Do you consider the sustainability of your business purchases?
Every business regularly purchases and produces goods and services. Whether these are to be consumed directly within their daily business or whether they are purchased as a component of the end products they are selling, the impact of every product and service made within our global economy is extremely significant.
Sustainable purchasing is about identifying our purchasing behaviour across our daily business and actively making more ethical and conscious purchasing and production choices to ensure our total business impact is more positive than it is negative. Whilst this is a very broad and challenging task, a transition and commitment to sustainable purchasing is effective in improving our business practices for all stakeholders.
- Include Sustainability Procurement in your Sustainability Policy and include purchasing specifications for suppliers or contractors. Make it publicly available.
- Educate/train staff on sustainable purchasing
- Promote your sustainable purchasing initiatives to customers via FB/website.
The choices that we make as a business around what goes into our products, how they are made, how they are disposed of and who is responsible for that all relates to what we refer to as Product Stewardship.
Product Stewardship means that whoever designs, produces, sells or uses a product takes responsibility for minimising the products environmental and social impact throughout all stages of the products lifecycle, including end of life management.
- Apply product stewardship principles to design process
- Conduct a product life-cycle assessment
- Establish a take back program for relevant products
- Request a sustainability report from your current suppliers and partners to see how they manage their waste and recycling, if they do anything to reduce their energy usage, carbon emissions etc.
- Implement Social and Environmental targets relevant to your products and service delivery eg % recycled content, ban on single use plastic, % of line items organic / fair trade etc
- Investigate relevant product certifications / accreditations for your products and services
WHAT ELSE DOES IT INCLUDE?
Every business regularly buys and produces goods and services. How about thinking twice and making a sustainable choice when you next make a purchase or next design a product / service.
Your business may purchase everything from tea and coffee for the office, paper and cartridges for the printer, uniforms for your workers, carpet for a refurbishment, mobile phones, electricity and the list continues.
Sustainable purchasing is all about thinking twice and making a choice when you purchase goods and services. Reviewing labels, accreditations and messaging on both the goods and services you purchase and those that you are selling yourself is an important step in transitioning to sustainable purchasing for your business and your customers.
- Give preference to local products and services
- Switch to safe non-toxic environmentally friendly cleaning products
- Create a list of items purchased and consider whether these items can be replaced with products with post-consumer recycled content if they aren’t already (labels, toilet paper, paper towels, notepads, folders, napkins etc.)
- Purchase appliances with a minimum 4 star energy and water rating Energy Star Rating Water Star Rating
USEFUL LINKS AND RESOURCES
- Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) Product Certification
- Seek out Ethical Superannuation options e.g https://www.responsiblereturns.com.au/
- Seek out Ethical bank options for your business banking needs e.g Bank Australia https://www.responsiblereturns.com.au/ https://www.bankaust.com.au/responsible-banking/
- Read the Sustainable Procurement Guide from the Australian Government’s Department of Sustainability.
- Cityswitch Sustainable Procurement Quick Guide – Download