COTA Virginia Tech - Invent the Future
Virginia Tech Center of Excellence for Environmental Management
Virginia Tech Center of Excellence for Environmental Management

Virginia Tech Center of Excellence for Environmental Management

ESMS Institute - Logo
ESMS Institute is a unique, in-depth, one-year training program for government and non- and for- profit organizations interested in developing and implementing an environmental and sustainability management systems (ESMS) using the ISO 14001:2015 standard. Integration of an ESMS by organizations has proven environmental and performance benefits and is based on a system of continual improvement. Organizations attending the Institute will be given all the tools necessary to develop and implement an ESMS specific to their organization.

Each participating agency is encouraged to identify a Core Team of five members to attend the Institute. This team will consist of the following positions chosen as being crucial to your success:

  • Senior Executive
  • Management Representative
  • Environmental Champion
  • Operations Manager/Superintendent
  • Administrative/Executive Assistant.

Teams may choose to add additional members to the Core Team as class space permits.

Individuals and smaller teams are welcome to attend the Institute as well. However please note there may be additional costs for travel for onsite visits.

The course includes the following: three, 2 1/2 day workshops; baseline environmental review; gap audit; final audit.

Workshop Dates:
Workshop 1 - May 22-24, 2018 Canceled
Workshop 2 - July 10-12, 2018 Canceled
Workshop 3 - September 11-13, 2018 Canceled

Workshop Location:
The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center (see Locations)

Institute Schedule:

Baseline Environmental Review
Virginia Tech ESMS faculty will visit your facility for one day to observe environmental practices at your chosen facility. During the site visit, faculty will meet with your ESMS team to prepare them for the upcoming ESMS workshops. Faculty will also provide a debriefing of their observations at the end of the day and will prepare a written assessment of those environmental observations within two weeks of the baseline visit.

Team Conference Calls
Virginia Tech ESMS faculty will schedule a one-hour conference call with your team to review progress and to offer coaching. These conference calls will be scheduled prior to workshops 2 and 3.

Workshop 1

Your five member ESMS team will begin learning how ISO 14001:2015 can help you manage your organization's environmental aspects and impacts efficiently and improve environmental stewardship across your entire organization. During Workshop 1 your team will be given a complete overview of the new ISO 14001:2015 standard and will then focus on the following ISO 14001:2015 clauses:

  • Context of the Organization - understanding the organization and its context; understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties; and determining the scope of the environmental management system;
  • Leadership - leadership and commitment; environmental policy; and organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities.
  • Planning - actions to address risks and opportunities; environmental aspects; compliance obligations; planning action; and environmental objectives and planning to achieve them.

Teams will be provided opportunities during the workshop to begin work on the scope of their ESMS and complete assignments for each clause. Teams will also be quizzed on each clause to ensure they understand the material being taught.

Workshop 2

Your ESMS team will focus on two more ISO 14001:2015 clauses during Workshop 2. Teams will continue to be given opportunities to complete homework assignments during the workshop and also be quizzed on the clauses after they are taught. Teams will also be instructed on how to prepare a case study for the facility. Focus of workshop 2 will be on the following ISO 14001:2015 clauses:

  • Support - resources; competence; awareness; communication (both internal and external); creating and updating documented information; and control of documented information.
  • Operation - operational planning and control and emergency preparedness and response.

Workshop 3

The final workshop covers the two remaining ISO 14001:2015 clauses. Teams will be given opportunities to prepare various documents that will be part of their ESMS and will be quizzed on the final two clauses. Clauses taught during Workshop 3 are:

  • Performance evaluation - monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation; evaluation of compliance; internal audit, and management review.
  • Improvement - nonconformity and corrective action; and continual improvement.

Teams will be briefed on what they need to do to prepare for the gap and final audit portions of the Institute. Gap audit dates will also be selected.

Gap Audit
Approximately three months after Workshop 3, Virginia Tech faculty will conduct a virtual gap audit with the team by a trained ISO auditor.

Final Audit
Approximately three months after the gap audit, Virginia Tech faculty will conduct a final audit consisting of one-day site review and one-half day document review by a trained ISO auditor.


Fee: $4,800 per person
Accepted Methods of Payment: check, purchase order, wire transfer, cash

Payment plans are available.

Registration fee includes group meals, refreshment breaks, single occupancy lodging, parking, taxes, gratuities, a printed copy of the ISO 14001:2015 Standard for each team member, and all workshop materials.

NOTE: This course has been canceled.

Refund Policy: Due to the unique nature of this course, no refunds will be made. Substitutions can be accepted, however it’s not recommended to make a substitution after the first workshop. In the unlikely event that this program is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances, the University will full refund registration fees but cannot be held responsible for any other expenses, including cancellation or change charges assessed by airlines, hotels, travel agencies or other organizations.

For weather or disaster-related program cancellation or postponement information, please call 540-767-6114.

If you need assistance, please call COTA at 540-767-6114.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Martha Franklin at 540-767-6114 or email during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to an event.

Virginia Tech's Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Statement:

Contact: COTA | 540-767-6114 |