The Biden-Harris Administration announced this week a proposed Sustainable Products and Services procurement rule, part of President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan, which set a goal to achieve Net-Zero Emissions Procurement by 2050. The proposed rule includes modernizing existing sustainable purchasing standards to help ensure federal buyers—the world’s single largest purchaser—prioritize American-made sustainable products and services. ANSI encourages relevant stakeholders to provide responses by October 2 via the Federal Register.
The Sustainable Products and Services procurement rule, a proposal through the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council, strengthens existing sustainable products requirements by directing federal buyers “to purchase sustainable products and services to the maximum extent possible.”
The plan directs agencies to follow EPA’s Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing (Recommendations), which provides recommendations across 34 purchase categories for use of 40 standards and labels, including labels such as EPA’s ENERGY STAR, Safer Choice, and WaterSense programs. The proposal also protects public health by directing agencies to avoid the procurement of products containing perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals, known as “forever chemicals.”
In conjunction with the proposed rule action, the EPA announced the first five product and service categories chosen for an expansion of the Recommendations: healthcare, laboratories, professional services, food service ware, and uniforms and clothing. EPA anticipates announcing the standards and ecolabels that pass the assessment and will be included in the Recommendations later this year. Representatives of standards and ecolabels within any of these product and service categories who have not yet applied may contact EPA at email@example.com to request information on eligibility and how to participate.
The Agency also plans to consider additional product and service categories in the future, as resources allow.
“With the expansion of EPA’s Recommendations in these new product categories, federal buyers are further encouraged to make environmentally and health-conscious purchasing decisions,” said EPA administrator Michael Regan. “By catalyzing federal sustainable procurement, consumers benefit from goods and services that are safer for both their families and our planet. This proposed rule builds on other bold efforts by the Biden-Harris Administration to prioritize responsible, sustainable trade and reduce pollution at its source.”
The United Nations Environment Programme recently categorized the U.S. government’s implementation of sustainable public procurement policies and practices as ‘the highest possible status to achieve,’ noting that the United States is the only country ever to achieve this status, according to the White House.
The Sustainable Products and Services proposed procurement rule will be open for public comment until October 2 via Federal Register docket FAR-2022-0006 at www.regulations.gov.