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Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)

EPP Guidance

Developing a green purchasing program can be easy, especially with the right tools. Businesses can use the simple steps outlined below in starting (and maintaining) a successful green purchasing program.

  1. COMMITMENT - Make a commitment to buying green products and services.
  2. DESIGNATE - Dedicate personnel to the goal of buying green products and services.
  3. COMMUNICATE - Communicate your commitment to your employees, clients and the public.
  4. ASSESS - Review and evaluate your current purchasing habits, policies and procedures.
  5. SET GOALS - Set green purchasing goals.
  6. LEARN - Learn about green products and services.
  7. REVIEW - Work with suppliers and review product and services specifications.
  8. GET STARTED - Procure green products and services using a phase-in approach or test them through a pilot program.
  9. EVALUATE - Evaluate your green purchasing program.
  10. GET THE WORD OUT - Market your achievements.
  11. MONITOR - Monitor your green purchasing program.

Sample Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy

Sample 1
Preference will be given to purchasing products and services that have the following environmentally friendly attributes with acceptable parameters for price, quality, and delivery:

  • maximum post-consumer recycled content,
  • minimum packaging and other wastes,
  • minimum toxicity,
  • are durable and reusable,
  • are locally available to minimize transportation,
  • made from sustainably produced materials,
  • are compostable or biodegradable, and
  • conserve energy, water, and other natural resources.

Sample 2
The goal of this policy is to ensure that products and services purchased or contracted for conform to the goals of our company's environmental policy. We will strive, where feasible, to purchase environmentally preferable products and services to meet the company's office and operational needs. We will also favor suppliers who strive to improve their environmental performance, provide environmentally preferable products, and who can document the supply-chain impacts of their efforts.

Wherever possible, purchasing decisions will favor products and feedstocks that

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
  • are made with renewable energy,
  • reduce pollution from all discharges (releases to air, water, and land),
  • reduce the use of toxic materials hazardous to the environment, employees, and public health,
  • contain the highest possible percentage of post-consumer recycled content, followed by percentage of recycled content,
  • reduce packaging and other waste,
  • are energy efficient,
  • conserve water,
  • are reusable and/or durable,
  • minimize transportation (local sources, more concentrated products), and
  • serve several functions (for example, copier/printers, multipurpose cleaners) to reduce the overall number of products purchased.

Environmentally preferable products and services that are comparable in quality to their standard counterparts will receive a purchasing preference. In situations where the most environmentally preferable product is unavailable or impractical, secondary considerations will include production methods and the environmentally and socially responsible management practices of suppliers and producers. Environmentally preferable purchasing is part of our long-term commitment to the environment. By sending a clear signal to producers and suppliers about this commitment, we hope to support wider adoption of environmentally preferable products and practices.

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