The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program (EPP) has recognized the Certified Environmental Facts multi-attribute label, developed by GreenCircle Certified LLC. EPP references specifications, standards and ecolabels to help federal agency purchasers identify and specify environmentally sustainable products and services.
|Sample GreenCircle label for carpet.|
EPA developed program guidelines through a stakeholder consensus process, ensuring a transparent, reliable approach. Recommendations leverage existing private-sector standards and ecolabels to encourage and simplify the process of sustainable purchasing in the U.S. government, while developing a framework to recognize environmental performance and address the key environmental or health impacts within construction, landscaping and four other product categories.
An internationally recognized, third-party certification entity providing independent verification of sustainability claims, GreenCircle is ISO 17065 compliant, following industry requirements for organizations certifying products, processes, and services. GreenCircle certification is additionally recognized by the United States Green Building Council, Home Innovation Research Labs and National Green Building Standard. GreenCircle’s CEF label enables purchasers to easily review and understand product sustainability attributes, such as carbon footprint, recycled content, material ingredients, and manufacturing attributes.
“When purchasers are accurately informed and educated, they are empowered to make the best choices. Purchasers have a big role in selecting sustainable products as well as encouraging continuous improvement with manufacturers to provide more sustainable products. We encourage all procurement teams to utilize the recommendations set by the EPA when making purchasing decisions,” says GreenCircle Certified co-founder and Certification Officer Tad Radzinski.
The EPA guidelines encourage continuous improvement of not only the recommended standards and ecolabels, but the products and services addressed. Federal purchasers can visit General Services Administration’s Green Procurement Compilation for all applicable green purchasing requirements, including EPA’s recommendations.
AGENCY DOCUMENTS A YEAR OF BALANCED COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
The Environmental Protection Agency has released Fiscal Year 2017 enforcement and compliance results, highlighting civil and criminal case activity.
“A strong enforcement program is essential to achieving positive health and environmental outcomes,” says Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine. “In 2017, we focused on expediting site cleanup, deterring noncompliance, and returning facilities to compliance with the law, while respecting the cooperative federalism structure of our nation’s environmental laws.”
Among EPA FY 2017 enforcement accomplishments:
- $1.6 billion in administrative and civil judicial penalties, higher than any of the previous 10 years other than FY 2016, which included the $5.7 billion BP action.
- An increase in the value of commitments by private parties to clean up sites to more than $1.2 billion.
- An increase in the total of criminal fines, restitution, and mitigation to $2.98 billion.
- An increase in the years of incarceration resulting from EPA’s criminal enforcement actions to 150 years.
- An increase in the value of actions taken to improve compliance with the law and reduce pollution, to nearly $20 billion.
- An increase in the environmental benefits of EPA Superfund and RCRA Corrective Action enforcement, with commitments to address an estimated 20.5 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and 412 million cubic yards of contaminated water.
States and tribes are often authorized to be the primary implementers of federal environmental law. Accordingly, the overwhelming majority of EPA’s enforcement actions are taken in programs that are: (1) not delegable to the state or a federally-recognized tribe; (2) in states or tribes that have not sought authorization to implement a delegable program; or (3) in states or tribes that do not have the resources, expertise, or the will to take action, or that seek assistance from the Agency—and all of these actions are taken in coordination with the states or tribes. As a result, in FY 2017, EPA continued the trend of reducing the number of individual federal inspections and federal enforcement actions. These numbers do not count informal actions or EPA assistance with state enforcement actions.
Looking forward, EPA is developing new measures to help focus the enforcement program on returning facilities to compliance by setting goals to reduce the time between the identification of an environmental law violation and its correction and to increase environmental law compliance rates. Also, EPA is developing measures to fully capture all the enforcement and compliance assistance work the Agency undertakes by tracking informal, as well as formal, enforcement and compliance actions and support to states.