EPA ponders greener federal procurement

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing draft guidelines that will help the federal government buy greener and safer products. In response to broad stakeholder interest, it is seeking public input on these draft guidelines and a potential approach to assessing non-governmental environmental standards and ecolabels already in the marketplace.

“As the largest purchaser in the world, the U.S. government is working to reduce its environmental footprint,” says EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Jim Jones. “These guidelines will make it easier for federal purchasers to meet the existing goal of 95 percent sustainable purchases while spurring the private sector to use and demand safer and greener products.” The draft guidelines were developed by EPA, General Services Administration, and others following sessions with a wide range of stakeholders on how the federal government can be more sustainable in its purchasing and how it can best meet the numerous federal requirements for the procurement of sustainable and environmentally preferable products and services. They address key characteristics of environmental standards and ecolabels, including the credibility of the development process and the effectiveness of the criteria for environmental performance. The draft guidelines are posted at www.epa.gov/epp/draftGuidelines.