What is Sustainable Procurement?
Sustainable procurement is a purchasing and investment process that takes into account the economic, environmental and social impacts of the entity's spending. It involves organisations taking onus of the environmental impacts of their supply chains and putting into practice systems to reduce that impact where possible. This may include:
- choosing to purchase from suppliers with transparent practices,
- Putting pressure on suppliers to change their practices or
- Asking suppliers for information around their practices
Why is it important for your business?
Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the environmental impacts of their purchases. With that, they are more likely to scrutinize a product before supporting a company. This calls for businesses to be transparent in their practices and reduce green washing where they can. Sustainable Procurement is a mechanism for businesses to control the impact their product or service has over the entire supply chain.
Steps for putting sustainable procurement into practice
- Identify all consumables and commodities
- List those that have an environmental effect that could be reduced
- Identify the costs of alternatives and the impact each will have
- make a prioritized list based on largest positive environmental impact for lowest cost
- Apply a sustainable procurement strategy to those key priorities
- Track success and positive impact to report back to stakeholders
For help formulating a strategy follow the Guide 1 to Sustainable Procurement Identifying Sustainable Procurement Priorities
Sending paper, card, plastics and other material to recycling is a new beginning, not the end of the story,even though it may feel as casual as throwing waste 'away' to landfill! The recycling process may up-cycle materials, to make them more valuable or gradually down-cycle them - such as turning high grade paper to low grade paper or card, which may last for five or more 'cycles' before its only good for compost.
Turning waste bleached-white paper fibres into photocopier and printer-suitable recycled paper is done in several Australian mills, from where we can buy 20%, 50% and 100% recycled A4 and A3 sheets. Look for paper that meets the Environment Choice standard. Suppliers include Staples NZ paper and Reflex from Australian Paper in Victoria, imported by Spicers, endorsed by Planet Ark
Toilet tissue is also available in 100% recycled form. Achieve a great water saving and chemical use impact and reduce the number of trees being felled to just flush down your loo! Planet Arks' video explains why.
See also links on our reduce waste at home page for re-use shops around NZ.