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Increase sustainable purchasing in partnership with the State of Minnesota

Some of you may hear the word "Contracts" and start to doze off. But don't! This is actually a really great resource made available to all sorts of jurisdictions to help accomplish your sustainability goals. In just the past year, CERTs has utilized the state master contract as part and parcel of its Solar Possible project to scale up local adoption of solar, and has directed cities to the state master contract as a valuable tool for the Cities Charging Ahead program, for both fleet purchases and charging infrastructure. For GreenStep Cities out there, this state program is an essential resource for your efforts under BP 15. Read on for more!

State Purchasing Support


Is your local government or organization curious about how to increase your sustainable spend using state contracts?

The State of Minnesota has new resources for you to check out! The guidance below has been designed to help cities, counties, townships, and nonprofits (among others) increase the sustainability of their purchases and work toward sustainable spending goals.


How to increase sustainability in organizational purchases

The State of Minnesota allows eligible entities to purchase goods, certain services and utilities from contracts established by the Office of State Procurement (OSP) for Minnesota state agencies. There are a number of benefits to becoming a Cooperative Purchasing Venture (CPV) member, such as decreasing or eliminating the time and expense required to research product specifications, as well as that required to award, process and maintain a contract. Membership is free and it’s easy to apply. 

Governmental entities that may join the CPV program include counties, cities, towns, townships, and school districts, among others. Certain tax-exempt, non-profit entities and charitable orgs are also eligible, including licensed nonprofit hospitals and community health clinics in Minnesota.  

Members report they’ve achieved significant cost savings through the CPV program. State contracts can also help your organization meet sustainability goals in purchasing, solid waste, energy and fleet. 

Becoming a Cooperative Purchasing Venture member is simple! 

Learn how to become a CPV member on their website or by contacting Sherry Brown at 651-201-2404 or [email protected]. You can see all contracts available to Cooperative Purchasing Venture members on the Office of State Procurement website

Once you are a Cooperative Purchasing Venture Member, you will be able to access the secure area of the Office of State Procurement website, where you will find the state contracts. To find the contract you need, enter the Contract Release letter-number codes shown below (e.g., C-252(5)) into the “contract release number” search bar on the main page in the secure area. The search results page will provide hyperlinks to the Contract Releases for the contracts associated with that number. On the contract release, you will find vendor information, price lists, and other information needed to purchase on contract. 

Tips for increasing sustainability in your purchases

First ask:

  • Can we use products we already have? 
  • Can purchase from the State managed Surplus Services? Surplus Services’ inventory changes regularly, but you will be able to find things like office furniture and supplies ([email protected], 651-639-4022).

If the purchase is needed:

  • Purchase from 100% sustainable contracts, listed below, where all products on contract meet specified sustainability requirements.
  • Purchase the most sustainable option(s) on contracts where some products are more sustainable than others.
  • Consider using contracts that contribute to other state sustainability goals.
  • Buy from targeted group/economically disadvantaged/veteran-owned businesses.

Share issues and concerns and ask questions:

  • For questions on sustainable purchasing, contact Melissa Peck @ 651-757-2343
  • For questions on specific contract offerings, contact the Acquisition Management Specialist/Buyer listed on the contract release.

State contracts

100% sustainable contracts: Only sustainable products are available on these contracts. For more information on why these products are considered sustainable, visit the website.

  • Cleaning chemicals (C-252(5), C-983(5)) 
  • Carpet and flooring (C-432(5))
  • Office furniture (F-379(5)) 
  • Refurbished furniture (F-464(5)) 
  • Ballasts & lamps (B-308(5), L-290(5)) — Purchase LED lamps and fixtures when possible to contribute to other sustainability goals!
  • Computers and imaging equipment (C-1046(5), C-871(5), C-1005(5)) 

Other contracts with sustainable products: Not all products available on these contracts are sustainable. Purchase more sustainable products when available. 

  • Office paper & toner, janitorial paper (O-86(5), P-942(5), P-661(5)) — Buy recycled content janitorial paper, the legal minimum 30% recycled content copy paper (ideally, increasing to 100%) and remanufactured toner.
  • MINNCOR cleaners & office furniture (M-566(5)) — Buy 3rd party certified cleaners and “tier 1” furniture.
  • Wireless hardware & services (T-535(5)) — Buy EPEAT certified cell phones.
  • Paint (P-719(5)) — Buy sustainability certified paint ideally, or recycled content or low volatile organic chemical (VOC) paint.
  • AV (A-203(5)) —Buy ENERGY STAR, EPEAT, or TCO certified products when available.

Other contracts useful for meeting sustainability goals:

  • Automobiles (A-175(5)) — Purchase the most efficient vehicle that meets your needs by looking for vehicles that are “category 1”. Category 1 vehicles meet statutory requirements for efficiency and the use of “clean fuels.” Also look for EPA emissions ratings of 7 or better.  
  • Refuse bags: Polyethylene (B-298(5)) — Buy polyethylene bags with recycled and/or post-consumer recycled content.
  • Refuse bags: Compostable plastic (B-351(5)) — Use in conjunction with compost programs.
  • Electric vehicle supply equipment (E-108(5)) — Charging equipment for electric vehicles. 
  • Food service supplies (F-354(5), F-535(5)) — Buy reusable foodware when possible. Reusable products are a better environmental and cost saving choice in applications. If dishwashing applications do not exist, or if reusable foodware is not an option, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS)-free compostable foodware is available on F-535(5).
  • Point-of-use bottleless water coolers (R-640(5)) — Buy point-of-use water coolers through a monthly payment plan rather than purchasing bottled water.
  • Solar power system design and installation (S-1049(5)) — For the installation of solar photovoltaic systems, including roof mount, ground mount, and carport installations. 
  • Waste, recycling, and organics services (W-216(5)) — For waste hauling services to customers, including right-sizing of containers, waste assessments, and reporting on waste collected. 
  • Waste recycling containers and sort stations (W-212(5)) — Containers to implement an effective multi-sort collection system for landfill waste, recycling streams, and organics. Compostable bin liners for organics collection are also available (B-351(5)).

Download Information

Cooperative Purchasing Venture Factsheet

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