2018 Responsible Purchasing Review
In This Issue
Sustainable Procurement Through the Public & Private Sector Lens
Exploring Approaches
to Leadership 

February 21, 2019
9-10 am PST ~ 12-1 EST

Hosted by the Green Electronics Council

The webinar brings together professionals from the public and private sectors to share their unique sector-specific experience in advancing sustainable purchasing in their organizations and beyond.

During this webinar, Angela Shell, Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for the California Department of General Services (DGS), and Yalmaz Siddiqui, VP of Corporate Sustainability for MGM Resorts, will talk about sustainable procurement within their organizations. They will also discuss how different motives and structures of authority unique to the public and private sector inform their respective approaches to leadership.
Panelists will answer questions such as:

1) What role does leadership play in promoting sustainability
in your organization and what levers of power do you use to promote sustainability?

2) Who are your stakeholders and how do you gain influence and buy-in for sustainability? 

3) How do you motivate and inspire? How might tactics change based on your stakeholder group?

4) What can you learn from one another?
Miss one of our webinars?
Tune in anytime! 

See descriptions
and links below.

More RPN webinar slides
and recordings available at

Sustainable Purchasing
A Tale of Two Cities
December 4, 2018

A sustainable purchasing policy can be an important foundation for a successful sustainable purchasing program. But developing a sustainable purchasing policy is not a one-size-fits-all process. Learn about two very different approaches to creating and securing adoption of a sustainable purchasing policy.

Stacey Foreman, Sustainable Procurement Coordinator for Portland, OR described how her city updated its Sustainable Purchasing Policy, which received a major overhaul last year. 

Karl Bruskotter described Santa Monica CA's new internal purchasing policy directing City staff to follow detailed green purchasing guidance outlined in a series of Green Purchasing Easy Guides.

Alicia Culver, RPN's Executive Director summarized key elements of a "Sustainable Purchasing Policy
Template" RPN created in 2018, working with several cities that are members of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN). 

Find these and other sustainable purchasing policies on RPN's website. 
Sustainable Paper Procurement 
New Tools and
Strategies for Success
May 9, 2018

Learn why purchasing environmentally preferable paper remains a cornerstone of a green purchasing program. 

Hear how the City of Palo Alto and Alameda County, CA achieved measurable environmental benefits and cost savings by implementing paper reduction and sustainable paper procurement initiatives.
Take a tour of the Environmental Paper Network's updated Paper Calculator (Version 4.0). This publicly available web-based tool enables users to quickly compare the environmental impacts (e.g., energy and water use, trees cut, GHG emissions, etc.) of different paper choices using a science-based methodology grounded in
life cycle assessment (LCA).
Need help building your sustainable purchasing program?

Our technical team can help you develop a policy and action plan, design your program and outreach strategy, develop environmental specifications and bid documents, and track your results!
Trying to find environmentally preferable snow melt products?
Look for sodium 
products on
these lists:

Trump Executive Order Scales Back Federal Government's Sustainable Acquisition Program
In  May 2018, President Trump signed Executive Order 13834, Regarding Efficient Federal Operations , which directs federal agencies to "manage their [350,000] buildings, [600,000] vehicles and overall operations to optimize energy and environmental performance, reduce waste, and cut costs". The EO "emphasizes meeting statutory requirements and gives greater flexibility and discretion to agencies to decide how to best improve operations and meet goals." Consequently, the federal government will focus largely on legally-mandated energy-efficiency, building performance and recycled-content requirements. Many of these laws are decades old and include targets only for prior years. Moreover, there is no mention in the EO of broader sustainability goals such as protecting worker health and safety.

EO 13834 replaces former President  Obama's EO: Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, which set much more aggressive sustainability goals (e.g., a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 25% renewable energy use by 2025) and included specific actions federal agencies could take to achieve those goals.

While Obama's sustainable procurement EO also directed federal agencies to follow statutory mandates that give preference for products that are energy-efficient or made of recycled or biobased content, it also encouraged them to "lead by example" and foster innovation in the marketplace by purchasing sustainable products and services that are certified by EPA Programs (e.g., Safer Choice, WaterSense, SNAP and Smartway Transport) or that have earned credible third-party ecolabels recommended by EPA (e.g., Green Seal, UL EcoLogo or EPEAT).

Trump's EO 13834 and related implementing guidance documents are maintained by the Office of Federal Sustainability at  www.sustainability.gov/resources-eo-efo.html. 

Coincidentally, at its May 2018 Annual Summit, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) gave its Individual Leadership Award to two Senior Advisors to the US EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program: Alison Kinn Bennett and Holly Elwood.  Both have been strong internal champions for -- and architects of -- the federal government's maturing sustainable purchasing program, which has become more effective and far-reaching over the past several years.

For example, they effectively managed a challenging three-year multi-stakeholder process involving over 100 organizations to develop a recommended list of credible standards, ecolabels, and certifications for federal employees. They also worked to integrate these recommendations into several federal procurement systems, including, notably, GSA Advantage!
More Cities Adopt
New Sustainable Purchasing Policies
Last year, RPN teamed up with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) to help several cities draft new or updated sustainable purchasing policies. The USDN Sustainable Procurement Collective Action Group engaged over 20 municipalities in monthly calls and drafted a model Sustainable Purchasing Policy Template.

