The Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP) is a program that provides recognizes companies across the state of Virginia that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship. It is run by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) with the support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Designed to improve the Virginia’s overall environmental and sustainability performance, the program also provides a slew of rewards to member companies including, quite notably, discounts on permit fees.
So how exactly does a company qualify for membership in the VEEP program? It’s simple: start by implementing an environmental management system (EMS) and initiating a pollution prevention program. Then there are three tiers of achievement a business can pursue:
- Environmental Enterprise (E2): This tier is geared towards any company, especially small businesses, nonprofits, municipalities and any others that want to be recognized for their environmental initiatives designed to track and report on measurable goals that improve environmental quality. Qualifying companies need to accomplish the following objectives:
- Begin implementing an EMS.
- Write an environmental policy statement.
- Establish environmental goals and targets.
- Launch a pollution prevention program.
- Exemplary Environmental Enterprise (E3): The second tier of membership calls upon businesses to go above and beyond in their environmental efforts. TO qualify for E3 status, companies must:
- Finish implementing an EMS.
- Document the results of implementing an EMS.
- Conduct an EMS self-assessment.
- Communicating environmental performance to the public and stakeholders.
- Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise (E4): The highest level of VEEP membership is for organizations that have demonstrated “a mature EMS, aggressive environmental performance goals, a process for engaging the local community, and continued progress towards performance goals,” according to the DEQ. TO achieve E4 recognition organizations must:
- Complete one full EMS cycle.
- Demonstrate continuous and sustainable progress.
- Have the EMS audited by a third party.
- Demonstrate a commitment to community involvement.
Businesses that successfully pursue E2 to E4 VEEP recognition will benefit from some or all of the following incentives:
- Reduced annual permit fees.
- Public recognition of performance from DEQ.
- A Peer-to-peer support network.
- Reduced inspection priority
- A single point of contact at DEQ.
- Alternative compliance methods (ACM).
- Streamlined reporting.
- Reduced monitoring requirements.
- Prioritized permit and permit amendment.
So, whether or not you have an environmental program, contact your local DEQ representative, implement an EMS, and reap all the benefits of VEEP membership.