New draft guidelines address key characteristics of environmental standards and eco labels
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing draft guidelines that will help the federal government buy greener and safer products. In response to broad stakeholder interest, EPA 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,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The government buys everything from furniture to lighting to cleaning products. These guidelines will make it easier for federal purchasers to meet the existing goal of 95% sustainable purchases while spurring consumers and the private sector to use and demand safer and greener products.”
The draft guidelines were developed by EPA, the General Services Administration and others following several listening 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. The draft guidelines were designed to assist federal purchasing decision makers in more consistently using existing non-governmental product environmental performance standards and ecolabels.
The draft guidelines 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 were developed to be flexible enough to be applied to standards and ecolabels in a broad range of product categories.