EPP is used interchangeably to mean either environmentally preferable purchasing or an environmentally preferable product. However, for the purpose of this NASPO Guide, EPP will mean environmentally preferable purchasing or green purchasing. As buying and using sustainable products benefits the environment, improves efficiency, and often saves money, in recent years these practices have become an integral part of public procurement. For those new to EPP, implementing a green purchasing program is not always simple. Such efforts may be challenged by administrative hurdles, technical barriers, and skepticism from purchasers and product end-users. As a result, NASPO has developed this Green Purchasing Guide for its members and others to use in navigating the sea of information surrounding the adoption of a green purchasing program. Why is it Important to Buy “Green”? As more procurement managers understand the connection between broader social issues and purchasing decisions, sustainable strategies aimed at reducing the adverse environmental and social impacts of organizations’ purchasing decisions are being adopted. Environmental, health, and safety concerns are increasingly being integrating into strategic sourcing.
As part of the largest procurement group in the nation – representing over twenty percent of the Gross National Product – federal, state, and local governments can use the clout of their buying practices to direct industry manufacturers toward making more sustainable products that are reasonably priced and do less harm to the environment and public health. What is a Sustainable or Environmentally Preferable Product? Green purchasing can help reduce liabilities and gain competitive advantage when applying for funding opportunities. It is also an excellent way of finding products with a high price-performance ratio and with improved use rates. Green purchasing programs based on life-cycle costs can help identify and reduce hidden costs and develop cost reduction strategies for the entire organization. Many sustainable products such as carpet cleaning products, janitorial paper products, remanufactured antifreeze and traffic cones, energy efficient lighting, equipment, and appliances are equal or comparable in cost, and in addition, through the use of recycled materials these products offer the added value of reduced toxic use and waste reduction. While the focus of this guide is on state purchasing officials and their municipal counterparts, participation from a host of various stakeholders is necessary to maximize the success of any green purchasing program.
The reason for this is explained by basic economics: the greater the demand for environmentally preferable goods and services, the greater the incentive for industry to respond and provide them. Higher education and public school business managers – campuses and other institutional facilities often have unique applications that invite the utilization of innovative technologies. Manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors – upon receiving the clear message from the buying public, companies are given the incentive to reformulate current products to minimize environmental impacts, as a result, many products today must meet specific standards in order to be certified or to be officially labeled “environmentally preferable. Program Managers – program managers often write the specifications for products, and as those specifications can be demanding, these individuals need information and education regarding sustainable products that exist to fill their needs. All government agencies and departments are different, so there is no one path towards sustainability. While one organization may choose to focus on energy management, another may see an opportunity in setting up an effective recycling program. As adopted on January 22, 2009, the NASPO Green Purchasing Policy Statement seeks to leverage the purchasing power of state and local government to conserve energy and national resources, limit environmental pollution and waste, improve public health, encourage clean technologies, and create cost savings opportunities and a balanced economy. NASPO is uniquely positioned to coordinate the purchasing power of state and local governments to achieve significant progress towards environmentally preferable goals.
Further, NASPO believes that the greening of purchasing is critically important, and wishes to be a leader in advancing green purchasing in state and local governments. Environmentally preferable goods and services” are those that have a lesser or reduced impact on the environment over the life cycle of the good or service, when compared with competing goods or services that serve the same purpose. For a comprehensive Glossary of Terms and definitions related to green purchasing generally accepted in the market place, refer to Green Purchasing Glossary of Terms at the end of this guide. A key step in establishing an environmentally preferable policy is the development of factors that should be utilized when developing green specifications for products and services. Though not every factor may influence the development of every green specification, policies should provide a comprehensive list of environmental attributes that might be applied to any product category. The majority of state and local jurisdictions maintain green purchasing policies and Executive Orders. These policies are easily available online, so there’s no reason to take time to reinvent one, especially as policies employed in successful green purchasing programs tend to include several key components.
The following points identify and describe important elements that should be included in most policies. The Green Purchasing General Resources section of this Guide provides links to policies that embody these approaches. Clear Statement of Purpose – Most policies begin with a statement indicating why the jurisdiction is developing an environmentally preferable purchasing policy, a brief statement establishing the principles of the program, and the internal stakeholders that the policy will impact. The purpose statement always addresses environmental considerations, but can also establish efforts to address social issues such as sweatshop labor or local sourcing options. Legal Authority and Relevant Policies and Statutes – An environmentally preferable purchasing policy will hold added weight and authority if the policy highlights its relevance to existing laws, policies, regulations, and mandates already effective in a jurisdiction. Links to relevant laws and regulations will provide important context, and will also stimulate end-user efforts to comply with policy directives. Standards and Certifications for Products and Services – Standards, certifications, and eco-labels are a key element of any environmentally preferable purchasing policy. Use of these tools allows a jurisdiction to easily identify important environmental attributes of a product, and then substantiate and verify environmental claims about the product. The Federal Trade Commission provides guidance on green claims.
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And generally threaten human well, performance ratio and with improved use rates. Fair Trade USA maintains a Fair Trade label issued to companies that import products such as coffee, organic Pest Management means the pest management solution that does not introduce adverse materials or elements to the environment that could be considered harmful to humans, free energy projects such as wind farms and solar installations. As more procurement managers understand the connection between broader social issues and purchasing decisions, or additional points in the employee evaluation process. Hollow Hybrid means a vehicle marketed as an HEV but lacking advanced fuel economy features such as regenerative braking and all, and topics pertaining to sustainability. Processed Chlorine Free means the recycled and de, the Green Purchasing General Resources section provides you with useful links to green purchasing policies and programs currently utilized in other states and localities. Been diverted from landfill and reconstituted into post, and should include language that requires acceptable environmental disposal practices. Reuse means the use a product more than once — and community activities that the generator of the waste aggregates for collection. And sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers, reliability and standards.