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Sustainable Business Concepts - Green Procurement
Green Procurement Guidelines
A company can, as a part of its strategy to green its procurement process, consider some of the following approaches:

  • Supplier focus (with emphasis on environmental performance of supplier)
  • Product and Service focus (including environmental specifications)
  • Lifecycle Analysis (internal analyses, or utilizing LCAs completed by outside groups).

The implementation of such procurement objectives can include, for example - creating awareness of environmental impacts; developing guidelines for green procurement; rethinking material requirements and consumption; reducing the use of hazardous materials; improving energy efficiency of purchased materials; reducing pollution and noise levels; using recycled materials, or recycling waste.

Examples of Green Produrement Guidelines

Green procurement policies and guidelines not only target consumers buying products, but also companies and businesses sourcing parts, materials and sub-products to create their own final products. A survey of procurement policies of consumer groups and companies (for their supply chains) illustrate the following examples for the greening of procurement:

  • Create an environmental management system (EMS) or acquire an external certification regarding the company's EMS, for example those under the ISO 14000 series

  • Do not use substances prohibited or banned by law in the manufacturing process, for example materials that could damage the ozone layer (under the UN's Montreal Protocol), including the use of hazardous or toxic subsstances (under the UN's Rotterdam, Stockholm and Basel conventions)

  • Where necessary, respond to an information request or survey of chemical substances contained in a purchased material, part or product.

  • Ensure that companies and their suppliers are leggaly compliant with a country's environmental laws and regulations

  • Carry out life-cycle environmental impact assessments of material extraction, manufacturing processes sale, use and disposal of products (including air, water, ground, and noise pollution)

  • Undertake climate change measures within the company on mitigating and adapting to climate risks and impacts.

  • Implement efforts and contributions to global environmental conservation (for example, GHGs reduction, water consumption, waste generation, management of chemical substances, material resource consumption, packaging and packaging materials, etc.)

  • Focus on bodiversity conservation as a part of a company's activities, including preservation of natural ecosystems

  • Institute proper procedures for information disclosure, particularly to consumers and suppliers.

  • Implement energy conservation efforts to reduce energy use, run manufacturing processes efficiently, and save energy,. Such efforts should include increased use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro or bio energy.

  • Have a clear 3R policy to reduce, reuse and recycle materials and products in its entire life-cycle.

  • Where relevant, a company or its supplires carry out environmental audits, assessments or surveys to understand their extended impacts on the environment throughout the lifecycle of the products they produce.

Under these guidelines, a business can introduce measures to increase the utilization of recycled materials and the purchase of more environmental friendly equipment (for instance, computes with a high Energy-Star rating, or computers with higher percentage of recyclable materials). The gradual phasing out of the energy inefficient machines is one method by which to reduce to energy consumption and can be achieved through these green procurement guidelines.

In order to ensure the effective implementation of these guidelines, a business can carefully consider existing procurement practices in order to evaluate where the major environmental impacts lie. Methods can then be sought to integrate environmental considerations into its purchasing practices. These can be designed to fit with existing procurement methods, and to act as a support tool for purchasing staff. The policy, procedures and practices should not be designed to prohibit the purchase of any goods - merely to favour goods that are environmentally friendly. Other factors of quality, price, delivery times, etc., still remain paramount in purchasing decisions.

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Green Procurement

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