Buyers should strive to procure goods and services that protect human health and the environment.

Laws and Regulations

The DGS EPP program is governed by California Laws, which are typically found in California codes. Laws are implemented through regulations, which are published in the California Code of Regulations (CCR). Policies are basic principles or objectives by which government is guided. The Federal government has laws and regulations and policies that may impact buyers as well.

The most commonly referenced laws and regulations include:

California Law

California Public Contract Code (PCC)

  • Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (sections 12400-12404)
  • State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign (SABRC) (sections 12153 et seq.)

California Public Resource Code (PRC)

  • Energy Conservation and Development (Div. 15)
  • Products Containing Toxic Metals (Div. 12.2)
  • Waste Management (Div. 30)

California Health and Safety Code (HSC)

  • California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Div. 25.5)
  • California Clean Air Act (Div. 26)
  • Hazardous Waste Control Law (Div. 20, Chapter 6.5)

California Regulations

California Code of Regulations (CCR) 

  • Title 8, Industrial Relations
  • Title 13, Motor Vehicles
  • Title 17, Public Health
  • Title 20, Public Utilities and Energy
  • Title 22, Social Security, Hazardous waste
  • Title 24, Building Standards Code
    • Part 6, Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings
    • Part 11, CALGreen Code

Federal Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

  • Title 40, Protection of the Environment
  • Title 47, Telecommunication 
  • Title 49, Transportation

Policy and Guidance

The State of California, Department of General Services, Procurement Division (DGS PD) is responsible for the implementation of EPP (PCC, sections 12400-12404). It is this law that sets the framework for EPP policies and guidance.

The most commonly referenced policy and guidance include:

  • State Administrative Manual (SAM)
  • California State Contracting Manuals (SCM) Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3
  • California Executive Orders (EO)
  • California Department of General Services Management Memo (MM)
  • California Technology Agency (formerly California Office of the State Chief Information Officer) Information Technology Policy Letter (ITPL)

Specifications and Certifications

We “green” our purchases by incorporating EPP specifications into our bid solicitations. EPP specifications are technical and administrative requirements that prescribe the desirable product attributes in five major areas of environmental impacts which include water quality, air quality, toxicity, energy efficiency and resource conservation.   The law provides the foundation for developing EPP specifications. The EPP program developed these five major areas based on the California Environmental Quality Act guidelines, executive orders, other policies and standards from other government agencies and technical organizations.  For most instances, specific environmental impacts can be categorized under these five areas.

EPP specifications are primarily used to specify product attributes that leads to reduced environmental impacts resulting from the product’s use and end-of-life management. Some EPP specifications are also used to set requirements that lead to reduced impacts resulting from the supply chain of the products. Through research of available literature, EPP can identify potential environmental and public health impacts associated with a commodity. Once impacts are identified, an assessment can be performed to focus on reducing negative impacts through the development of bid specifications. Similar to other technical specifications, impact-driven bid specifications must be measurable and verifiable.

We want to have confidence that the products we buy meet our specifications. One way is to require bidders, by signing their bid package, attest to compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines for environmental marketing claims. Under these guidelines, the FTC has the right to prosecute false and misleading advertisement claims. Another method for gaining product confidence is by requesting product certification.

Worldwide, there are over 300 environmental certification and ecolabeling programs. It is challenging to decide what certification to use. The State first chooses certifications that are recognized by the US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - LEED®. Examples of commonly used certifications include:

  • EcoLogo®
  • Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool - EPEAT®
  • Energy Star®
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)®
  • Green SealTM

Striving for Best Value

The State looks for suppliers who can meet performance and environmental requirements and overall offer best value. Optimizing environmentally preferred purchases requires balancing environmental specifications with cost, performance, and market competitiveness. The protection of human health and the environment, not just price alone, can factor into a contract award. Two procurement methods are typically used to achieve environmentally preferable purchasing goals: Invitation for Bid (IFB) and Request for Proposal (RFP). When there are fewer competitors, we can use scoring methodologies to achieve best value.

References and Resources

Additional Information

The DGS EPP program delivers cost-effective procurement solutions that reduce the State's environmental footprint through EPP. Additionally, it assists state agencies in enhancing their EPP efforts through training, support and the Buying Green Guide

Visit the Buying Green Frequently Asked Questions for answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Download the EPP Buyers Guide brochure.

Procurement engineers are available to help you learn how to green you purchase. Email the EPP team to schedule a meeting, training, phone consultation, or to just ask a question.