Summary of the EPA Listening Session on Sustainable Products (PDF) (16 pp, 387.6K, About PDF), September 24, 2010, to solicit input from stakeholders to help EPA better define its role in the green or sustainable products movement.
- What is "Environmentally Preferable?"
- Impact of Federal Purchasing
- Benefits of Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
- Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program Measurement and Outcomes
- Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program History
EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program is helping agencies across the federal government comply with green purchasing requirements, and, in doing so is using the federal government's enormous buying power to stimulate market demand for green products and services.
Federal agencies are directed by federal laws, regulations and executive orders to make purchasing decisions with the environment in mind. EPA created the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program in 1993 to help federal officials meet these requirements. Most recently, these requirements have included Executive Order 13514 - Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance (PDF) (15 pp, 88 K, About PDF), which orders federal agencies to use sustainable practices when buying products and services.
As they implement these green purchasing requirements, federal purchasers need to consider:
- Their legal requirements;
- Product and service needs;
- Costs and benefits of various green products and services.
The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program has created this Web site to make the job easier by helping purchasers:
- Identify federal requirements;
- Find and evaluate information about green products and services;
- Calculate the costs and benefits of their purchasing choices;
- Manage their green purchasing processes.
What is "Environmentally Preferable?"
Environmentally preferable means "products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose," according to the Instructions for Implementing Executive Order 13423 (PDF) (51 pp, 149 KB, About PDF). This comparison applies to raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, use, reuse, operation, maintenance, and disposal.
Impact of Federal Purchasing
The United States federal government is one of the world's largest consumers. Indeed, it is the single largest consumer of goods and services within the United States, with total spending estimated at $350 billion for goods and services each year.
This purchasing power exerts a tremendous influence on which products and services are available in the national marketplace. The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program works to ensure that federal government's buying power is working to the greatest extent possible to increase availability of environmentally preferable products, which in turn minimizes environmental impacts.
- Improved ability to meet environmental goals
- Improved worker safety and health
- Reduced liabilities
- Reduced health and disposal costs
- Increased availability of environmentally preferable products in the marketplace
Program Measurement and Outcomes
For the Federal government as a whole, the President's Office of Management and Budget has issued a series of scorecards to help track progress of Federal agencies in implementing Executive Order 13514 - Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance (PDF) (15 pp, 88 K, About PDF). Green purchasing progress is measured in the Environmental Stewardship Scorecard. These scorecards are for internal government use.
EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program started in 1993 after the signing of Executive Order 12873, and continues today under Executive Order 13514. Learn more about the history of the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program.