While many of the participating jurisdictions are still drafting or debating their sustainable purchasing policies, a few made it over the finish line in 2018:
  • Ann Arbor, MI adopted an Environmentally Preferable Procurement Policy in April 2018 that directs City staff to acquire goods and services in a manner that integrates fiscal responsibility and environmental stewardship; identifies environmental factors to be considered in product and service acquisitions; directs the City to use the most stringent third-party certifications, where applicable; outlines roles and responsibilities of City staff; and promotes the use of best practices.
  • Austin, TX's Purchasing Office adopted an internal Sustainable Procurement Policy in 2018 that directs the City to track sustainable attributes in contracts; use best practices; incorporate independent, third-party social and environmental certifications when writing specifications or procuring products and services; and take protective measures when evaluating products and services that could harm human health or the environment. The policy also provides standards, specifications, and language to incorporate into specification documents.

  • Portland, OR went through an intensive process to update its Sustainable Procurement Policy in 2018. Portland's new policy consolidates the City's many sustainable procurement-related policies, expands metrics and reporting, provides additional decision-making direction to employees, and sets the foundation to be strategic in both its activities and communications.

  • Santa Monica, CA addressed "Sustainable Procurement" in a that was adopted in June 2018. This policy directs City staff to follow detailed green purchasing guidance outlined in a series of Green Purchasing Easy Guides. Easy Guides are short publications that describe the environmental and health benefits of specific sustainable products and services, describe applicable third-party certifications, and include bid specifications for city employees to use when making their purchasing decisions.
Is your jurisdiction or organization ready to adopt a new sustainable purchasing policy (or refresh your old one)?
We can help! Check out the Policies section of the RPN website and the RPN-USDN Sustainable Purchasing Playbook for Cities Or email us for a copy of our new Sustainable Purchasing Policy Template at [email protected] .
Cities Charge Ahead With New Renewable Energy Purchasing Policies & Contracts
In December 2018,  Philadelphia, PA inked an off-site power purchase agreement (PPA) with a company that is building a 70 MW solar farm, which will generate over 20% of the electricity the City will need to power its government buildings starting in 2020. This two-year project is expected to stabilize the City's electricity costs -- and save the City money -- over the next 20 years.

"Philadelphia wants to lead by example in procuring renewable energy, which will reduce regional carbon emissions to help meet our climate goals and create regional job growth in the renewable energy sector," said Mayor Jim Kenney. 

For more information, including the  Request for Proposals (RFP)   that was developed for this clean energy Iinitiative, go to www.philaenergy.org/city-ppa-renewable-energy/. 

Also, in 2018,  Minneapolis, MN passed a resolution that set goals to move to 100% renewable electricity for the City's facilities and operations by 2022 and citywide by 2030.  This is an integral part of the Minneapolis' aggressive goal to reduce its carbon emissions 80% by 2050.

"This resolution represents a strong statement of our values and our leadership," said Council Member Jeremy Schroeder, co-author of the resolution. "Especially as the federal government undermines sustainability, and amid uncertainty at the State Capitol, we as a City need to hold ourselves accountable to building a future that reflects our commitment to a cleaner, greener future for everyone in Minneapolis."

Other cities with 100% renewable energy commitments include Atlanta, GA; Boulder, CO; Orlando, FL; Madison, WI; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT, San Diego, CA; San  Francisco, CA;  St. Louis, MO; and others.
States Adopt Green Specs to Move
Sustainable Purchasing Forward
During 2018, New York State approved "green" specifications for several commodity and service categories. One much-awaited set of specifications that were finalized last year, with technical support from RPN, is for  Food Service Containers and Wrappers. This guidance document e ncourages the purchase of reusable food service containers and establishes minimum specifications for single-use food service containers and wrappers.

According to NYS Office of General Services (OGS),  "The specification establishes a hierarchy of environmentally desirable attributes as follows: reusable; compostable in a commercial or municipal facility; easily recyclable; and made with a minimum percentage of post-consumer recycled content or sustainably harvested content. In addition, all covered products purchased by affected entities, offered by preferred sources, or on State contract shall not contain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) ... or polystyrene."
Since its Green Purchasing EO was issued a decade ago, New York State has adopted  50 green specifications in five categories:  Electronics & Appliances, Transportation,  Office & Building Operatio ns,  Food Service, and Packaging.

Furthermore, under a Sustainable Procurement Technical Assistance Grant from the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), RPN helped NYS OGS develop new tentative specifications for adhesives, janitorial paper, lubricants, paint, trash bags, and deicing products that the State is expecting to finalize in the coming year.
Two other states, Oregon and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, inserted environmental specifications and other related contract requirements into their Participating Agreements (PAs) with multiple facility maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) suppliers, including Grainger, Fastenal and MSC. The Master Agreement for this multi-state, cooperative Facility MRO contract was negotiated for the NASPO ValuePoint Cooperative Purchasing Organization, with Oregon as the "lead state".

Both States' Participating Agreements (PAs) went beyond the Master Agreement's "green" product labeling and reporting requirements by establishing category-specific environmental and health specifications. For example, motors and HVAC equipment offered to both Massachusetts and Oregon contract users must be certified as "Premium Efficiency" products; paints and coatings must have an acceptable low-toxicity certification; and toilets and faucets must be meet water efficiency standards.

The Model Facility MRO PA, which RPN helped to draft, also set standards for LED and fluorescent lamps and fixtures while restricting less-efficient types of lighting equipment. 

In addition,  Oregon's  Participating Agreement (PA)  
restricted the sale of paint removers containing methylene chloride (which has been linked to  dozens of deaths)  or n-methyl pyrrolidone (a reproductive toxin). Massachusetts' Toxics Use Reduction Committee is considering similar restrictions on these chemicals of concern.

Both states' Participating Agreements call on Facility MRO vendors to provide a robust offering of items with important environmental attributes. This includes products that are free of PVC (vinyl), compliant with the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, solar-powered, certified low-emitting, and more.