Engagement in Environmental Performance Standards Development
EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program participates in the development and update of several private sector environmental performance standards for products and services, also known as “sustainability standards,” that address key federal purchase categories. The EPP program advocates and provides technical support for the inclusion of strong environmental performance criteria in sustainability standards that consider impacts across the lifecycle of a product or service. The EPP program's engagement ranges from initiating standards development efforts, coordinating U.S. government input into standards, voting on standards, providing comments, to acting as an observer of a standards development effort.
In addition, the EPP program uses the Framework for the Assessment of Environmental Performance Standards and Ecolabels to evaluate standards that are included in the Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing which help federal purchasers identify and procure environmentally preferable products and services.
The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119 direct the federal government to participate in the development of private sector standards and utilize them to meet federal policy and procurement objectives. For more information, including case studies, visit EPA’s Voluntary Consensus Standards website.
Examples of sustainability criteria the EPP Program has helped shape include those that incentivize:
- Renewable energy use and energy efficiency in supply chains
- Lower global warming potential of process chemicals
- Greener transport/shipping
- Full chemical ingredient inventory and disclosure
- Chemical alternatives assessment
- Selection of safer alternatives
- Elimination or reduction of chemicals of concern:
- Residing in the product (e.g., PFAS, flame retardants, plasticizers)
- Used during manufacturing (e.g., cleaning solvents)
- Recycling and reuse of critical minerals
- Reducing/eliminating single use plastics
- Design for ease of refurbishment and reuse
- Protecting communities that experience disproportionately adverse human health and environmental impacts by increasing supply of and demand for sustainable products and services.
If you’d like to inform EPA of a sustainability standard development activity that could benefit from EPA technical input, email the EPP Program (firstname.lastname@example.org).