The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing

Purchasing for Safer Cities

The Power of Sustainable Purchasing

Ecology Center’s work in sustainable purchasing empowers cities, counties, and states to create safer communities through the purchase of more environmentally-friendly products. When municipalities purchase products that don’t contain harmful chemicals, reduce carbon emissions, and produce less waste, they are helping to protect health and the environment. Sustainable purchasing can be a catalyst for large-scale change, given the tremendous purchasing power of state and local governments. It has the potential to move markets, shifting production to safer, cleaner products. 

How We Help

Ecology Center produces curated resources on sustainable purchasing for governments. Guides, product specifications, criteria, and model policies help purchasers create and implement plans for their own communities. Implementation support and other tools, including roadmaps, metrics, and training modules help put those plans into action and measure progress. Additionally, peer learning support helps communities share best practices and work together to remove obstacles. 

Recent Wins

Ecology Center has helped communities across the country harness the power of sustainable purchasing through nationwide and regional networks of cities. Policies in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Anchorage, Alaska, and Providence, Rhode Island in 2019, 2020, and 2021 respectively demonstrate communities’ growing demand for safer, cleaner purchasing practices. In Michigan, Gov. Whitmer signed an executive directive in 2021 limiting the procurement of products containing PFAS. At the federal level, at the end of 2021, the Biden administration committed to purchase PFAS-free substitutes whenever possible. 

Communities with sustainable purchasing plans often enjoy immediate environmental benefits. City workers in particular enjoy healthier, cleaner working environments as a result of sustainable purchasing, which benefits the entire community.