NC Environmental Stewardship Initiative

The Environmental Stewardship Initiative at DEQ recognizes and supports companies and facilities that go above and beyond to reduce their impact on the environment.

ESI members strive to go beyond the minimum requirements and are committed to setting and achieving sustainability goals and conservation targets.

To support and encourage superior environmental performance, DEQ provides no-cost technical assistance, including strategies to reduce water and energy usage, for all ESI members. This voluntary program also provides members with networking and outreach opportunities to learn about innovative solutions and share successes as they achieve their goals. 


$102.8 Million

Cost Savings

ESI Members saved money by implementing environmental projects over the past 20 years

15.4 Billion

Gallons of Water Saved

ESI members implemented changes to significantly reduce water usage over the past 20 years

4.2 Million

Fewer Tons of Waste

ESI members reduced the amount of waste going to landfills over the past 20 years

ESI Member Levels


The Steward level is our elite designation for organizations display a commitment to exemplary environmental performance beyond what is required by law.

Environmental Stewards demonstrate:

  • Aggressive environmental performance goals
  • Commitment to meet and go beyond compliance
  • Community outreach and activities


Become an ESI Member

Rising Steward

The Rising Steward level is designed for organizations that have a mature environmental management system.

Rising Environmental Stewards must meet the Partner level criteria plus:

  • Demonstrate a mature EMS;
  • Set measurable environmental performance goals; and
  • Demonstrate a commitment to go beyond compliance.


The Partner level is designed for a broad range of organizations interested in developing a systematic approach to improving their environmental performance.

Partners must:

  • Demonstrate commitment to compliance;
  • Set environmental performance goals; and
  • Agree to report annually.