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Executive Order (EO) 515 was issued in 2009, outlining the Environmental Purchasing Policy to help Executive Departments within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to conserve natural resources, reduce waste, protect public health and the environment, and promote the use of clean technologies, recycled materials, and less toxic products. That same year, the Operational Services Division (OSD) developed Statewide Contract FAC59, one of the first “all green,” multi-state contracts in the nation, which included 21 vendors who provided green cleaning products that met third-party standards for environmental performance.

recycleearthSince then, both the demand for green products and the amount of products available have increased significantly. Purchases of green products reported through the Massachusetts Management Accounting Reporting System (MMARS) tripled from 2010 to 2013 (the most current available data) – from $1,213,225 to $3,467,811.* Reports from vendors under FAC59, which included sales to municipalities and authorities not reporting in MMARS, indicated green purchases of more than $7 million in 2014.* With growing demand, an increase in product offerings, and the evolution of standards from third-party certification programs, it became clear that a new contract was needed. Julia Wolfe, Director of Environmental Purchasing for OSD, was tasked with the creation of FAC85, the newly launched Environmentally Preferable Cleaning Products, Programs, Equipment and Supplies Statewide Contract , that replaces expiring contract FAC59. FAC85 is a multi-state contract also available to Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont in cooperation with the lead state of Massachusetts. The initial term of the contract is March 15, 2015, through March 15, 2018, with 4 one-year extension options.

Wolfe began the contract development process by forming a Strategic Sourcing Team (SST) comprised of 21 members from multiple states, who shared their expertise as it related to the contract. The team included authorities in the area of environmental conservation, toxics use reduction in the janitorial services industry, public health, green procurement, and worker health and safety.  Also represented on the team were contract users and members of purchasing departments.

The team referred to a recently developed green cleaning contract from Washington/Oregon, formed under the guidance of the local branch of the Responsible Purchasing Network, an international network of buyers dedicated to socially responsible and environmentally sustainable purchasing. Using their specifications as a baseline, the team evaluated and updated the standards used in FAC59 and conducted market analysis on product options. Based upon this examination of the recent purchasing patterns of Commonwealth buyers for FAC59 and research on the effectiveness of various green products, categories were added and expanded to meet current needs. The team also conducted a thorough evaluation of the top third-party certifications to ensure that unbiased, acceptable standards would be met to guarantee the highest possible level of environmentalism. Once all the details were finalized, a Request for Response (RFR) was sent and the bidding process began.

cleaning supplies

After receiving bids from 37 vendors, the SST evaluated the proposals and awarded 15 contract vendors, selected for their product offerings and also for their ability to provide assistance to those transitioning to green cleaning programs. The contract boasts 12 categories of products and services that include cleaning chemicals, cleaning equipment and supplies, hand soaps, liners, janitorial paper products, de-icing and snowmelt products, and a microfiber washing service. All of the green chemicals and janitorial paper products included in FAC85 are required to be “Independently Third-Party Certified,” meaning that the environmental claims, as well as product performance, have been tested and certified by an established and legitimate, nationally-recognized third-party certification program such as GreenSeal, UL Ecologo, the US EPA’s Safer Choice Program, and Energy Star. Currently, there are 3,300 products available on the contract, but vendors may add products that meet the specifications outlined in the contract, enabling them to respond to user needs as the demand and availability of green product and service offerings grow.

With 3,300 products and 15 vendors on one contract, buyers have an amazingly large array of options to consider when adopting a green cleaning program. To assist in these efforts the contract requires that vendors provide a site assessment and make recommendations to prospective purchasers.  It is recommended that buyers contact two or three of the vendors to obtain assessments and specific product and process recommendations.

Moving toward more environmentally friendly, sustainable business practices shouldn’t be a challenge and, with FAC85, it might be easy being green, after all.

 

For more information on the EPP program, visit http://www.mass.gov/epp/.

For more information on OSD offerings and other OSD programs, visit http://www.mass.gov/osd/.

 

*Expenditure figures from the Calendar Year 2014 Report of the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Toxics Reduction Task Force.

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