The Green Book: The National Academy of Science Framework for Sustainability at EPA.
In 2010 the US EPA asked the National Research Council’s Science and Technology for Sustainability Program to convene a committee to provide an operational framework for integrating sustainability as a key driver of the agency’s activities. The committee was also charged to consider how EPA’s decision-making process rooted in the risk assessment/risk management paradigm could be integrated into this new sustainability framework, and to advise concerning the tools and the expertise needed to support the framework. The c report was presented to EPA in May 2011 and was formally launched at meetings at both the National Academy of Sciences and at the EPA in July 2011. Administrator Jackson described the committee's report as being a Green Book that would have an impact on EPA's activities similar to the NAS 1983 Red Book on risk assessment. The committee noted that the basic concepts of sustainability were incorporated into the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act signed by President Nixon and since repetitively reaffirmed. The operational framework to incorporate sustainability is driven by sustainability principles and has a heavy emphasis on setting, meeting and reporting on measurable performance objectives. It focuses on maximizing benefit rather than simply minimizing risk. The committee recognized that EPA and other federal agencies were already engaged in activities that fit within the sustainability framework, and that a staged process was needed to build on and develop tools, including risk assessment, that would promote sustainability assessment and management.