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Laurel Sukup
Sustainability & Business Support

Green Tier and Environmental Management Systems

Green Tier places great value on Environmental Management Systems (EMS). Participants in Tier 1 and Tier 2 must have an ISO 14001 certified environmental management system or a system that is functionally equivalent under the Green Tier law.

Tier 1 participants should have their EMS in place within the first year of participation while Tier 2 participants must have a well-developed EMS in place at the time of application.

Guidance has been developed to inform implementation of an EMS that is functionally equivalent under Green Tier law. Click on the following links to see how Environmental Management Systems & Functional Equivalency (CO-503) [PDF] operate, or, use the Functionally Equivalent EMS Crosswalk to ISO 14001) (CO-511) [PDF] to learn how a Functionally Equivalent EMS relates to elements from ISO 14001.

Environmental Management Systems: An introduction

An EMS is a tool to help your organization understand its environmental impacts and systematically operate more efficiently by reducing energy usage, minimizing waste and reducing pollution. Proactively addressing environmental impacts helps your organization protect public health and Wisconsin’s natural resources, find and utilize the most cost effective corrective measures and avoid costly noncompliance fees.

A comprehensive look at your environmental impacts can also lead to innovative ways to improve conditions for employees, strengthen relationships with the community, impress existing clients and attract new ones.

Instead of simply following mandated environmental procedures, an effective EMS guides exploration of environmental opportunities that are compatible with your organization's current practices.

Continual economic and environmental improvement

An EMS is a way to manage your company's environmental impacts in a manner that creates continual environmental and economic improvement through the "Plan, Do, Check, Act" cycle.

The basics of "Plan, Do, Check, Act"

  • Plan - Formulate an environmental policy, stating environmental goals, intentions and an overall mission. Set specific goals to improve environmental performance, detailing how your organization will meet those goals and employee responsibilities in meeting these goals. Act Plan Do Check
  • Do - Delegate responsibilities, set-up and conduct employee training, communicate EMS goals and procedures with employees, and implement the EMS.
  • Check – Assess environmental impacts, goal attainment and methods used to monitor and measure environmental impacts from implementing your EMS. Record past environmental issues and the mechanisms utilized to prevent recurrence.
  • Act – Evaluate your EMS in terms of effectiveness and appropriateness for reaching company goals. Identify new goals and make adjustments to the EMS.

More information

Last revised: Friday September 13 2019