Skip navigation

Denver Earns Environmental Management System Certification

City agencies unite in a commitment to improve environmental performance and sustainability

Yesterday Denver was recertified for the ninth consecutive year and remains the only city in the United States to certify all of its agencies through the Environmental Management System (EMS), the internationally-recognized standard for environmental performance management. The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) leads this initiative that requires regular collaboration with every City agency to continuously improve environmental performance and sustainability.

“Being the only city in America to achieve EMS certification demonstrates Denver’s leadership and commitment to sustainable environmental practices,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Our city carries the pioneer spirit – we’re never afraid to be first.”

In a multi-year effort, Denver continually assesses and documents current processes, and determines how to improve them to meet the international standard. Gap analysis showed where City agencies are, where they want to be, and how to build the links to get there. By deliberately improving processes to address environmental impacts in a comprehensive, transparent way, Denver employs a model of continuous improvement as opposed to working toward a defined finish line.

“With the ever-growing awareness and significance of environmental impact, the City of Denver’s successful implementation of an effective Environmental Management System is clearly a priority,” said Robert McDonald, Executive Director of DDPHE and the public health administrator for Denver. “I’m proud to announce that our commitment to the environment is documented and verified by the international authority on environmental performance management.”

For more on the ISO 14001:2015 standards that set out the criteria for an Environmental Management System, go to