New York Gov. David A. Paterson signed an Executive Order Saturday establishing a New York State "Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program," to promote policies within state agencies and authorities that reduce the consumption of materials and energy and reduce potential impacts on public health and the environment. As a result, state agencies will purchase environmentally-friendly commodities, services and technology and develop sustainability and stewardship programs.

"It is critically important that the state of New York take the lead as steward of our environment," said Paterson. "Our state government is a major consumer of products and energy, and our policies should conserve our precious natural resources, protect the public health, and prevent pollution in order to improve the quality of life for all of New York state's residents."

The Executive Order will achieve its goals through three primary initiatives: an interagency committee, environmentally-friendly agency programs and policies, and training State employees to pursue their duties in a manner which is mindful of their impact on the environment.

Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement

The governor has ordered the creation of an Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement ("Committee") to enhance interagency coordination in promoting "green" policies. The committee will consist of the heads of state environmental, energy, economic development, transportation, budget, health and operations agencies and authorities, and will be co-chaired by Commissioner of General Services John Egan and Commissioner of Environmental Conservation Pete Grannis. The Committee will work to ensure that state agencies have the direction they need to carry out environmentally-conscious purchasing, planning and contracting.

Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship Programs

Each state agency and authority will develop and implement programs and policies that will promote environmental sustainability and stewardship. These programs and policies will focus on reducing potential impacts on public health and the environment, by supporting recycling, reducing or eliminating the use and generation of toxic substances, pollution and waste, increasing energy efficiency, and using renewable energy sources. In addition, when it is practical and cost efficient, state agencies and authorities will purchase 100 percent post-consumer content recycled paper for daily use and for publications. State agencies will also develop programs to separate recyclable materials in order to ensure efficient and effective materials recovery.

Training and Staff

The governor has directed that agencies and authorities assign an employee to serve as a sustainability and green procurement coordinator, and the commissioner of the Office of General Services to select an employee to serve as director of green procurement. The committee, along with designated employees, will work to develop training and outreach programs for appropriate staff, vendors and contractors.

Commissioner of General Services Egan said: "The Office of General Services enthusiastically embraces Governor Paterson's sustainability agenda. This Executive Order enables OGS to maximize its efforts to put green policies into practice. I look forward to working with Commissioner Grannis to ensure that the Governor's plan becomes a reality."

Commissioner of Environmental Conservation Grannis said: "State government should be an environmental leader through the use of green procurement and energy conservation -- and help taxpayers. Buying green can save us green in the long run."

"When state government takes the lead in training its employees to work in an environmentally conscious manner, New York's workforce can become one of the largest green workforces in the nation," Paterson continued. "Through interagency cooperation and coordination we can provide more responsive, effective and environmentally-sound services.