The state of California seeks suppliers who are environmentally responsible. Offering products with environmental attributes is the first step in achieving sustainability. Suppliers can also demonstrate environmental responsibility by managing pollution, waste, water and energy in their operations. This guide provides insight on how the state views green products and businesses.

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


Environmental declarations offer transparency by providing measurable pieces of information about a product's impact on the environment as it moves through its life cycle. Declarations must be consistent with the Federal Trade Commission's Guidelines for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims.

Green Businesses

California values businesses that implement environmental management plans and practices to minimize their impact to the environment. Sustainability begins with evaluating current business practices – energy use, water use and waste management – and then setting goals to improve efficiency in these areas. Businesses that demonstrate significant achievement in meeting their goals may benefit through contracting opportunities.

Tips to Green Your Business:

  • Look to Federal, State and Local environmental programs for guidance
  • Track/Review energy use, water use, waste disposal and carbon footprint.
  • Set goals and execute activities to reduce environment impacts.
  • Document progress towards achieving goals.
  • Validate environmental practices and achievements through certification.
  • Partner with businesses that share similar commitments to protecting the environment.

References and Resources

Additional Information

Go to DGS PD's website to register your business with eProcurement, get certified as a California Certified Small Business or Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise and learn more about doing business with the state.

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

For all other environmentally preferable purchasing inquiries, email