Purchaser Guidance

Purchaser Guidance

Institutional Purchasers are sustainability leaders who are making the conscious choice to buy sustainable products.  Engaging in sustainable procurement is challenging which is why GEC provides a number of resources to help.  On this page you can find examples of contract and policy language used by public and private sector purchasers.  You can also find the GEC Purchasers Guide series, individual guidance documents that explain how to address sustainability concepts like Circular Economy, Sustainable Development Goals or Labor & Human Rights in the procurement process while still achieving a successful procurement.  With the emphasis on external reporting, GEC provides guidance on how purchasers can gain credit for their sustainable procurement activities when reporting to entities such as GRI and CDP.  Institutional purchasers can “move the needle” towards sustainability and GEC is here to help!


State of Sustainable IT Procurement

Updated July 2018

Institutional purchasers, through their preference for sustainable IT products, create the necessary demand to motivate industry toward sustainable design and production. Through in-depth interviews of institutional purchasers and manufacturers, as well as extensive research of trends in the industry, GEC’s annual State of Sustainable IT Procurement Report explores three key questions:

  • What is driving sustainable procurement of IT products?
  • What are the challenges, locally and globally, to purchasers seeking sustainable products?
  • What are the coming advances that will affect the landscape of sustainable IT procurement?

The Green Electronics Council is developing the 2018 State of Sustainable IT Procurement Report, and your insight is key to understanding the sustainable IT purchasing patterns of institutional purchasers. We invite purchasers of all sizes to contribute to our research survey to help inform the 2018 report.

Global Reporting Initiative

GRI is an independent international organization that has pioneered sustainability reporting since 1997.

Guidance, developed in collaboration between EPEAT and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), highlights how purchases of EPEAT-Registered IT products can support the disclosures of companies that report to GRI. GRI is a global best practice for reporting sustainability information. Visit the GRI Webpage.

Guidance, developed in collaboration between EPEAT and CDP, highlights how purchases of EPEAT-Registered IT products can support the responses of companies that report to CDP. Companies that report to CDP represent over $100T in assets, globally. Visit the CDP webpage.

Cloud Computing

GEC Cloud Computing Initiative 2018

Institutional purchasers are increasingly choosing to buy cloud services instead of relying solely on their own datacenters. While cloud-service purchase decisions are seldom driven by sustainability motivations, the dollar value of cloud-service procurements has contributed to purchasers’ eagerness to claim any sustainability benefits associated with their migration to the cloud. This guide will help purchasers understand how their cloud-service procurements can contribute to their organizational sustainability goals and to sustainability writ large. GEC is organizing two Working Groups to inform development of this guide. Stakeholders interested in participating in these Working Groups are invited to email Jonas Allen.

Labor & Human Rights

Purchasers Guide for Addressing Labor and Human Rights Impacts in IT Procurements

Institutional purchasers, both public and private sector, are increasingly interested in procuring products which are not only environmentally preferable but have also been produced in a socially responsible manner. Knowing what to ask suppliers regarding how they are addressing negative labor and human rights impacts and what constitutes credible supporting documentation from a supplier is a challenge for both public and private sector purchasers. To address this challenge, GEC has created this guide to provide institutional purchasers with guidance to assist them in procuring IT products from companies that are improving the social responsibility of their supply chains.



These materials are designed to make it easy for your organization to set policies specify EPEAT as a purchasing requirement.

Contract Language: We have developed plug and play language to help you set specifications in your contracts and RFPs requiring your vendors to provide EPEAT-registered products. Download Model Contract Language

Policy Language: This language provides a useful model that can be customized to suit the particular needs and contracting approaches of your organization. Download Model Policy Language


Sample Contract Language

Dozens of governments, enterprises and educational institutions worldwide specify EPEAT as a purchasing requirement or preference for all applicable device categories. A sample of those entities is listed below. Clicking any of these EPEAT Purchasers’ names will show details of their contracting approach.

