Multnomah County officials this week announced new purchasing guidelines mandating green values, recycled materials and employee health.
The new Sustainable Purchasing Policy is meant to change the direction of purchasing decisions toward more sustainable operations, said County Chair Jeff Cogen.
Brian Smith, Sophia Cavalli, Chair Cogen, Kat West, and Garrett Vanderzanden at the sustainable policy kickoff
"Sustainability is one of my core values," he said. "This policy will help employees incorporate sustainability considerations more easily into their purchasing decisions and move Multnomah County toward a cleaner environment, a healthier community and a more vibrant local economy."
The new policy simplifies the application of more than a dozen existing policies related to purchasing and will help the county meet goals outlined in the Multnomah/Portland 2009 Climate Action Plan.
Backers say it will also stimulate the local economy by creating new markets, healthy competition and a level playing field where all vendors can compete.
According to Purchasing Manager Brian Smith, "In adopting this policy, Multnomah County is taking a leadership position in this region and in the nation by applying environmental and social equity principles not only to all the goods we buy, but also to the tremendous amount of professional and human services we buy."
A new sustainable purchasing checklist will guide employees who purchase goods and services on behalf of the county to integrate sustainability principles in their selections. Advantages of sustainable purchasing include:
• Providing environmental stewardship through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced toxins
• Stimulating the local economy by creating new markets for recycled materials and green goods
• Reducing waste output, thereby reducing the cost of waste removal
• Protecting employee health, improving productivity and reducing health insurance costs by employing green cleaning and toxic reduction strategies
• Simplifying compliance with environmental health and safety standards
"We truly appreciate Multnomah County's leadership and integrity in sustainable practices," said William Hart, AIA, founder and principal of Carleton Hart Architecture. "Over the years, Multnomah County has demonstrated its commitment and concern for livability, cost effectiveness and sustainable design."