Current Sustainable Procurement Initiatives

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Low-Carbon Concrete Initiative

The City of Portland’s 2016 Sustainable Supply Chain Analysis identified construction services as the top spend category contributing to the City’s supply chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Within construction services, concrete is one of the most GHG-intensive materials typically used on City construction projects.  As a result, in 2019, after gathering both internal and external stakeholder input, the City established its Low-Carbon Concrete Initiative to reduce the overall carbon intensity of the concrete mixes used on City projects.  From 2019 to early 2022, the Initiative involved: 1) establishing a product-specific Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) requirement for concrete mixes used on City projects; 2) conducting pilot tests of lower-embodied carbon concrete mixes; and 3) defining Global Warming Potential (GWP) Thresholds for concrete mixes.

Lower-Embodied Carbon Concrete Pilot Projects

In order to understand how lower-carbon concrete mixes perform compared to traditional 100% cement mixes, the City has been conducting pilot tests of different lower-carbon concrete mixes.  The following case studies provide summaries of the pilot tests conducted to date.

Pilot Project Case Study Reports

Low-Carbon Concrete Pilot Test Locations
Concrete ApplicationLocationMix DescriptionMonth/Year PouredAssociated Case Study
ADA ramp/sidewalkN Michigan & N Fremont NE CornerType I/II Cement w/30% SlagApril 2020Sidewalk Pilot Project 2020
ADA ramp/sidewalkN Michigan & N Failing SE CornerType I/II Cement w/40% SlagApril 2020Sidewalk Pilot Project 2020
ADA ramp/sidewalkN Michigan & N Fremont SE CornerType I/II Cement w/30% Slag + Carbon CureApril 2020Sidewalk Pilot Project 2020
ADA ramp/sidewalkN Michigan & N Failing NW CornerType I/II Cement w/30% Slag + Carbon CureApril 2020Sidewalk Pilot Project 2020
ADA ramp/sidewalkN Michigan & N Webster NE CornerType I/II Cement w/50% SlagMay 2020Sidewalk Pilot Project 2020
ADA ramp/sidewalkN Michigan & N Webster NW CornerType I/II Cement w/35% SlagMay 2020Sidewalk Pilot Project 2020
Pole footing & surrounding sidewalk/refugeNE Glisan & NE 128th, North end of crosswalkType I/II Cement w/50% SlagMarch 2021Pole Footings Pilot Project 2021
ADA ramp/sidewalkN Liberty St & N Oatman AveType 1L Cement w/30% SlagOctober 2021Type 1L Cement Pilot Project 2021
Concrete pavementN Liberty St & N Oatman AveType 1L Cement w/30% SlagNovember 2021Type 1L Cement Pilot Project 2021
DrivewaySW Naito Pkwy, between SW Clay & Market St, East Side of StreetType I/II Cement w/50% SlagJune 2021Set Time & Early Strength Case Study 2022
Driveway1720 SW Naito PkwyType I/II Cement w/50% SlagDecember 2021Set Time & Early Strength Case Study 2022
SidewalkNE Corner of SW Naito & Harrison Type I/II Cement w/50% Slag w/accelerator (0.5%)January 2022Set Time & Early Strength Case Study 2022
SidewalkNE Grand & NE Davis (on NE Davis - North Side)Type I/II Cement w/50% Slag w/accelerator (2%)January 2022Set Time & Early Strength Case Study 2022
SidewalkNE MLK Blvd & NE Davis (on MLK - East Side)Type 1L Cement w/30% SlagMarch 2022Set Time & Early Strength Case Study 2022
FootingsGabriel Park, wall footings - playground improvementsType 1L Cement w/30% SlagJune & July 2021Park Infrastructure Case Study 2022
Retaining WallGabriel Park, playground improvementsType 1L Cement w/30% SlagAugust 2021Park Infrastructure Case Study 2022
Concrete StairsGabriel Park, playground improvementsType 1L Cement w/30% SlagOctober 2021Park Infrastructure Case Study 2022
Bike/Pedestrian Path & Bench PadsGabriel Park, playground improvementsType 1L Cement w/30% SlagFebruary 2022Park Infrastructure Case Study 2022

Portland Area Mobile Mix EPD

The Sustainable Procurement Program also funded the development of a Portland-area average EPD for mobile mix producers.  Four mobile mix producers in the Portland area contributed to the EPD.  A copy of the EPD can be found on the ASTM EPD website.  Compared to the cost of an EPD for a stationary plant that may produce over 100 mixes, the cost per mix of an EPD for a mobile mix producer is significantly higher.  Thus, the Sustainable Procurement Program pursued a local industry-average approach and invited any mobile mix producer supplying the Portland area to participate.  

Embodied Carbon Thresholds for Concrete Mixes on City Projects

In May 2022 the City announced its maximum Embodied Caron Thresholds for concrete mixes used on City construction projects which will go into effect January 2023 (see below for a copy of the announcement).  These Thresholds were based on recommendations from a multi-stakeholder workgroup convened to advise the City on establishing such thresholds.  Background on the Low-Embodied Carbon Concrete Threshold Committee and their recommendations development process is provided below.

Related Links


Clean Air Construction Regional Initiative

To improve the air quality in Portland Metro area, the City of Portland, Multnomah County, Port of Portland, Metro, Washington County, TriMet, and Portland Community College are working together to include Clean Air Construction Requirements in their construction contracts.  You can find more information on the Clean Air Construction Regional Program website


Sustainably-Sourced Wood

In 2022, the Sustainable Procurement Program began sponsoring pilot projects with bureaus whereby a construction project's design team works with a consultant who is a subject-matter expert in local/regional markets of sustainably-harvested/sourced wood to identify sustainably-sourced options for the project's wood package.  For these pilot projects, the City is utilizing elements of the Cities4Forests' Sustainable Wood for Cities Guide and its eight pathways for sourcing sustainable wood products.  In doing so, the pilot projects will look to support local/regional forestries, indigenous-tribe-owned forestries, small landowners, urban reuse, recycled wood, minority/women-owned businesses, and more.  As the pilot projects evolve, the Sustainable Procurement Program plans to publish case studies about this work.


Sweatshop Free Apparel

The City's Sustainable Procurement Policy requires the City to purchase apparel products from manufacturers that comply with the City's Code of Conduct for Apparel Contractors [Attachment 1 of the Sustainable Procurement Policy].  The Code of Conduct requires that contractors, and their supply chain partners utilized to supply apparel to the City, comply with labor and health & safety standards that ensure workers are not subjected to sweatshop conditions.

Sweatshop Free Forms for Apparel Contractors

The City discloses the "cut and sew" factory locations where apparel items on City contracts are made.  This information is available via the Sweatfree LinkUp database.