Sustainable Procurement

Sustainable procurement (also called green procurement) is a spending and investment process typically associated with public policy, although it is equally applicable to the private sector. 

Organizations practicing sustainable procurement meet their needs for goods, services, utilities and works not on a private cost-benefit analysis, but with a view to maximizing net benefits for themselves and the wider world.

In doing so they must incorporate extrinsic cost considerations into decisions alongside the conventional procurement criteria of price and quality. These considerations are typically divided thus: environmental, economic and social (also known as the “triple baseline”) 

There is no single definition of sustainable procurement – not least because sustainability is a contested concept – and applications vary across organizational hierarchy and sector.

Greening the Supply Chain

"Greening the supply chain" refers to buyer companies requiring a certain level of environmental responsibility in core business practices of their suppliers and vendors. Many businesses have internal standards, policies, and/or environmental management systems that govern their own environmental performance and efficiency. If suppliers do not abide by these same standards, the buyer company may be buying and using products that do not meet their own standards.

A supply chain can be complex, with environmental issues occurring at the second and third-tier supplier levels. Some companies may also attempt to work the opposite spectrum of the supply chain, by educating their customers on the environmental benefits of their products.

Many companies have received requests from their corporate customers to address environmental issues. Several suppliers note that their efforts  greening their supply chain and toward meeting the customers' requirements have resulted in advantages such as cost reductions, greater operational efficiency, enhanced value to customers, increased sales, positive media attention, and positive ratings from socially responsible investment groups.

Greening the Federal Procurement Process 

In October 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. This EO calls on Federal agencies to set and meet specific sustainability related targets throughout their operations. As part of this undertaking, GSA is leveraging its purchasing power to promote technologies and green products in recognition of the critical importance of “greening” the Federal procurement process. GSA is increasing its offerings of green products and services, providing training, and making it easier to find GSA's green offerings.

We will promote technologies and products that can be used in the Federal procurement process to make the Government’s supply chain more sustainable. The scale and breadth of the Government’s purchasing power has a significant impact, not only on federal government’s environmental footprint, but also on the Federal supply chain. 

Global Sustainable Procurement (SP) Hub

Sustainable Public Procurement projects aim to bring innovative highly energy-efficient environmental technologies, which have just been researched, developed and tested onto the market through the public procurement process. This will be done through IMC (integrated marketing communication) platform. Training programs are designed to support  and enable public authorities to become knowledgeable customers. We encourage early market engagement between public authority procurers and suppliers in the procurement phase and result in the issue of tenders.

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Finding and Procuring Eco Innovations - Creating a Lead Market for Eco Innovations

The Public Procurement Authorities have immense power to stimulate Eco Innovation and Investment in Eco Innovation. The public sector has the potential to be an effective lead market but barriers to fulfilling this potential will need to be overcome. How do we engage, support and enable public bodies to become knowledgeable and demanding customers that stimulate Eco Innovation?

Forward Commitment Procurement (FCP) Partner Project

FCP is a new approach for Government to procure services and products, effectively harnessing Eco Innovation to improve public services. Meeting the public sector’s service objectives often requires new and innovative solutions, including ones that aren’t actually yet available on the market. FCP seeks to encourage industry to develop products to meet identified needs by providing the potential supply chain with confidence that a market will exist for products that meet the needs at specified quality and performance levels and price.

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