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NIH Environmental Management System

Take Action to Protect the Future

Sustainable Acquisition

​As outlined in Executive Order (EO) 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy ​Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability​, the NIH shall promote sustainable acquisition and procurement by:​

  • Reducing emissions, promoting environmental stewardship, supporting resilient supply chains, driving innovation, and incentivizing markets for sustainable products and services by prioritizing products that can be reused, refurbished, or recycled.
  • Maximizing environmental benefits and cost savings through use of full lifecycle cost methodologies.​
  • Purchasing products that contain recycled content, are biobased, or are energy and water efficient, in accordance with relevant statutory requirements.
  • Purchasing sustainable products and services identified or recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to the maximum extent practicable.​

To demonstrate progress in sustainable acquisitions, NIH publishes an annual Sustainability Plan (SP) and reports progress to their parent government agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS adheres to the requirements of EO 14008 (Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad)​ and EO 14057 and publishes an annual Sustainability Plan to demonstrate overall agency progress.​​​

Progress Towards Sustainable Acquisition at the NIH

The NIH ensures that 95 percent of applicable new contract actions meet federal mandates for acquiring products that are energy efficient, water efficient, biobased, environmentally preferable, non-ozone depleting, recycled content, or are non-toxic or less toxic alternatives, where these products meet performance requirements. To monitor performance, the NIH performs quarterly reviews of at least 5 percent of applicable new contract actions to determine if sustainable acquisition requirements are included.

To support this program at the NIH, the NIH Green Procurement Manager continued a number of initiative including coordinating with the relevant NIH operations offices (e.g. the Blanket Purchasing Agreement Program, the NIH Government-wide Acquisition Contracts, NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center, etc.) to ensure compliance with all sustainable acquisition initiatives.

NIH maintains a robust document generating system (DGS) for the agency acquisition community that includes the relevant FAR sustainability clauses. The DGS is updated on a regular basis to ensure that biobased and other sustainability clauses are included in all applicable acquisitions. An NIH Acquisition Career Manager (ACM) has been appointed and is coordinating training with the NIH Green Procurement Manager.

NIH Sustainable Acquistion Strategies

Key strategies for growing sustainable acquisitions at the NIH are outlined below, with additional guidance available through the Green Purchasing Program:

  • Establish and implement policies to meet statutory mandates requiring purchasing preference for recycled content products, ENERGY STAR qualified and FEMP-designated products, and Biopreferred and biobased products designated by USDA.
  • Establish and implement policies to purchase sustainable products and services identified by EPA programs, including SNAP, WaterSense, Safer Choice, and Smart Way.
  • Establish and implement policies to purchase environmentally preferable products and services that meet or exceed specifications, standards, or labels recommended by EPA.
  • Use Category Management Initiatives and government-wide acquisition vehicles that already include sustainable acquisition criteria.
  • Ensure contractors submit timely annual reports of their BioPreferred and biobased purchases.
  • Reduce copier and printing paper use and switch to uncoated printing and writing paper containing at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled content.
  • Identify and implement corrective actions to address barriers to increasing sustainable acquisitions.
  • Improve quality of data and tracking of sustainable acquisition through the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS).
  • Incorporate compliance with contract sustainability requirements into procedures for monitoring contractor past performance and report on contractor compliance in performance reviews.
  • Review and update agency specifications to include and encourage products that meet sustainable acquisition criteria.
  • Identify opportunities to reduce supply chain emissions and incorporate criteria or contractor requirements into procurements.​​​​

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