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Buy Clean California Act

California Air Resources Board and Department of General Services establish and publish in the State Contracting Manual

By Chris Micheli, June 22, 2022 3:12 pm

California has a number of formal acts in statute. The Buy Clean California Act is contained in the Public Contract Code Division 2 (General Provisions), Part 1 (Administrative Provisions), Chapter 3 (Formation), Article 5, which contains Sections 3500 to 3505. Article 5 was added by Chapter 816 in 2017.

Section 3500 provides that Article 5 is known and may be cited as the Buy Clean California Act. Section 3501 provides definitions of the following terms: “awarding authority,” “department,” “eligible materials,” “eligible project,” and “greenhouse gas emissions.”

Section 3502 requires the Department of General Services (DGS), by January 1, 2022 and in consultation with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), to establish and publish in the State Contracting Manual, or make available on the DGS internet website, a maximum acceptable global warming potential for each category of eligible materials in accordance with specified requirements.

DGS is required to set the maximum acceptable global warming potential at the industry average of facility-specific global warming potential emissions for that material with a phase-in period of not more than two years. DGS must determine the industry average by consulting recognized databases of environmental product declarations. If DGS determines that the facility-specific environmental product declarations available do not adequately represent the industry as a whole, DGS may use industrywide environmental product declarations based on domestic production data in its calculation of the industry average.

In addition, DGS is required to express the maximum acceptable global warming potential as a number that states the maximum acceptable facility-specific global warming potential for each category of eligible materials. DGS may set different maximums for different products within each category and, when more than one set of product category rules exists for a category or set of products, DGS may set a different maximum for each set of product category rules. The global warming potential must be provided in a manner that is consistent with criteria in an Environmental Product Declaration.

Moreover, DGS is required by January 1, 2022 to submit a report to the Legislature that describes the method that DGS used to develop the maximum global warming potential for each category of eligible materials.

Finally, by January 1, 2025, and every three years thereafter, DGS is required to review the maximum acceptable global warming potential for each category of eligible materials and may adjust that number downward for any eligible material to reflect industry improvements if DGS determines that the industry average has changed, but DGS cannot adjust that number upward for any eligible material. At that time, DGS is required to either update the State Contracting Manual or information available on the DGS internet website to reflect that adjustment.

Section 3503 requires an awarding authority to require the successful bidder for a contract to submit a current facility-specific Environmental Product Declaration, Type III, as defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 14025, or similarly robust life cycle assessment methods that have uniform standards in data collection consistent with ISO standard 14025, industry acceptance, and integrity, for each eligible material proposed to be used. An awarding authority is required to include specified information for bids for an eligible project. This section applies to a contract entered into on or after July 1, 2022.

Section 3504 requires an awarding authority, in carrying out its duties, to strive to achieve a continuous reduction of emissions over time. Section 3505 requires DGS by July 1, 2023 to submit a report to the Legislature on any obstacles to the implementation of this Article, and the effectiveness of this Article to reduce global warming potential.

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