San Francisco Issues ‘Green Approved’ List for Products and Services

More articles on the controversy surrounding bottled water can be found here!

Plenty of websites exist that list and evaluate “green” products.  Now more cities, including Seattle, are building lists of “approved” products and service providers.  San Francisco, however, has stepped it up a notch, and has released a comprehensive site that meets the City by the Bay’s environmental and health requirements.

Back in 2005 San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed legislation, The Precautionary Principle, which required its procurement officers to adhere to an approved list of environmentally preferable, or “green,” products.  Over the past few years, city employees vetted and tested products ranging from electronics to cleaning supplies to lighting equipment.

The result is, a guide that describes approximately 1000 green products that San Francisco’s municipal employees are allowed to buy under local ordinances.  The list also is available to San Francisco Green Businesses, a program that accredits businesses operating within the city that have met waste reduction, reduced pollution, and conservation standards. Local consumers who want their purchasing decisions to match their values could find value from SFApproved, as well.  For people in or outside San Francisco who want advice on new electronics, or would appreciate suggestions as to what automotive products they should use when checking under the hood of their cars, is a start.

Anyone accessing the site can do a keyword search:  city employees can determine whether such a product is suggested or not, and local green businesses can find out whether products are allowed, permitted for occasional use, or are prohibited from use.  Bottled water, T9 fluorescent light fixtures, and some nickel-cadmium batteries are no-no’s.

Some may dismiss this list as bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo.  But for consumers, this is a guide, not a bible. Its strengths lie in the fact that employees from various city departments have vetted these products, focusing on performance, environmental impact, and cost.  So whether you are a small business considering what stationery supplies to buy, or you need an energy-efficient laptop for your college-bound child, is a good point of reference.  On its FAQs section, the city also insists that the list is kept free from commercial influence.

Incidentally, the City and County of San Francisco issues annual reports detailing the amount and variety of green products city employees purchase.  You can access it here.  Does the city put its money where its mouth is?  Find out for yourself.

Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010. He has lived across the U.S., as well as in South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Uruguay. Some of Leon's work can also be found in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. You can follow him on Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

2 responses

  1. Green products should be more publicly advertised as the general public are unaware of alternative products, most of which are better and even cheaper than usual environmentally damaging products. Government should promote more than punish, the public will happily join – just let them know the options!

Leave a Reply