Purchasing and procurement

As we can have a major influence on the amount of waste produced during purchasing and procurement, it is worthwhile spending some time working with your Procurement Specialist to identify options that don’t produce waste. Cost and quality considerations need not be undermined when environmental issues are taken into account within purchasing and procurement decisions. Significant environmental gains and reductions in waste can be achieved with small adjustments to the purchasing decision process.

Organisations that realise this are pushing for the incorporation of environmental criteria as part of many of their purchasing decisions. These range from the development of assessment criteria to cover environmental impact of materials or suppliers, to the implementation of environmentally aware purchasing policies in FHE institutions.

Such a policy could include aspects such as:

Many FHE institutions have an officer with overall responsibility for purchasing. You must convince them of the benefits to the organisation, and also to the environment, in order to gain their full support. As the environment becomes increasingly important, more purchasing officers are taking a greater interest in the potential role they can play. Many also have links with consortia that can use their considerable purchasing power to not just save money, but also to make environmental savings. Check with your purchasing officer about the environmental criteria that are adopted for purchasing by your institution and any consortia with which you are involved.

Strathclyde University has a section on Environmental Considerations in their Purchasing Manual. It is stressed that buyers throughout the university have responsibility for environmental purchasing, in addition to strict criteria for suppliers.

Leeds Metropolitan University has developed a strong approach to environmental purchasing and has confirmed its commitment with the implementation of an Environmental Purchasing Policy. Other guidance includes a Green Purchasing Guide.

Proc-HE – the body responsible for developing and implementing procurement strategy for Higher Education - has produced some guidance for environmental purchasing. The Proc-HE Vision highlights environmental issues as one of the criteria to be considered during procurement.

You can download the Sustainable Purchasing Guide for HEIs from the Proc-HE website

The Sustainable Supply Chain Forum provides information about how Public Authorities can Buy Green

The European Commission has produced a handbook on Green Public Procurement.