What Is Sustainability?
For IHS, sustainability means:
- The long-term management of our facilities and operations in a manner that reduces our impact on the environment.
- A safe and healthy environment for IHS staff, visitors, and patients.
- Partnering with Tribes to develop sustainable communities.
The concept of sustainability emerged with the significant concerns regarding the environmental consequences of rapid population and economic growth. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, fulfilling social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to making sure we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.
The implementation of sustainable practices at IHS is shaped by the following federal laws and regulations:
- EO 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance
: Directs federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; meet a number of energy, water, and waste reduction targets; participate in regional and local planning activities; and leverage federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies.
- EO 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy and Transportation Management
: Directs federal agencies to conduct their environmental, transportation, and energy-related activities under the law in support of their respective missions in an environmentally, economically and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously improving, efficient, and sustainable manner.
- Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) Overview
[PDF]: Focuses on automobile fuel economy, development of biofuels, and energy efficiency in public buildings and lighting.
- Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT)
: EPACT addresses topics such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, types of fuels and vehicles, and research and development; and provides tax incentives and loan guarantees for energy production of various types.
- Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings, known as the "Guiding Principles"
: Consistent with and in addition to federal policy, statutes, and EOs, federal agencies must follow a set of "Guiding Principles" pertaining to the integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and impact of materials in federal buildings. These "Guiding Principles" apply to both new and existing federal agency buildings.
IHS and HHS policy and plans incorporate the above recommendations. Below are links to important HIS and HHS documents:
HHS Sustainability Plans
: The HHS Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan outlines progress and strategies for the year, focusing on areas that need improvement. The HHS Climate Change Adaptation Plan outlines challenges that climate change poses to the HHS mission, programs, and operations; identifying specific actions to address those challenges.
- Indian Health Manual, Chapter 13 - "Environmental Compliance, Stewardship, and Sustainability": Establishes the policy, procedures, and responsibilities for managing environmental compliance, stewardship, and sustainability objectives in the Indian Health Service (IHS).
- Environmental Policy Statement: Supports Go Green Get Healthy HHS, or the HHS Sustainability Program; and Chapter 13 of the Indian Health Manual, Environmental Compliance, Stewardship, And Sustainability.
- Sustainability Advisory Board Charter: Establishes the IHS Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB supports the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) in planning, implementing, and monitoring sustainability efforts.
IHS Environmental Compliance Awareness Guide [PDF - 571 KB]: Provides an introduction to environmental regulations for Facility Managers, CEOs, and other agency staff; their basic responsibilities under each regulation; and resources to help achieve compliance.