with the Service’s Strategic Plan for Responding to Accelerating Climate Change (referred to as the Strategic Plan), and Appendix: 5-Year Action Plan for Implementing the Climate Change Strategic Plan (referred to as the Climate Change Action Plan). Carbon neutrality means using mitigation practices to avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, minimize unavoidable emissions, and offset remaining emissions.

B. We expect our employees, contractors, partners, and volunteers to demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the interdependency of the ecosystems, resources, biodiversity, and human culture entrusted to our stewardship.

1.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?

A. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) (P.L. 110-140).

B. Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58).

C. Executive Order 12088, Federal Compliance with Pollution Control Standards, as amended.

D. Executive Order 13112, Invasive Species, as amended.

E. Executive Order 13150, Federal Workforce Transportation.

F. Executive Order 13212, Actions to Expedite Energy-Related Projects, as amended.

G. Executive Order 13221, Energy Efficient Standby Power Devices.

H. Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.

I. Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence And Economic Growth.

J. Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act(P.L. 114-94).

K. Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings; Memorandum of Understanding; February 28, 2016.

L. Implementing Instructions for Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade; The White House Council on Environmental Quality; Office of Federal Sustainability; June 10, 2015.

M. National Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1992 (P.L. 95–619).

N. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (P.L. 94-580).

O. Secretarial Order No. 3226, Evaluating Climate Change Impacts in Management Planning.

P. Secretarial Order No. 3289, Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change on America’s Water, Land, and Other Natural and Cultural Resources.

Q. Sustainable Building Implementation Plan,” U.S.Department of the Interior (Department).

R. 515 Departmental Manual (DM) 2, Environmental Auditing.

S. 515 DM 4, Environmental Management Systems.

1.5 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?

A. Carbon footprint: The Service’s carbon footprint is the total amount of GHGs we emit to the atmosphere each year. A carbon footprint generally is expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) (see sections 1.7 and 1.8).

B. Carbon neutral: Carbon neutral means having a net zero carbon footprint, such as achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount that is sequestered. Our goal is to be a carbon neutral organization by no later than 2020.

C. Carbon sequestration: Carbon sequestration is the process through which agricultural and forestry practices remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

D. Carbon sink: A carbon sink occurs when carbon sequestration is greater than carbon releases over a specified period of time.

E. Environmental Management System (EMS): An EMS is a management framework that establishes goals for reducing impacts to the environment from our activities, implements plans to meet the goals, evaluates progress, and makes continual improvement through a “plan-do-check-act” process.

F. Greenhouse Gases (GHG): GHGs are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6). The most common of these is carbon dioxide.

G. Integrated planning: Integrated planning is a method of planning development that addresses protection of the environment as well as community wellbeing and economic development.

H. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Scorecard: The Sustainability/Energy Scorecard (OMB Scorecard) is a performance assessment of leadership in environmental, energy, and economic performance. We are asked to complete the OMB Scorecard two times a year and identify current status, planned actions, and progress for the following areas: Scopes 1, 2, and 3 GHG reduction; energy intensity (British thermal units/Gross Square Foot (GSF)) reduction; use of renewable energy; reduction in potable water intensity (gallons/GSF); reduction in fleet petroleum use; and sustainable green buildings.

I. Organizational assessment: The organizational assessment is a process the Department uses to evaluate the bureaus’ progress on meeting sustainability goals.

J. Renewable energy: Renewable energy is produced by solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), hydrokinetic, geothermal, municipal solid waste, new hydroelectric generation capacity achieved from increased efficiency or additions of new capacity at an existing hydroelectric plant (e.g., microhydroturbines at fish hatcheries), etc.

K. Scope 1 GHG emissions: Emissions from sources we own or control, such as natural gas, propane, etc., that we use to condition our buildings, and emissions from vehicles.

L. Scope 2 GHG emissions: Emissions from sources we purchase, such as the generation of electricity.

M. Scope 3 GHG emissions: Emissions from sources we do not own or control, such as employee business travel, employee commuting, and procurement of goods.

N. Solid waste diversion: Solid waste diversion is when we keep non-hazardous solid waste out of a disposal facility. Waste prevention, reuse, composting, mulching, recycling, and donation are solid waste diversion methods.

O. Sustainable building: Sustainable building is an integrated, synergistic approach to construction that considers all phases of a facility’s life cycle. Its purpose is to:

(1) Avoid depletion of energy sources, water, and raw materials;

(2) Prevent environmental degradation caused by facilities and infrastructure; and

(3) Build environments that are livable, comfortable, safe, and productive.

P. Zero energy buildings: Zero energy buildings are buildings that produce as much energy as they use over the course of a year. For new construction, a zero energy building is designed, constructed, and operated such that the actual energy consumption is balanced by on-site renewable energy, attained by a combination of minimizing energy use and implementing renewable energy strategies. Zero energy, zero water, and zero waste buildings are defined and discussed in the Council on Environmental Quality’s Implementing Instructions for Executive Order 13693.


