WASHINGTON – Today, the Biden-Harris Administration finalized a rule that will use the Federal Government’s purchasing power to advance American manufacturing and build sustainable Federal supply chains. The Sustainable Products and Services procurement final rule modernizes existing Federal sustainable purchasing standards and directs the U.S. Government, as the world’s single largest purchaser, to prioritize the purchase of American-made sustainable products and services.

“For over 50 years, the Federal government has played a leading role in promoting innovation, creating jobs, reducing emissions, and shaping markets through its sustainable purchasing requirements,” said Christine Harada, Office of Federal Procurement Policy Senior Advisor. “We are proud to continue to be a global leader in sustainable purchasing, and meet President Biden’s ambition of net-zero emissions from Federal procurement by 2050.”

“President Biden has tasked Federal agencies with leading by example toward a more sustainable future, including by buying products that are safer for the environment and for communities,” said Brenda Mallory, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to support U.S. manufacturing and climate action, these new standards will help Federal agencies prioritize the purchase of sustainable products and services certified to EPA-recommended standards and ecolabels that create good-paying jobs right here at home.”

During the Biden-Harris Administration, Federal agencies have made significant progress to modernize Federal contracting, from putting new government-wide acquisition rules in place to increase domestic content of U.S.-made end products under the Build America, Buy America Act, to advancing diversity in the Federal marketplace through record spending with businesses in underserved communities.

“As the world’s largest buyer, we have a responsibility to lead by example and accelerate the move toward buying clean,” said Jason Miller, Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget. “As part of Biden-Harris administration’s whole-of-government approach to achieve a net-zero emissions economy, this rule demonstrates that Federal procurement is a catalyst for simultaneously promoting economy and efficiency, and environmental stewardship.”

Issued by the agencies of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, today’s rule strengthens existing sustainable products requirements by directing Federal buyers to maximize their use of sustainable products and services. It directs agencies to follow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing (the Recommendations) that were in effect as of October 2023, which identify over 40 recommended environmental standards and ecolabels across 34 product and service categories. EPA’s Recommendations help purchasers identify thousands of American-made products and services that address environmental and human health issues across the lifecycle including energy and water efficiency, chemicals of concern, plastic use and reduction, and more. EPA will continue to assess labels and standards for inclusion in its Recommendations with input from stakeholders and the public.

The final rule also requires federal agencies to procure water efficient and safer products certified by EPA’s WaterSense and Safer Choice Programs, and the Recommendations include analysis of criteria for perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals, known as “forever chemicals.”

“Under President Biden’s leadership, EPA is proud to implement this rule to reinforce our unwavering commitment to sustainability, American industry, and to protecting communities from pollution,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Through these enhanced purchasing standards, we are advancing the Administration’s environmental objectives while supporting U.S. manufacturing and generating significant economic benefits across the country. This rule is a testament to our collective dedication to using the power of Federal procurement to forge a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

Today’s action advances President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan, which set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions from Federal operations and procurement by 2050. The Federal Government spends more than $700 billion on products and services annually, and today more than a third of existing Federal contracts include sustainable product and service requirements. By increasing its purchase of sustainable products and services, the Biden-Harris Administration expects to reduce the emissions associated with the Federal supply chain, which are estimated to be more than twice as large as the emissions from operating the Federal Government’s buildings and vehicles combined.

“At GSA, we’ve seen firsthand how the federal government’s buying power can catalyze job creation and accelerate progress toward the clean energy future,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “Today’s action builds on the progress the Biden-Harris Administration has made to lead by example and realize the triple win of good jobs, taxpayer savings through reduced energy costs, and a healthier planet.”

From spurring the market for recycled paper in the 1970s to making ENERGY STAR a household name, the Federal Government has played a leading role for over 50 years in promoting innovation, creating jobs, reducing emissions, and shaping markets through its sustainable purchasing requirements. EPA estimates that in 2021 alone, the Federal Government saved taxpayers around $2 billion in current and future energy costs by purchasing over 43 million sustainable electronics products.

For more information about this final rule, see docket FAR-2022-0006 on Regulations.gov.


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