About this site
- How can I use this site?
- Is everything on the SF Approved List "green"?
- Are the products endorsed by the City and County of San Francisco?
- Everyone is publishing green products lists. What’s so special about the SF Approved List?
- Why did SF Environment create the SF Approved List?
- How do products get on the SF Approved List?
- Who created this website?
- How do you use data from GoodGuide?
Green purchasing for SF City staff
- How did the SF Green Purchasing Program get started?
- What does the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance require?
- Can I see annual reports on who did and did not buy and sell green products?
Ecolabels, laws, and specifications for SF Approved Products
About this site
The SF Approved List includes vendors, cost issues, and criteria for over 1,000 safer, more environmentally friendly products to help SF City Depts. and SF Green Businesses be in compliance. While it often includes institutional products only sold in bulk quantities, it also has products to green your home, small business, or large organization. Our list is not comprehensive; it is a summary of the work we've done to identify green products for the City.
The easiest way to use the site is by clicking on the product category of interest on the left side of the screen. You may also search for products, specifications, or ecolabels using the search box.
No. Only the products/services listed as REQUIRED or SUGGESTED meet San Francisco's rigorous environmental and health requirements. There are a few LIMITED USE and PROHIBITED products for SF City staff and SF Green Businesses. Since it is a partial list of prohibited products, SF City staff should always buy REQUIRED products.
No. Products and services are generally put on the SF Approved List because they have both met SF Environment's environmental and health requirements AND have been added to a citywide contract. This does not consitute a general endorsement by the City government. See "How Products Get on the List."
While this site primarily covers institutional products sold in bulk quantities, check out SF APPROVED consumer products for your home or small business. We also recommend www.goodguide.org for its environmental, social, and health ratings of consumer products.
The SF Approved List is created by and for the City and County of San Francisco, and maintains independence from commercial influence. We have a mandate (through the Precautionary Principle), to adopt the most protective standards for our purchases. Finally, we have a network of dedicated City staff who are always out there testing new products, feeding their results into the List, and keeping it real.
The List also includes products that meet San Francisco's innovative policies. For example:
In 2009, SF created the first comprehensive food policy for the City which addresses hunger, healthy food procurement for city staff, food production on City owned land and more. SF City staff are encouraged to buy:
- Locally produced and/or sustainably certified foods;
- Vegetarian option at all meals
- 2 or more raw vegetables each meal
In 2009, San Francisco became the first city to adopt a policy for City staffments to only buy:
- Computers that meet Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Gold standards, which are energy-efficient, contain less toxic and more recyclable materials; and reduces environmental impacts in product design, manufacturing, packaging, use, disassembly, recycling, and disposal.
- Servers that meet Climate Savers standards.
San Francisco’s Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance requires the Department of Environment (SF Environment) to identify “approved alternative products” that are safer and better for the environment.
We do a lot of research about ecolabels, specifications, and product hazards, and create purchasing criteria that are sometimes the most rigorous available. We also meet with City staff who use the products to make sure that the products perform as advertised. Finally, we work with City purchasers to incorporate our criteria into citywide contracts so we can get better prices for green products. See How Products Get on the List.
Learn more about us and our partners. Many thanks to our interns for adding images for hundreds of products, and so much more. Thank you Hannah Safford, Jessica Marshall, Lisarose Malepeai!
GoodGuide generously shared chemical hazards data of over 60,000 chemicals. We look at their data to screen products. Unlike GoodGuide, we do not score products. We are not making their hazards data available to the public at this time.
Green purchasing for SF City staff
San Francisco has been buying green products since the 1980s, but the purchasing requirements were scattered among several separate ordinances. In 1998, the City undertook an ambitious Green Purchasing Pilot Program which:
- Inventoried and assessed hazardous chemical products purchased by City departments
- Established environmental and health criteria
- Set priorities
- Field tested products.
The ordinance requires SF Environment to::
- Set priorities for green purchasing in a public process
- Establish purchasing specifications that reduce undesirable environmental and health impacts
- Create an SF Approved List of products for City staff
Ecolabels, laws and specifications
Click here to see criteria that SF Approved Products meet, such as:
- Ecolabels like Energy Star.
- Contract language you can use when your organization goes out to bid for products or services.
- San Francisco laws and policies.