For Immediate Release - October 28, 2009


Executive Order requires state agencies to purchase Environmentally Preferable Products and services, reducing the impact of state operations on natural resources and public health

BOSTON - Governor Deval Patrick today signed an Executive Order today directing all state agencies to procure goods and services that conserve natural resources, reduce waste, protect public health and the environment, and promote the use of clean technologies, recycled materials, and less toxic products. By purchasing Environmentally Preferable Products, Commonwealth agencies will reduce the environmental impact of state operations and use the state's purchasing power to encourage manufacturers and service providers to adopt high environmental standards into their products and operations.

Executive Order 515, which establishes an Environmental Purchasing Policy, follows on Governor Patrick's Executive Order 484 "Leading By Example - Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings," which requires state agencies to reduce their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The Leading By Example Program of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs worked with the Executive Office of Administration and Finance's Operational Services Division to develop the Environmental Purchasing Policy.

"The Commonwealth has an obligation to lead by example," said Governor Patrick. "We are already leading on energy conservation and renewable energy. Now, our state agencies will set the pace for buying environmentally sound products and services from suppliers and vendors."

The Commonwealth purchases an estimated $600 million of goods and non-construction services per year, which result in environmental and public health impacts related to the production, transport, use, and disposal of these products and services. This new policy requires all Commonwealth Executive Departments to reduce their impact on the environment and enhance public health by procuring Environmentally Preferable Products and services (EPPs) whenever such products and services are readily available, perform to satisfactory standards, and represent best value to the Commonwealth. Environmentally Preferable Products include products and services that: contain recycled materials; conserve energy or water; minimize waste; are less toxic and hazardous; reduce the generation, release, or disposal of toxic substances; protect open space; and/or otherwise lessen the impact of such products or services on public health and the environment.

"The Commonwealth makes a statement with every product and service it buys," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. "Now that statement will be: we want products that are less toxic, products that meet high efficiency standards, products that can be recycled, and products that contain recycled content. And we hope others follow our lead."

In addition to reducing the environmental and health-related impacts of the Commonwealth's consumption of these products, this policy will lower life-cycle costs, promote local economic development of these industries, and serve as a model for businesses, institutions, and individual residents.

"At a time when all governments are committed to operate as efficiently as possible, cooperating on procurements such as this makes dollars and sense," said Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez. "Aggregating the purchasing power within a multi-state region enables state governments to promote purchases on a broader scale that represent a lesser impact to the environment and public health while obtaining the best value and pricing for all involved."

The Commonwealth's central procurement office, the Operational Services Division, and its Environmentally Preferable Products Procurement Program have already made progress in integrating environmental and sustainability considerations into the many statewide contracts used by Commonwealth agencies to procure the majority of products and services, and is also used by many other eligible public entities. With passage of this Executive Order, the Commonwealth will significantly reduce the impact its purchases have on the Commonwealth's natural resources and public health.

"We applaud the Governor for taking these groundbreaking steps to eliminate toxic chemicals from the state's buildings. This Executive Order will go a long way toward protecting workers and the public from exposure to products that can cause asthma and health ailments," said Tolle Graham, an occupational health coordinator at Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH ).

"The Executive Order solidifies Massachusetts' leadership position in the green purchasing field while building an even stronger foundation for future market-based environmental improvements," said Scot Case, Executive Director of the EcoLogo Program, an environmental standard setting and certification organization.

"With this new Executive Order on green purchasing, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has once again demonstrated its leadership in the field and shown its commitment to promoting more sustainable practices in its own governance," said Arthur B. Weissman, Ph.D., President and CEO, Green Seal, Inc., a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that identifies consumer and institutional products and services that protect the environment and human health.

Today's announcement came as the Commonwealth's annual Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) Vendor Fair and Conference was under way at the DCU Center in Worcester. This event brings together over 1,300 federal, state and local procurement officials, fleet and facility managers, and environmental staff for a day filled with information on EPPs and sustainable practices. The event features 160 exhibitors of EPPs and a slate of educational workshops.

This new executive order comes soon after the creation of a new multi-state contract for Green Cleaning Products and Programs, the largest public cooperative undertaking to date to expand the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products in public facilities across several New England states. This innovative contract developed by OSD offers Massachusetts public entities competitive pricing by aggregating the purchasing volume from the participating states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, while reaching out to local distributors and manufacturers of all sizes throughout the region.

While implementing the use of green cleaning products and practices promises to save money for the Commonwealth, the greater benefits and innovations of this contract include stimulating local economies throughout the five-state region, enabling several states to comply with recent executive and legislative mandates and obtaining a wide selection of the greenest and top performing cleaning products by requiring third-party certified chemicals, which are better for public health and the environment. This contract will also provide technical assistance to agencies, schools and other public purchasers to assist in their transition to green products by awarding contracts to companies that offer sophisticated training programs and tools to effect and monitor these changes.

Unlike multi-state procurements that focus on national corporations, this contract was awarded to 18 businesses, mostly local suppliers, which have the ability to provide a wide variety of green third-party certified products. The ability to purchase cleaning products, equipment, and supplies from multiple manufacturers using one statewide contract also serves to consolidate deliveries, which in turn reduces packaging waste, material costs and lowers fuel emissions that contribute to greenhouse gases. Equally important, awarding the contract to local companies creates an opportunity to strengthen local networks and enhance competition, both of which work toward increasing economic growth while lowering product cost.

Commonwealth agencies, municipal departments, schools and other contract users that typically purchase a wide variety of cleaning chemicals, equipment, and supplies will benefit from this contract. The green cleaning programs offered by these vendors involve the use of chemicals that are safer for product users and the general public and have reduced impact on the environment. Most of the training and education offered by vendors to both custodial staff and occupants on sound sanitation practices and solid waste management are available from contractors at no additional charge.