What is Green Procurement?

eco enMichelle Blake
Environmental Specialist

Green procurement is the consideration of environmental performance within the procurement decision-making process. Procurement decisions play an essential role in driving sustainability and have an important impact on achieving environmental benefits.

Our commitment to green procurement is based on our sustainability commitments and we aim to be aligned with vendors that share our values on this topic. Vendors may demonstrate this through sustainable products or services, or sustainability policies and responsible actions. Engaging vendors on sustainability priorities and inviting them to be partners in environmental improvements is a critical element of best practices. High Impact Procurement Opportunity (HIPO) products & services, suppliers and contractors are those that are significant to our supply chain and, therefore, are important collaborators. To identify these vendors we look at risk, impact, volume, spend, and/or strategic importance to environmental improvements. Sustainability performance is an important aspect of ongoing vendor performance management. With the 22+U campaign underway, we are working towards a goal of 100% green procurement alignment with HIPO vendors.

Some of our primary green procurement alignments include vendors of our office products, uniform laundry services, print solutions, battery recyclers, waste management, wash bay water treatment, electronic devices, chemical use, and furniture. Through engagement with these vendors, we have attained various environmental and cost improvements including 21% of all office supply purchases in 2020 were products with "green" attributes and 600 kg of ink cartridges and 270 lbs of alkaline batteries recovered and diverted from landfill.

Everyone has a role to play in making green procurement successful. It is not just one group or person; it takes a team to deliver reduced environmental impacts and reduced costs. Our Procurement team and Sustainability Committee help with research of best practices, identifying green impacts, informing specifications and participating in reviewing bids to help validate green recommendations. Many staff have direct relationships with our supply chains and can help identify and recommend improvements. Recognizing how big our jurisdiction is, we do not always know who is doing what and where. Each region and province has different engagements and there is a lot of value in converging ideas. There have been some excellent campaigns put forth by branches and various departments to contribute to this objective, including switching to biodegradable plastic bags in the Merchandise Department and switching to coffee services that allows for recycling of coffee pods.

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