Institutional Purchasers of Greener Products and Services
On this page:
- Making a difference
- Considering the full array of impacts
- Evaluating environmental marketing claims
- Using ecolabels and standards
- Other resources
By purchasing greener products and services, you will be joining many organizations across the globe that are helping improve human health and the environment. By leveraging your buying power, you will help stimulate market demand for and increase availability of greener products and services for all purchasers.
Human health and environmental impacts associated with the products and services and their associated supply chains may include:
- Exposures to chemicals of concern
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Climate change
- Stratospheric ozone depletion
- Natural resource use (e.g., energy, water, materials)
- Waste disposal
- Ecosystem damages
It is important to consider these impacts over a product's entire life cycle through:
- Sourcing of raw materials
- Use of the product
- Management of the product when it is no longer needed – through reuse, repair, or safe recycling and/or disposal.
Different purchase categories have different human health or environmental "hotspots" of concern. For example, formulated products, such as those used in cleaning and personal care, have a high potential for direct human and environmental exposures, hence the toxicity of the formulated product is of paramount importance.
Alternatively, water usage may be the primary concern for lavatory fittings. In these cases, standards that focus on the hotspots of concern may be most appropriate.
Look for products and services verified as meeting product standards or ecolabels that:
- Cover the key hotspots for that product or service.
- Cover the life cycle of that product or service.
- Were issued or supported by organizations widely respected and trusted.
- Are managed or recommended by EPA.
For claims not verified by a third party certifier and/or label, make sure they meet the Federal Trade Commission's Guides to the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides).
The FTC Green Guides:
- Are intended to reduce consumer confusion and prevent false or misleading use of environmental terms in product advertising and labeling.
- Indicate how the FTC will apply Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, in environmental marketing claims.
- Apply to all forms of product and service marketing to the public, including advertisements, labels, package inserts, promotional materials and electronic media
EPA has developed a number of ecolabels that can help purchasers identify greener products and services. Below is a list of ecolabels that address energy efficiency, water efficiency, fleet management, refrigerant emissions and green power. Please click on each ecolabel to find out more about the individual programs.
- Click on the logos above of EPA programs that have issued criteria/labels for greener products and services.
- Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge is another EPA program that promotes opportunities for individuals to donate or recycle electronics through a partnership with leading consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers and mobile service providers.
- Get more information on private sector standards and ecolabels at ecolabeling Exit and greener choices.Exit
- Read our introduction to ecolabels and standards.