Green sourcing, also known as environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) or green procurement, is a procurement process that emphasizes the importance of environmental considerations when sourcing products or services. It involves the acquisition of goods and services that are more environmentally friendly or produced in a sustainable way. The key aspects of green sourcing include:
- Materials and Processes: Choosing products or services that are made with environmentally friendly materials or through sustainable processes. This may include products made with recycled materials, products that consume less energy or water in their production or use or products that generate less waste.
- Life Cycle: Considering the entire life cycle of a product, from raw materials extraction to manufacturing, distribution, use and end of life (disposal, reuse, repurposing or recycling). This life cycle analysis can help identify where the most significant environmental impacts occur and where there is the greatest potential for improvement.
- Supplier Practices: Evaluating the environmental practices of suppliers. This could include their waste management practices, energy use, emissions and compliance with environmental regulations.
- Certifications and Standards: Looking for products or suppliers that meet recognized environmental standards or hold relevant certifications. Examples could include Energy Star for energy-efficient products or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for wood and paper products.
Green sourcing can contribute to achieving sustainability goals, reducing environmental impacts, improving corporate image, and potentially realizing cost savings, for example through energy-efficient products or by reducing waste. However, it requires an organization-wide commitment and often involves working closely with suppliers to improve their environmental performance.