By Catherine Campbell
Does your business have a green procurement policy? When shopping for vendors, do you think about how a potential service provider approaches their own sustainability? If not, you may wonder where to start. The University of California, Santa Cruz has a short intro to green purchasing that gives a good overview. While focused on the university environment, the discussion has many universal concepts that apply to all types of businesses and organizations. Here are a few of the main desired outcomes of a green procurement policy:
- Conserving natural resources
- Minimizing pollution
- Reducing water and energy use
- Diverting material from the landfill
- Supporting locally produced goods and services
Additionally, the city of Melbourne, Australia’s website also has a nice overview of principles of green purchasing. Their infographic of Product Purchasing Tips simplifies things to think about when buying goods for your organization. You can even download and print this graphic to use as a visual reminder in your office.
If you want to educate your office supply purchasing team on green purchasing, its benefits, and how to go about it, Planted Green has a nice five minute video that can be shared. This video covers things like paper products, printer ink cartridges, trash bags, and even office furniture. It’s a simple educational video that can also be shared with all of you employees as an entry educational video for simple ways to help the planet in a business setting.
A simple way of finding environmentally conscious products for your business is use search terms like eco-friendly, sustainable, and green when searching sites like Amazon and Office Depot. Most of these types of companies have sustainable products already identified, sometimes with pros and cons listed as well. It’s a great place to start.
If you’re interested in how to find green suppliers/vendors, British Business Bank has a simple overview that will give you a place to start. There are many types of green certifications such as LEED and ISO 14000 (or even youB ESR) that a company may have, but asking your potential suppliers questions about their sustainability initiatives will most likely provide you the information you need to align with your specific green procurement policy.
Finally, a written green procurement policy ensures consistency in your business purchases. Current and new employees can use this as a guide when placing orders for office supplies, buying new equipment, and considering new vendors. StopWaste, a public agency out of Alameda, California has a good template to use if you’re just starting out and not sure how to devise a green procurement policy. You can download the template for free here.