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eSourcing Wiki-Wednesday: Ten Steps to Green Procurement Part One


Ten Steps to Green Procurement - Steps 1 - 5

This section outlines the first 5 of a ten-step process that an organization can use to go green.

Commit to Being Green

Make Green a corporate mandate and create a green policy. This should come from the top. Specify that green is a top priority, and that all procurements for products and services must have minimum green requirements, as well as written authorizations to choose a product that is not among the greenest possible choices. Make it everyone's responsibility and make it a key component of compensation reviews and allocations.

Identify and Categorize Your Needs

Ask yourself: what are we buying, what do you need to buy, what environmental impacts do each of these products or services have, and do they have any similarities? Once you answer these questions, you can see where you can make a big impact. Then you can do something about it.

Develop Green Specifications and Standards

The first step is to develop green specifications and standards for every product you buy. If you buy a lot of office paper (and you probably do), you can insist on a minimum amount of recycled content and unbleached / non-chlorinated paper that is easily recyclable.

If you buy a lot of IT hardware, you can save the environment in a major way by insuring that your IT organization moves away from always-on-at-full-capacity mainframes to modern rack-based server clusters with dynamic resource allocation and virtualization and rack-based cooling that not only cut operating power requirements drastically (often in half), but also cuts power requirements for cooling (by 20% or more). You can replace all your energy-hog desktops with Sun and IBM thin-client technology that is anyway from 5 times more efficient to 20 times more efficient than your average desktop (depending on computing needs). You can replace your power-hungry CRT monitors with power-light LCD monitors. You can make sure that all of your equipment has automatic power-save standby modes that consume 1W of power or less if it is left on.

Wherever possible, you should use existing environmental standards such as Energy Star, or standard environmental ratings, factors, and best practices, such as might be recommended by LEED, EMAS, or the ICLEI KES in defining your specifications.

Establish Green Selection Criteria and Their Impact on Award Decisions

Once you have identified the standards you are going to use for each category, you have to outline the selection criteria, weight and prioritize them, and figure out how much of an impact they are going to have on your decision. What percentage of the decision must be based on green considerations? 20%? 50%? 80%? In some categories, where the difference between "green" and "not green" is not that significant, or where your overall spend, and therefore your overall influence, is low, it's probably not useful to take a hard stance - unless there are considerable cost savings or brand enhancements to be made. The categories where your spend is high, and the effect of going green is substantial, are where you need to focus your efforts, as that's where you can do the most good.

Focus on Identifying Products and Services which are Green

Generally speaking, if a supplier isn't green, or making an effort to go green, that supplier should not even be invited to bid. Make it a policy that, unless you are not able to identify at least three green suppliers, that a non-green supplier should not even be allowed to enter a bid. Also consider defining automatic exclusion rules for suppliers that still employ manufacturing processes that produce banned CFCs or products that (unnecessarily) contain lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphyenls, and polybrominated diphenyl ether (as restricted or banned under RoHS. Also, don't be afraid to show preferences to manufacturers and distributors who actively advance environmental conservation practices.

 eSourcingWiki is an open content community of strategic sourcing and procurement best practices. This wiki is intended to be a dynamic document that constantly adjusts and transforms to current trends and thought leadership in supply management. IASTA welcomes global contributors to assist in the ongoing documentation and knowledge building that is essential to creating useful information for supply management professionals.

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