Sustainable procurement, also known as green procurement, is a process of purchasing goods or services that takes into account the social, economic and environmental impact of the product throughout its entire life cycle. The aim is to minimize adverse environmental impact and promote positive social outcomes while delivering economic benefits like cost savings. Sustainable procurement considers several aspects:
- Environmental Impact: It involves considering the environmental footprint of the products or services. This can include aspects such as the materials used, the manufacturing process, the product’s efficiency, its packaging, and its disposal or recycling potential.
- Social Responsibility: Sustainable procurement includes a consideration of human rights and labor standards within the supply chain. This includes ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and no child or forced labor.
- Economic Factors: While cost-effectiveness is a crucial aspect of procurement decisions, sustainable procurement means considering the broader cost to society, not just the price paid by the company.
- Life Cycle Assessment: This involves considering the impact of a product or service over its entire life cycle – from raw material extraction, through production and use, to disposal or recycling.
- Supplier Engagement: Sustainable procurement encourages working with suppliers to improve their sustainability practices and to ensure they meet the necessary criteria for responsible production.
By making purchasing decisions based on these considerations, organizations can drive demand for more sustainable products, reduce their environmental impact, and enhance their corporate reputation. It is a crucial component of corporate social responsibility and contributes to the achievement of sustainability goals.