Green Purchasing

The focus of this Region 8 web page is to aid Region 8’s Sustainability & Environmental Management System (SEMS) program. The GSA Green Purchasing Program began in 2000 and was originally titled the “Affirmative Procurement Program”. Over the past 70 years, traditional acquisition practices have shown to be unsustainable especially in continually shrinking budgets and more stringent disposal rules and regulations. Instead of purchasing materials based upon want, make purchasing decisions based upon needs after considering reuse options from previously existing materials. Current standards require that all new purchases must have a percentage of recycled content material in its manufacture and to consider materials that have a bio-based component as compared with current petroleum based products.

GSA has many resources to aid in Green Procurements and Acquisitions:

Sustainability and Environmental Management Program
Objectives All new applicable contracts, including non-exempt contract modifications, require products and services that are energy-efficient, water-efficient, bio-based, environmentally preferable, non-ozone depleting, contain recycled content, or are non-toxic or less-toxic alternatives.
Monitor green purchases
Establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the federal government and to reduce greenhouse gases
Set acquisition-related goals for purchasing green products
Targets 95 percent of all new applicable contracts, require green products and services

Federal, State, and Local Policy and Regulations

Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade [External Link]

EO 13693 Revokes:

  • EO 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management; EO 13423 replaced EO 13101, EO 13123, EO 13149 and EO 13221
  • EO 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, summary of EO 13693, acquisitions: For agencies to promote sustainable acquisition and procurement by ensuring that each of the following environmental performance and sustainability factors are included to the maximum extent practicable for all applicable procurements in the planning, award, and execution phases of the acquisition [External Link]:

  • Purchasing preference for recycle content products designated by EPA;
  • Purchasing preference for energy and water efficient products and services, such as ENERGY STAR qualified and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)-designated products, identified by EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE);
  • Purchasing preference for BioPreferred and biobased designated products designated by the United States Department of Agriculture;
  • Purchasing sustainable products and services identified by EPA programs including:
    • Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) chemicals or other alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons, where feasible, as identified by SNAP [External Link];
    • WaterSense certified products and services (water efficient products) [External Link];
    • Safer Choice labeled products (chemically intensive products that contain safer ingredients) [External Link]; and
    • SmartWay Transport partners and SmartWay products (fuel efficient products and services) [External Link];
  • Purchasing environmentally preferable products or services that:
    • Meet or exceed specifications, standards, or labels recommended by EPA that have been determined to assist agencies in meeting their needs and further advance sustainable procurement goals of EO 13693; or
    • Meet environmental performance criteria developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies consistent with section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Public Law 104–113) and OMB Circular A–119;
  • Reducing copier and printing paper use and acquiring uncoated printing and writing paper containing at least 30 percent postconsumer recycled content or higher.

Non-ozone depleting substances; overview of the Clean Air Act [External Link]

Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005; Alternative fuels [External Link]

Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, Section 9002 (Bio-based) [External Link]

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 23: Environment, Energy and Water Efficiency, Renewable Energy Technologies, Occupational Safety, and Drug-Free Workplace [External Link]

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Section 6002 (Recycled Content) [External Link]

Additional Resources

  • GSA Advantage!®, environmentally preferable products and GSA Global Supply
  • EPA has published Lists of Substitutes for Ozone-Depleting Substances in multiple categories including refrigeration and air conditioning, solvents cleaning, foam blowing, fire suppression and explosion protection, and aerosols. [External Link]
  • EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines - designate recycled content items and recommend purchasing practices for agencies using federal funds. Provides product information, supplier lists and case studies. A wealth of information is available for construction, landscaping, paperless office, paper, park and recreation, transportation, and miscellaneous products. [External Link]
  • Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Resource - access general purchasing information for various products and services. [External Link]
  • Green Seal (non-government website) - provides science-based environmental certification standards that are credible, transparent, and essential in an increasingly educated and competitive marketplace. [External Link]


File Name Format Size Date Revised
Green Purchasing PDF 395KB 07/06/2012


Last Reviewed 2016-01-05