San Francisco Department of Environment (SF Environment) researches products that are in the Green Purchasing Priorities List (formerly called the Targeted Product Category List). These priorities are mandated by the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance (Environment Code, Ch. 2) and by Executive Directive 08-02. Priorities are updated every three years with input from City departments and the public.
Goals for green products
- High Performance: Does the product work well? Is it durable? Does it make efficient use of resources?
- Minimum Impact: Does the product have impacts on the environment, worker health, or public health?
- Low Cost: Considering all the alternatives - and the full life cycle of the product - is it cost-effective?
SF Environment develops purchasing specifications to minimize environmental and health impacts, and consults City end users and the Office of Contracts Administration regarding product performance and cost issues.
How green products are researched
Suggested products: City departments are encouraged (but not required) to buy these. SF Environment researches:
- Existing literature: Alternatives analyses, life cycle assessments (LCAs), risk assessments by regulators, weight-of-evidence determinations, purchasing guidelines, scientific review papers or other resources that have already been developed. If these are inadequate, SF Environment sometimes conducts its own alternatives analyses.
- Current products used by the City.
- The best available health and environmental specifications (e.g., standards, certifications, or ecolabels).
- Green product ratings from end users.
- The number of certified products available locally.
Required products: City departments must buy these. SF Environment completes the steps above, and also may work with City end users to incorporate specifications into citywide contracts and regulations.