The Biden administration is trying to deepen sustainability efforts in federal procurement through a new rule proposed earlier in August.
The Sustainable Products and Services procurement rule, a proposal through the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council, aims to strengthen “existing sustainable products requirements by directing Federal buyers to purchase sustainable products and services to the maximum extent possible,” the White House said in a press release.
The proposed rule covers the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and NASA. It would restructure and streamline sustainable procurement rules currently in place, in part by consolidating purchasing program requirements and dedicating past procurement rules to environmental focuses.
Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a statement that the rule “will boost Federal agency purchases of Environmental Protection Agency-recommended green products and services while creating well-paying jobs and investing in American manufacturing.”
The proposal also directs government agencies to avoid the procurement of products containing PFAS, an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as “forever chemicals.”
The EPA-recommended products the new procurement rule focuses on span 34 purchasing categories and include 40 standards and labels, among them the EPA’s Energy Star, Safer Choice and WaterSense programs.
At the same time as the federal procurement proposal was announced, the EPA said it was expanding its lists of recommended products for government procurement beginning with a handful of categories, including healthcare, laboratories, professional services and uniforms.
“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,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.