Welcome to the third post in our Sustainable Procurement Series for public sector and higher education procurement professionals. We are exploring sustainable procurement, why it matters, how Periscope’s purpose intersects with it, examples of sustainable procurement in action, and how you can take action. Come back next Friday for the final post in this series. Click here to read the first post in this series and here to read the second post in the series.
Today’s post explores some examples of sustainable procurement in action.
Example #1: The State of Maryland ~ Source: Maryland Green Purchasing Committee web site and Summer Conference
The Maryland Green Purchasing Committee was created in October 2010. The Committee provides information, assistance, and guidelines for environmentally preferable purchasing, so that Maryland is procuring goods and services that have a lesser or reduced impact on human health and the environment.
This Committee was responsible for:
- Creating Purchasing Guidelines that address practices, products, services, and food that reduce negative impacts on human health
- Creating an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Best Practices Manual
- Creating and implementing a Strategy to Increase EPP Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)
As part of this effort, The State of Maryland’s Green Purchasing Committee has embarked on an important initiative around Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Reporting. Maryland is leveraging the NIGP Commodity/Services Code to define and report on spend in five categories:
1. Janitorial Supplies
2. Disposable Food Service Products
3. Paper and Office Supplies
5. Electronic and IT Products
- Maryland is piloting the reporting initiative now with the 20 constitutional agencies.
- Since the agencies are not yet all on a single system, the process they are going through is manual (leveraging Google Docs and running a report from there).
- Even with a more manual effort, the use of a standard coding system can help everyone report on an “apples-to-apples” basis. This is a strong testimonial to the value of the NIGP Code and its importance in helping to organize procurement data.
Read more about Maryland’s Green Purchasing efforts in the 2013 Maryland Green Purchasing Committee Annual Report.
Example #2: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts ~ Source: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts web site
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) Procurement Program helps the Commonwealth use its purchasing power to reduce the environmental and public health impact of state government and stimulate market demand for green products and services.
The primary goal of the EPP Program is to use the Commonwealth’s purchasing power to reduce the environmental and public health impact of state government and foster markets for EPPs. We are faced everyday with the reality that many of the products we buy can cause damage to the environment and/or public health from the extraction of raw materials and the manufacture of products, to their use and disposal, products that we use every day can be harmful. By purchasing EPPs, we look to reduce those impacts, some of which can be severe. The choices we make affect our local environment, our health and the global community. The power of the purse is an extremely effective tool for promoting products that do less harm and contribute to the overall well-being of our planet.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a detailed Recycled and Environmentally Preferable Products and Services Guide that contains an alphabetical listing of all the products and services that have recycled content or other environmentally preferable features available on Massachusetts Statewide Contracts.
More information about the sustainable procurement efforts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is available here
Example #3: San Bernardino County ~ Source: NACo Green Purchasing Toolkit, Success Stories
San Bernardino County Green Team Develops Standard Practices for Green Purchasing
- County: San Bernardino County, CA
- Population: 2,035,210
- Total Annual Procurement: $840 Million
- County Staff: 16,978
- Green Purchasing Policy Adoption: 2009
In 2009, San Bernardino County, CA, adopted an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy, based on the recommendations of an interdepartmental Green Team. Standard practices developed by the group, in coordination with the County’s centralized Purchasing Department, provided direction about green purchasing practices to County employees.
The Standard Practices include standard solicitation and contract language, definitions, environmental factors and service labels, and other market considerations for environmentally preferred products. In various categories, desired products are identified for stated reasons. The documents also outline practices related to the county’s printing and stationery policies, office equipment standards, and toxins and hazardous waste to be avoided.
Recommended Best Practices for Developing a Green Team:
- Include representatives from a diverse selection of county departments.
- Invite knowledgeable and proactive participants. When possible, include elected officials and their staff in the process.
- Develop goals and a timeline for accomplishments.
- Meet regularly.
Read the full details of San Bernardino’s sustainable procurement initiative here
You can read more Sustainable Procurement Success Stories by visiting the NACo Green Purchasing Toolkit and the NASPO Green Purchasing Guide, which includes a list of green purchasing policies and programs currently utilized in other states and localities.
Be sure to come back next week for the final post in our Sustainable Procurement Series! Tell us about your sustainable procurement efforts and challenges by commenting on this post. Have a great day!