Institutions, city governments and economic development entities around the country have implemented purchasing policies dedicated to local and sustainable procurement.

Beyond reducing the negative environmental impact, these policies help to keep revenue circulating locally, strengthen the local economy and secure jobs.

   Imperial Valley Independent Business Alliance (CA) successfully encouraged the City of El Centro to pass one of the strongest local purchasing/contracting preferences (pdf). The ordinance states “Local Business Enterprises” that are both locally owned and generate a majority of their revenue locally will win a contract if they come within 10% of the lowest bid by an outside company.

   The Greater University Circle area of Cleveland, OH includes a green business initiative in its economic development plan for this inner-city area, which includes six poor neighborhoods surrounding several major institutions. The project targets areas which have been hit the hardest by economic downturn by creating 10 new green businesses and at least 500 new jobs in within five years. In 2009, two green businesses were launched: Evergreen Cooperative Laundry and Ohio Cooperative Solar. Read more about this project and its anchor institutions.


  Antioch University (Keene, NH) adopted a responsible purchasing policy to guide its procurement of goods and services. The policy emphasizes social justice, environmental standards, and local purchasing. One main goal being to ‘strengthen the local economy by buying regional products and services.’

   University of Louisville Green Purchasing Policy aims to reduce the institution’s negative environmental impact by buyings goods and services from manufactures and vendors who share a commitment to the same goals. When considering sources for purchasing food: ‘… contractors shall purchase Kentucky-grown agricultural products [if available]… and all contractors shall agree to work with their distributors to purchase a minimum of 15% locally-grown products.’

   Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME) sources approximately 27% of food purchases from local vendors, which is ‘opening up local economic opportunities and keeping money close to home.’

   Read more from the National Association of College and University Food Services about what approaches the institutional and industry members around the country take to integrate sustainability and local procurement into their food services.

   Houston city council passed a local purchasing initiative giving preference to local businesses for municipal purchasing and contracting if the bid comes within 5% of the lowest for contracts under $100,000 and 3% for over $100,000.

   Listing of States’ Absolute and Percentage Local Purchasing Preferences compiled by the Virginia Department of General Services.