What is Green Tier?


Green Tier empowers leading organizations to align their environmental management system with business objectives and strategy for continual improvement in their environmental performance. Green Tier recognizes that each organization’s purpose to strive for superior environmental performance is unique; many find that, no matter their reason, they can improve business profitability by improving efficiencies and identifying new opportunities to reduce risks through the responsible management of environmental impacts.


Green Tier is a voluntary program, where companies commit to having a functioning Environmental Management System, known as an EMS, guiding their environmental improvement objectives. It is for entities that are meeting environmental regulations and striving toward superior environmental performance.

Green Tier law complements our regulatory programs and supports organizations that want to set the bar high with continual improvement in achieving their environmental goals. By working with these good performers, it takes the DNR from the traditional regulator to a resource and a partner in helping participants discover new opportunities to improve environmental stewardship.


Green Tier Law & History


Green Tier legislation was signed in 2004. Green Tier was reauthorized in July 2009 with updates making the law clearer and more efficient.

Green Tier is a unique model in the country. It is the only program that acknowledges participants that want to manage or drive their performance by means of an EMS. Other states have similar performance-based programs, but Green Tier is unique because of its verification process through EMS audits and has staying power because it is law.


Green Tier participation provides 3 main results


  1. Benefits to business, environment and community

  2. Improved agency relations

  3. An opportunity to be a pioneer in regulatory reform

Participation Types


Green Tier offers three options for participation. All three levels focus on using a systematic approach to achieving superior environmental performance. Participants can be individual entities, like a single business, or groups, such as related businesses or organizations with common goals.

Tier 1 is designed to encourage innovation, collaboration and environmental goal setting through the implementation of an environmental management system.

Tier 2 involves more rigorous participation requirements than Tier 1, placing greater emphasis on superior environmental performance, and uses a negotiated participation contract to customize regulatory flexibility proportional to environmental performance.

Tier 3 Charters are agreements entered into by the DNR and an association committed to helping its members achieve superior environmental performance objectives

Green Tier participants could include:

  • Businesses – small and large from a variety of sectors including; manufacturing, service, construction, education, healthcare.

  • Trade associations

  • Communities

  • Non-profit organizations

  • You!


Green Tier Updates:


Changes to Green Tier Annual Report Instructions & Metrics Form

On September 12, 2022, we rolled out the new Metrics Form and accompanying Annual Report Instructions. These materials should be used by all participants for submitting annual reports in January 2023 and beyond.

–Department of Natural Resources