Healthy Purchasing: Collaborating for change

Oregon Environmental Council facilitates the Healthy Purchasing Coalition, a group of governments, universities, ports, businesses, and nonprofits engaged in leading edge public procurement policy. This coalition, which includes the City of Portland, Metro, Multnomah County, City of Hillsboro, Port of Portland, City of Eugene, City of Corvallis, Portland State University, Portland Community College, San Diego County, District of Saanich, British Columbia, and the University of British Columbia, is working together to integrate human health, chemical hazard, and safer alternatives into institutional purchasing decisions.

Why? Changing the way products are designed and manufactured requires strategic and consistent demand from the free market. By engaging with institutional purchasers, we increase demand for products and materials that are made in accordance with the principals of green chemistry, ensuring that innovative new products are available and that the sustainable manufacturing economy thrives.

Healthy purchasing has benefits for our health as well as our economy: according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention chronic diseases have a major economic impact in Oregon, costing billions every year in care and lost productivity. Seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S. are from chronic disease. Scientific studies have linked a wide variety of chemicals commonly used in building materials and household products to chronic diseases. Unlike heredity and age, exposure to chemicals in products and the environment is one factor we can modify.

Through our work with the Healthy Purchasing Coalition, OEC and our partner organizations have developed a variety of resources. These include fact sheets, sample policy language, specification and contract language, among others.

Learn more about the Healthy Purchasing Coalition:

If your organization is interested in joining the coalition, please contact Colin Price for more information.

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