Which goods and services we purchase as an organisation is literally thousands or millions of ‘votes’ (in dollars) for the kinds of environmental impacts and ethical practices we support. So purchasing environmentally preferable goods and services is one of the key ways we can reduce our environmental impact as an organisation, as well as encouraging good environmental practice across our supply chain.
This is good for your organisation’s budgets and bottom line, as well as for the environment. Avoid standing orders of stationery, for example, and ask staff to dig out all the many pens and stationery items already sitting in their drawers – this can save thousands a year, depending on the size of your organisation.
Reduce unnecessary purchases
When you’re investigating a new supplier or running a tender for a new contract, make sure you ask for their Sustainability Policy and for details of how they will supply environmentally preferable products or services. Just asking for this information sends a ripple through your supply chain, requiring companies to consider the impacts of their products and business operations.
Specify for sustainability criteria in contracts and tenders
Develop a Green Purchasing Policy, or environmental criteria in your Purchasing Policy. Having your own policy and criteria for green purchasing or sustainability will help your organisation weigh environmentally preferable products against other criteria such as price, so you are able to select products or contractors who will provide better environmental outcomes and likely reduced running costs over the lifetime of a product. Work with your key purchasing staff and management to increase their understanding of environmental criteria. The criteria below can be a start point for developing your green purchasing systems.
Develop a Green Purchasing Policy
In order for the products we send to recycling to actually be recycled into a new product, we need to buy recycled content products that enable a market for recycling. Recycled content office paper, paper towels, toilet paper and tissues are all high quality products that use clean recycled office paper. There are also options for outdoor furniture, fence posts, bollards and boardwalks made from recycled soft plastics.
Buy recycled content
Buy energy efficient
Low emissions vehicles such as electric vehicles and hybrids will cut your organisation’s greenhouse gas emissions and save thousands on fuel bills. Video conferencing equipment, electric bikes for staff use, small cylinder efficient petrol fleet vehicles and a policy of using hybrid taxis are other ways.
Buy low emissions
If your organisation uses a lot of hot water, solar hot water will be a cost and energy saving step. If electricity is used during the day, solar PV panels will also be a cost and emissions-saving step. Get in touch with solar PV providers below for quotes and help calculating the payback period for panels – generally no more than seven years until electricity is free.
Water is a precious and limited resource, particularly in Taranaki’s Summer months. When buying appliances, choose as high a star on the Water Rating Label as possible, to reduce water use over the product’s lifetime.
Buy water efficient
Selecting products without toxic chemicals is good for both our health, as well as the health of our waterways, oceans and air. Discuss with your cleaning contractors and gardening or maintenance team options for substituting hazardous cleaners, herbicides or pesticides with low toxic options.
Buy low toxic
Supporting local businesss supports our local economy, jobs and families, and as we specify for environmentally preferable products or criteria, helps to shift local businesses towards more sustainable practice.
Working with your suppliers and delivery companies to reduce packaging or have them take back packaging they provide will save you having to deal with a mountain of packaging material. You can also request or require only recyclable packaging to be supplied, made from recyclable paper, cardboard, shredded paper or compostable corn starch packaging ‘foam’.
Local suppliers of compostable and recyclable packaging items include:
Reduce packaging, and preference recyclable packaging
If you know of other stockists/retailers/suppliers/services or all round fantastic sustainable sources please let us know so that we can include them.