The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 2, 2022, that it launched a new process to expand the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program’s Recommendations of Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing (Recommendations). EPA is inviting managers of standards development organizations, ecolabel programs, and other similar organizations to apply for potential assessment and inclusion in the Recommendations. 87 Fed. Reg. 66176. EPA is also hosting a webinar on November 15, 2022, from 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (EST) to answer questions from stakeholders about the expansion of the Recommendations and the process for applying. The EPP program’s Recommendations help federal government purchasers use private sector standards and ecolabels to meet sustainable acquisition goals and mandates. According to EPA, they currently include more than 40 private sector environmental performance standards and ecolabels in over 30 purchase categories.

EPA states that to apply to have a standard or ecolabel included in the Recommendations, interested applicants should first familiarize themselves with the Framework for the Assessment of Environmental Performance Standards and Ecolabels (Framework), which will be used to assess all eligible applicants. Then, submit responses to the scoping questions to [email protected] by January 1, 2023. EPA will use the scoping questions to determine eligibility and scope of the assessment. After the application deadline closes, EPA will issue an estimated timeline for full assessments against the Framework by product/service category within 120 days. For each category being assessed, EPA will provide further notice and instruction to applicable applicants.

EPA seeks to assess multi-attribute standards and ecolabels that recognize environmental performance leadership and support federal goals and mandates regarding climate, safer chemicals, or other sustainable acquisition priorities of the Biden Administration (e.g., net-zero emissions, low embodied carbon construction materials, and the restriction or elimination of per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in certified products). EPA is particularly interested in assessing standards and ecolabels in the following sectors: building/construction; infrastructure; landscaping; food and cafeteria services; uniforms/clothing; professional services; and laboratories and healthcare. EPA states that standards and ecolabels that address other sectors already included in the Recommendations are welcome to apply.