What is a Green Procurement Policy and why is it Important?
Making purchasing decisions that are environmentally sound and socially responsible with as little wastage as possible. Read through to see our recommended guiding principles for a green purchase.
Green Procurement, Green Purchasing, and Sustainable Procurement refer to an environmentally friendly organisational Purchasing Management Plan. A Procurement Plan that causes minimal adverse environmental impacts ensures your business makes purchasing decisions that are ecologically sound and socially responsible with as little wastage as possible. It is an opportunity for your organisation to ensure that your purchasing decisions reflect your commitment to sustainability.
Green Procurement is about looking beyond availability and economics, ensuring that decisions positively affect the people and the community where the product is sourced. It is conscious of the impacts on labour, health and safety, human rights, and job creation during manufacturing and continues through the supply chain. It is about ensuring your decisions affect the environment positively, having minimal impact on the products’ production, transport, use, and end-of-life considerations. (Lifecycle Costing LCC or Cradle to Grave)
Of course, operational savings are to be had, from resource waste reduction, more efficient durable materials lasting longer, therefore minimising disposal costs, along with the benefits of sourcing locally, minimising transport costs and carbon footprint. A Green Procurement Policy can increase or maintain brand reputation, gain new customers, and ensure transparency, instilling confidence in your commitment to sustainability.
There are additional benefits of implementing a Green Procurement Policy. For example, products that consume fewer resources provide increased resource and operational efficiencies, such as energy-efficient lightbulbs and flow fixtures. The efficiency improvements translate to cost savings as well as resource conservation. Further benefits include improved health and safety for employees, from reducing the number of chemicals in use, creating a healthier workplace, buying organic or local for break areas, and promoting a healthier lifestyle.
Having a Green Procurement Policy improves employee engagement with product awareness and sustainable habits, creating a greener culture within the workplace and inspiring innovation regarding operational practices by evaluating products and procedures. Continually seeking out eco-friendly products, the green markets are supported whilst mitigating risks associated with using products produced by harmful or unethical providers.
Several strategies to keep in mind while purchasing items include supporting sustainable agriculture and sourcing locally from credible and certified businesses. Choosing biodegradable or compostable items where possible to avoid plastics. Choose ethically made and avoid overly packaged products. Always ask yourself, is it necessary to purchase this item in the first place? Where is it coming from, and what is the transport distance and method? What is the product material, how is it made, and where is it from? Be aware of the overall product packaging quantity, material, and type, and consider how to dispose of it. Question the working conditions where the product was manufactured, and whether those conditions suit your brand ethos. Consider how the product will be used, and for how long, consider its life expectancy, and of course, how will the product then be disposed.
Financial benefits include those incurred by indirect efficiency savings and reduced wastage. Significant savings can be made from planning long-term spending, more targeted and accurate purchasing (accurate and meaningful par levels), and accurately predicting future expenditure.
Procurement is an essential aspect of any organisation, and indeed for those in the hospitality industry. Procurement decisions affect every part of hotel operations.
Implementing a Green Procurement Policy is a powerful tool. It brings enormous benefits to both the organisation and those communities from which you source, ensuring that your purchasing practices are environmentally and socially responsible and in line with your organisation’s sustainability goals.
Written by: Tiffany McGrath