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#WorldEnvironmentDay: What is San Francisco’s green procurement policy?

#WorldEnvironmentDay: What is San Francisco’s green procurement policy?

As the world gears up to celebrate World Environment Day 🌱, the city of San Francisco stands proudly as a pioneer in the realm of green procurement. With its unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability, the city has emerged as a shining example of how government agencies can lead the way in reducing their carbon footprint and promoting eco-friendly practices.  In this blog post, we will share what green procurement is, and how San Francisco is making relevant strides to advance its green procurement policy.

In 1972, the United Nations established June 5th as  World Environment Day, a global platform to raise awareness about pressing environmental issues and inspire collective action towards a sustainable future, engaging governments, organizations, communities, and individuals worldwide to reflect on the state of our planet and take concrete steps towards its conservation. 

The theme for World Environment Day changes annually, shedding light on specific environmental concerns and encouraging focused efforts to address them. This year’s theme focuses on solutions to plastic pollution through the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution. The purpose is to create awareness that 400 billion tonnes of plastic is produced every year but half of it is designed to be used only once.

This day provides a unique opportunity to spotlight the importance of green procurement as a powerful tool for environmental conservation. Green procurement, also known as sustainable procurement, green purchasing or eco-procurement, focuses on incorporating environmental considerations into the purchasing process, ensuring that goods and services are sourced in a manner that minimizes negative impacts on the environment. By prioritizing sustainable materials, energy-efficient products, and environmentally friendly production methods, green procurement aims to reduce resource consumption, mitigate pollution, and promote the transition towards a more circular and sustainable economy.

San Francisco's visionary approach to procurement not only prioritizes cost-effectiveness but also places immense emphasis on the long-term well-being of the planet. From renewable energy sources to sustainable materials, the city's procurement initiatives are revolutionizing the way government agencies acquire goods and services. The Environment Department aims to allocate a minimum of 90% of its purchasing budget towards compliant products in the specified product areas, considering that “green products are less toxic, more energy efficient, more recyclable and/or compostable, have higher levels of recycled content, and have less impact on climate change than comparable alternative products.” 

San Francisco has implemented five noteworthy green procurement initiatives:

🌱 Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Ordinance: The city has established an EPP Ordinance, based on the first chapter of its Environment Code, outlining specific environmental criteria for purchasing goods and services. The EEP encourages the procurement of products that are energy-efficient, made from recycled materials, non-toxic, and have a minimal impact on the environment. 

🌱 Compliant Product Lists: The Environment Department maintains a list of compliant products within designated product areas. These lists help guide procurement decisions and ensure that purchases align with sustainability standards. 

🌱 Green Labels and Certifications: The government encourages the use of eco-labels and certifications for sustainable products. They provide guidance to purchasers by identifying products that meet specific environmental criteria, such as Energy Star for energy-efficient appliances or FSC certification for sustainably sourced wood products.

🌱 Green Business Program: The Green Business Program, member of the California Green Business Network and administered by the Environment Department, certifies local businesses that meet specific sustainability criteria, encouraging businesses to adopt environmentally friendly practices in their operations, including green procurement decisions.

🌱 Buy Green Policy: The Buy Green policy requires government agencies to buy green commodities, applying this to any kind of purchase, including citywide term contracts, departmental “Prop Q” purchases, and services. The Environment Department collaborates with other government agencies to prioritize targeted categories of products and create lists of green products and green purchasing specifications.

For these reasons, on World Environment Day, we aim to emphasize the significance of green procurement. It seeks to recognize items that have a reduced impact on human well-being and the ecosystem in contrast to conventional products, including safeguarding the environment by minimizing pollution generated throughout the manufacturing, usage, and disposal processes, as well as providing cost savings. 

It is worth noting that governments hold the distinction of being the largest consumers globally. Therefore, any government environmental initiatives, such as the adoption of green procurement policies, have a significant influence on the environment. 

Through their purchases, governments can make substantial contributions to the well-being of the environment.

#GreenProcurement #WorldEnvironmentDay 🌱


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