1.6 Who implements the policies in this chapter and what are their responsibilities? See Table 1-1.

Table 1-1: Responsibilities for the Service’s Sustainability Program

These officials...Are responsible for...
A. The Director

(1) Approving policy for sustainable practices;

(2) Directing the Service’s implementation of the sustainability program;

(3) Developing carbon neutral goals as described in our Climate Change Action Plan, including identifying and requesting resources and funding; and

(4) Designating a Chief Sustainability Officer to implement these programs.

B. The Assistant Director - Business Management & Operations (AD-BMO)

(1) Providing guidance to Service employees about the requirements for sustainable practices;

(2) Serving as the Chief Sustainability Officer;

(3) Establishing and maintaining a Headquarters-level EMS;

(4) Responding to relevant data calls, as required; and

(5) Establishing and maintaining the Service Sustainability Committee. This committee includes Service representatives from several different areas of expertise (see section 1.8B).

C. The Assistant Director - Information Resources and Technology Management (AD-IRTM)

(1) Establishing policy and providing technical assistance for Service employees about sustainability requirements for managing information technology resources, and

(2) Providing technical assistance and training to support our strategies to reduce the impact of operational practices (e.g., using webcasts and other technological alternatives to employee travel).

D. The Assistant Director - Budget, Planning and Human CapitalDeveloping policy that promotes workforce practices that reduce our carbon footprint (e.g., telework policy).
E. All Headquarters Directorate Members

(1) Ensuring that staff support the EMS;

(2) Promoting sustainable practices in daily operations;

(3) Collecting data needed for responses to reporting and strategic planning requirements;

(4) Designating a representative to serve on the Service Sustainability Committee and the Department’s Sustainability Council technical workgroups to provide expertise in relevant sustainability program areas, as needed (also see section 1.8); and

(5) Recommending representatives to serve on the Environmental Leadership Awards selection panel if requested (see section 1.10).

F. Regional Directors

(1) Implementing guidance that complies with governing authorities and policy and with our Climate Change Action Plan to maximize sustainability performance as measured by the Department’s organizational assessment and the OMB Scorecard;

(2) Routinely reviewing and taking corrective actions, if necessary, to ensure that the decisions and actions of employees are consistent with sustainability policies;

(3) Providing staff to:

     (a) Gather and report required data; and

     (b) Conduct audits and assessments to identify opportunities to improve performance in reducing GHG emissions, such as energy and water conservation measures and sustainable construction and rehabilitation; and

(4) Nominating exemplary stewardship accomplishments for recognition through the Service’s Environmental Leadership Awards program (see section 1.10).

G. The Chief, Division of Budget

(1) Providing guidance on the:

     (a) Budget process to program offices as they incorporate sustainability activities, and

     (b) Proper management of recycling revenue; and

(2) Assisting programs to identify funds to implement measures that reduce our carbon footprint.

H. The Chief, Division of Engineering

(1) Providing policy, technical assistance, and guidance on complying with the sustainability requirements related to energy efficiency and renewable energy; water conservation; high performance sustainable buildings; pollution and waste prevention; diversion and recycling and reduction of toxic and hazardous chemicals; Scope 3 GHG emissions; and the EMS;

(2) Collecting and analyzing data needed to assess Service performance in achieving applicable sustainability goals;

(3) Coordinating the Service Sustainability Committee activities and designating representatives to serve on the Department’s Sustainability Council;

(4) Reporting on sustainability performance, as appropriate; and

(5) Annually administering our Environmental Leadership Awards program and facilitating our participation in awards programs offered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of the Interior, and the White House.

I. The Chief, Division of Contracting and General Services

(1) Providing policy, guidance, and technical assistance for sustainability requirements related to green procurement and the property management life cycle, including electronic stewardship, space leasing, quarters, personal property, and fleet management; and

(2) Collecting, analyzing, and reporting data needed to assess Service performance in achieving applicable green procurement and property management sustainability goals.

J. The Chief, Division of Financial ManagementProviding financial data to assess resources we expend for travel, acquisition, recycling, transportation, and workforce benefits (e.g., transit benefits) to help us develop strategies that promote a sustainable workforce.
K. Managers and SupervisorsProviding leadership and supporting employees' efforts to incorporate sustainable practices into their daily work activities.
L. Project Leaders and Facility Managers

(1) Designating coordinators to collect and report sustainability data (e.g., solid waste management, green procurement, energy, fleet, and water data) needed for annual reporting and to promote sustainable practices;

(2) Ensuring that sustainability data are accurately reported; and

(3) Adhering to the Service’s sustainability goals by reducing energy and water consumption and increasing the use of renewable energy.