Model Policy Language

Short - Computers/Displays

The policy language below is excerpted from actual organizational policies– it provides a useful model that can be customized to suit the particular needs and contracting approaches of your organization:

1. Beginning DATE, consistent with the environmentally preferable purchasing policy adopted by CITY/STATE/ORG NAME, departments shall only purchase personal computers, notebook computers and monitors that meet at least the EPEAT Bronze rating level, with a preference for Silver or Gold rating.

2. For all ICT equipment not currently rated according to EPEAT standards, such as computer servers, printers, routers, CITY/STATE/ORG NAME’s Office of Contract Administration will propose application of criteria to guide environmentally preferable purchasing practices in consultation with the Chief Information Officer (CIO). These guidelines will seek to minimize levels of toxic components, ensure the highest level of energy efficiency, incorporate recycled content, facilitate end-of-life recycling, and minimize unnecessary packaging.

3. For product categories where an EPEAT standard is in development, now or in future, once a product standard and registration process is in force, all products shall meet the minimum relevant EPEAT standard. Further consideration may be given to those products that meet higher levels of qualification under the product registration system.

4. CITY/STATE/ORG NAME will develop a procedure to develop necessary exemptions to this policy, with the goal of allowing no more than 5% of purchase dollars in the product area(s) covered by the EPEAT rating system to be spent on non-EPEAT-registered products. Such exemptions may be allowed, for example, if no registered products meet the specific performance needs of a purchaser, or if the EPEAT registered product will not be cost-effective over the life of the product.

Detailed - Computers/Displays

The policy language below is excerpted from actual organizational policies– it provides a useful model that can be customized to suit the particular needs and contracting approaches of your organization:

(a) General. PURCHASERS must ensure that they meet at least 95 percent of their annual acquisition requirement for electronic products with EPEAT-registered electronic products, unless there is no EPEAT standard for such products.

(b) Personal computer products.

Personal computer products is a category of EPEAT-registered electronic products.

(1) The IEEE 1680 standard for personal computer products—

(i) Was issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers on April 28, 2006;

(ii) Is a voluntary consensus standard;

(iii) Meets US EPA guidance on environmentally preferable products and services; and

(iv) Is described in more detail at https://www.epeat.net.

(2) A list of EPEAT-registered products that meet the IEEE 1680 standard can be found at https://www.epeat.net.

(3) The IEEE 1680 standard sets forth required and optional criteria. EPEAT ‘‘Bronze’’ registered products must meet all required criteria. EPEAT ‘‘Silver’’ registered products meet all required criteria and 50 percent of the optional criteria. EPEAT ‘‘Gold’’ registered products meet all required criteria and 75 percent of the optional criteria. These levels are discussed at www.epeat.net.

(c) This policy makes EPEAT Bronze registration the minimum standard that all IT hardware purchased by ORGANIZATION must meet. Purchasers are encouraged to make EPEAT Silver registration the required standard for IT hardware in specific purchase contracts, where sufficient products are available from multiple suppliers, with Gold registered products preferred.

(d) PURCHASERS/DEPARTMENTS shall establish procedures for granting any necessary exceptions to the requirement in paragraph (a) of this section, with the goal that the dollar value of exceptions granted will not exceed 5 percent of the total dollar value of electronic products acquired by the Agency/Department, for which EPEAT-registered products are available. For example, agencies may grant an exception if the agency determines that no EPEAT registered product meets agency requirements, or that the EPEAT registered product will not be cost effective over the life of the product.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reflect a concerted effort by 193 countries to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all under a new sustainable development agenda. As a signatory of the UN Global Compact, and a thought leader in the IT sector, GEC is committed to identifying opportunities in which we can support the SDGs, and help organizations to support the SDGs through use of our resources.

Story of Sensors

The Story of Sensors, a compelling story of how cities can leverage procurement for sustainability!  This story highlights how the partnership between GEC and the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning of Sustainability resulted in an air quality sensor company changing their product design.