§ 200.


A. Under this Chapter, the City and County of San Francisco wishes to exercise its power to make economic decisions involving its own funds as a participant in the marketplace and to conduct its own business as a municipal corporation to ensure that purchases of commodities and expenditures of public money are made in a manner consistent with its human health and environmental policies.

B. The results of a three year pilot study implementing environmentally preferable purchasing for City departments demonstrated the feasibility of developing relevant human health and environmental selection criteria for products used to maintain City buildings and vehicle fleets. The pilot program further demonstrated that products meeting these criteria are available, cost competitive, and effective at meeting the City’s performance standards. It is the City’s intention that ultimately there will be environmentally preferable alternatives for each commodity regularly purchased by the City.

C. The Precautionary Principle calls for full disclosure by manufacturers and suppliers so the most protective standard can be applied in the comparison of potential alternatives. Only the full disclosure of ingredients and impacts of the products and services will allow the City to make informed and protective decisions. For example, suppliers of pesticides should disclose the “inert” ingredients in products used on City property instead of limiting disclosure to the legal requirement of “active” ingredients which may make up less than 1% of the product.

D. The Precautionary Principle calls for a participatory and transparent process in the evaluation and selection of potential alternatives. Participation in decision-making by impacted communities is a basic tenet of the Precautionary Principle. Citizens of San Francisco enacted the Sunshine Ordinance to ensure transparency in City government; the Commission on the Environment operates under the mandates of the Sunshine Ordinance in addition to the requirements of the Brown Act and Public Records Act. Above and beyond that, deliberations and decisions under this ordinance made in accordance with the Public Participation Guidelines shall be made in concert with affected community members; community involvement is as central to the process as data gathering and expert advice.

E. Purchases of commodities made by the City and County of San Francisco that are consistent with the Precautionary Principle will encourage market development of new, healthy, environmentally preferable technologies and products and will demonstrate the efficacy of this approach to other government agencies, residents and businesses which will help generate regional demand for healthy products, a healthy way of doing business, product innovation, and business development and competition.

F. Implementing the Precautionary Principle is both good science and good economics. Precautionary action benefits workers, stimulates innovation and supports timely action to avoid costs to public health and the environment. Precautionary business practice leads to expanded local production, job creation and the development of technologies that support job creation in the area of environmentally preferable products. To this end, the Department of the Environment, the Small Business Commission, the Office of Contract Administration and the Human Rights Commission will work together to ensure that there is sufficient outreach, education and training provided to disadvantaged businesses in order to create equitable access and competition for city contracts affected by precautionary purchasing.

G. Many of the City’s purchasing decisions have impacts across departmental boundaries. Therefore, interdepartmental cooperation is a key element to a successful precautionary purchasing program. City staff must work closely together to create opportunities for the exchange of ideas and the flow of information between departments and the larger community.


(Added by Ord. 115-05, File No. 050595, App. 6/17/2005)

(Former Sec. 200 added by Ord. 171-03, File No. 030422, App. 7/3/2003; repealed by Ord. 115-05; Derivation Former Administrative Code Section 21F.1; added by Ord. 121-99, File No. 990405, App. 5/21/99)


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