Logo to buying green with arrown in teh middle

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) is the procurement of goods and services that have a reduced impact on human health and the environment as compared to other goods and services serving the same purpose  (Public Contract Code §12400-12404).  In simple terms, EPP means “buying green.”  The law also states that the Department of General Services (DGS) is to provide state agencies with information and assistance regarding EPP. In response, DGS developed a best practices manual - the Buying Green Guide. This guide provides information, tools, and tips for buyers and provides insight to suppliers on how the state views green products and businesses.

Buyers should strive to procure goods and services that protect human health and the environment. The state of California seeks suppliers who are environmentally responsible and that can offer products with environmental attributes. Suppliers can also demonstrate environmental responsibility by managing pollution, waste, water, and energy in their operations. This guide provides insight into how the state views green products and businesses.


Click on the link below to access updates on contracts, events and policies supported by DGS geared for procurement professionals, suppliers, State and local government agencies in meeting their EPP goals.

The Department of General Services (DGS), Procurement Division, has developed new Environmentally Preferable Purchasing training for state employees. Buyers will learn how to identify goods and services that are environmentally preferable when purchasing on behalf of their department. We invite you use what you learn in this training to improve your own procurement processes and guidance over time.

Ready to take action: Training for Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) of good and services within state procurement.

The DGS Third-Party Environmental Certification Matrix is developed by the Department of General Services Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program to assist state departments with purchasing environmentally preferable commodities. This matrix identifies applicable certifications, by commodity, that can be incorporated into your procurement to ensure that it is “green” and will meet the state’s EPP goals.

Third-Party Environmental Certification Matrix

DGS purchasing standards provide the minimum criteria products must meet to be considered environmentally preferable, aka "green" by the state of California. The standards below establish a mechanism for incorporating performance and environmental requirements that meet the state's environmental and sustainability goals. The standards can be included into your department's procurement policy. Please click on the links below to view each standard.

DGS 47131800 Janitorial Cleaners Purchasing Standard

DGS 14111700 Janitorial Paper Products Purchasing Standard 

DGS 39101628 LED Lamps Purchasing Standard

DGS 39111500 Office Desk Lamps Purchasing Standard

DGS 44120000 Office Paper Products Purchasing Standard

DGS 56112100 Seating Purchasing Standard

DGS 52161505 Televisions Purchasing Standard

Departments are to purchase and use environmentally preferable goods and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing goods that serve the same purpose, whenever applicable, perform well, and are cost effective.

The EPP FI$Cal Job Aids are a comprehensive “how-to” that provide detailed instructions on how to apply EPP to purchase(s), and consists of the following documents:

What is Environmentally Preferable Purchasing?

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, also known as EPP, is the procurement of goods and services that have a reduced impact on human health and the environment as compared to other goods and services serving the same purpose (Public Contract Code §12400-12404). Simply stated it means “Buying Green.

What are environmentally preferable products?

EPP products cause less harm to humans and the environment than competing goods that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider different phases of a product’s lifecycle, such as: raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance or disposal.   

How does the state of California buy green?
The state buys green by incorporating EPP specifications into our bid solicitations.  EPP specifications are technical and administrative requirements that prescribe the desired positive environmental attributes of a product. The law provides the foundation for developing EPP specifications.  Positive environmental attributes include energy efficiency, natural resource conservation, waste reduction, and reduced toxicity.

How are EPP products and services verified?

During the bid evaluation process EPP Procurement Engineers verify that products meet the minimum EPP specifications incorporated in the solicitation. Compliance may be verified through a qualified and available means that is applicable to that product specification, such as, but not limited to: third-party certifications, certification databases and publicly available supporting documentation.

Where can I find green contracts and products?

The Buying Green website is the gateway to the state’s EPP contracts. The sidebar menu on the Buying Green- Buyers website leads state agency buyers to specific products that may be purchased through the state's EPP contracts. Upon selection of a product, you’ll find not only contracts containing the green products which can be accessed by clicking “Buy Green Now”, but the page includes the specifications, laws, regulations, policies, certifications and standards used to green the contract. You’ll also find buying tips, resources and references relevant to that specific product, to further assist your contract purchase.

Is there a list of state contracts that identifies green contracts?

The State Contract Index List is just that. It is a list of State of California contracts with pertinent information, such as if the contract is mandatory for state agencies, open to local governments, Green, SABRC compliant, and more. The hyperlink in the “Green” column goes directly to the commodity page on the Buying Green website so you can easily identify the contract’s green characteristics. 

How can I sell my product or service to the state?

First let us take the opportunity to express our appreciation for your interest.  Based on Public Contract Code §12400-12404  (PCC), the EPP program focuses on the procurement of goods and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing goods or services that serve the same purpose.

The EPP program provides input to the purchasing process. However, the program does not generate the initial “need” to purchase products; that comes from our customers, state agencies.  EPP staff works with our customers to ensure their needs and the intent of the PCC are fulfilled.

To learn more about the Department of General Services Procurement Division and how to do business with the state.

Can I list my product or service on the Buying Green website or an environmentally preferable product list?
The EPP program does not endorse or maintain a list of environmentally preferable products or services. As a means of listing your environmentally preferable product or service seek the qualification of a third-party environmental certification.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program

Department of General Services
Procurement Division

707 Third Street, Second Floor
West Sacramento, California 95605
Email: buygreen@dgs.ca.gov