M. Service Sustainability Committee

(1) Monitoring Service progress in achieving sustainability goals and identifying policy, technical assistance, or guidance needed to improve performance (also see section 1.8);

(2) Establishing, implementing, and maintaining program-specific Sustainability Action Plans; and

(3) Completing required EMS training and other related sustainability training.

N. Service Employees

(1) When making decisions or performing job duties, incorporating practices that promote the Service’s sustainability goals; and

(2) Performing duties (e.g., gathering data and reporting) as required by their specific sustainability-related roles at their duty stations, such as serving as Waste Prevention and Recycling Coordinators, Energy Coordinators, or Fleet Managers.


1.7 How did the Service establish its carbon footprint? We developed a GHG emissions inventory using fiscal year (FY) 2008 data to establish a baseline, which is measured in CO2 equivalents. We use this information to determine progress, to identify areas of focus to reduce our GHG emissions, and to consider our capacity to sequester or store carbon (also measured in tons of CO2 equivalents). Ultimately, our goal is to implement sustainable practices that reduce our carbon footprint to a sufficiently low level so that it can be balanced by sequestration.

1.8 How does the Service continually assess its carbon footprint and measure progress in reducing GHG emissions and other sustainability goals?

A. We implement an EMS at Headquarters to assess our carbon footprint and evaluate our progress in achieving applicable sustainability goals (see Exhibit 1, EMS Policy). The EMS is organized around four basic principles:

(1) Plan,

(2) Do,

(3) Check, and

(4) Act.

B. The Service Sustainability Committee manages the Headquarters EMS and is comprised of representatives from the following programs and areas of expertise: 

(1) Electronic stewardship;

(2) Energy efficiency and renewable energy;

(3) EMS;

(4) Fleet;

(5) Green procurement;

(6) High performance sustainable buildings;

(7) Pollution and waste prevention, diversion, recycling, and reduction of toxic and hazardous chemicals;

(8) Scope 3 and fugitive emissions; and

(9) Water conservation.

C. We assess our GHG emissions to ensure we are on track to achieve applicable sustainability goals and our commitment to carbon neutrality by 2020. As much as possible, we rely on data we collect from existing Federal and Departmental reports to make these assessments (e.g., financial systems, procurement, and travel data).

D. We identify challenges to achieving GHG emission reduction goals and develop guidance, conduct training, and provide outreach materials to support programs, Regions, and field stations in their efforts to reduce GHG emissions.

1.9 How will the Service meet its sustainability requirements and goals governing GHG emission reduction?

A. To address the requirements of statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders, and the goal of carbon neutrality outlined in our Strategic Plan, we developed an approach that emphasizes adaptation, mitigation, and engagement. Mitigation requires us to reduce the levels of GHG emissions from Service operations. These reductions are critical to achieving our carbon neutrality goal by 2020. Key sustainability requirements and goals are outlined on the Division of Engineering’s intranet site.

B. To mitigate the emissions of Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHGs, we incorporate sustainable approaches such as those in Table 1-2 into all operations at Service facilities.

Table 1-2: Activities Where We Can Incorporate Sustainable Approaches

Minimizing Energy Use

·        Reducing energy consumption and moving toward eliminating the use of fossil fuels;

·        Increasing the use of renewable energy;

·        Using high performance sustainable building design, construction, operation and maintenance, and deconstruction;

·        Managing electronic assets in an environmentally sound and energy efficient manner throughout their life cycle; and

·        Improving efficiencies in our fleet and transportation management.


·        Reducing or eliminating the quantity of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials we acquire, use, and dispose of;

·        Participating in Regional and local integrated planning;

·        Preventing pollution by increasing the diversion of solid waste and maintaining cost-effective waste prevention and recycling programs in Service facilities;

·        Improving wastewater management;

·        Implementing a formal EMS (also see section 1.8);

·        Reducing potable water consumption; and

·        Reducing water consumption from our operations without adversely impacting our mission.

Work Practices

·        Advancing sustainable acquisition of goods and services;

·        Implementing sustainable landscaping practices;

·        Promoting workforce practices that minimize GHG emissions;

·        Ensuring we have environmental leaders in our organization; and

·        Ensuring our concession and commercial visitor services operators conduct sound environmental management.

C. Service employees, volunteers, and concessioners can adopt programmatic and individual operational practices that positively affect our sustainability goals. Examples of these practices are in Exhibits 2 and 3 of this chapter.

D. We strive to find controls that help us manage risks to the environment while minimizing impacts on mission capability and business costs. If Service employees, contractors, partners, or volunteers take an action that may have an environmental impact, we must make sure it is mission critical or necessary and appropriate.

1.10 How does the Service recognize achievements in sustainable practices? We recognize individual, office, and contractor performance and achievements in the areas of environmental compliance and sustainability through our Environmental Leadership Awards. We may forward information on award recipients for participation in other awards programs, such as those offered by the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, or the White House. More information on our awards program is available on the Division of Engineering’s intranet site.