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Almost all the products and services your organisation buys and sells will have their own environmental impacts. This may be related to the production, transport and eventual disposal of goods, or the impact of the organisations providing a service to you.

Taking sustainability into account during your procurement process will lower your organisation’s carbon footprint and help encourage more sustainable business practices amongst potential suppliers. Similarly, taking sustainability into account for the products you sell will help reduce your customers’ carbon footprints.

What to consider for the products you buy and sell

  • Where the product comes from. Is it produced somewhere with strong environmental regulations?
  • Does it have a high transport-related impact?
  • What it’s made of. Is the material sustainable like certified timber or recycled plastic?
  • If it breaks, can the product be repaired to avoid disposal and replacing it with something new?
  • How long it will last? Consider the whole life cost and avoid buying cheap items that won’t last.
  • Can you or your customers fully recycle it at the end of its life?
  • Does the product come or is it sold in recyclable packaging or containers? Remember that black plastic containers often can’t be recycled, even if they’re made out of recyclable plastic because recycling facilities cannot separate them.
  • Does your supplier deliver to you using zero emission vehicles?

What to consider when buying services from someone else

If you’re procuring a service from another organisation, you might want to consider their environmental impact.

  • Do they use zero emission vehicles or equipment?
  • Are their sites or servers powered by renewable energy?
  • Is the service paperless?
  • What are their other environmental impacts like?

If you are a large organisation, you could create procurement rules or guidelines for staff to consider when carrying out procurement.