We may not associate many of our choices, like buying a cup of coffee or choosing a hotel, with pollution or environmental problems, but there are environmental impacts connected to the things we buy and use each day. "Green" purchasing is a way of using our power as consumers to benefit the environment-buying products that have lesser environmental impacts.
And just like individuals, governments, companies, universities, hospitals and other institutions make purchasing decisions daily. Large organizations like these can make a major contribution to improved human health and environment when they put in place a Green Procurement policy, mandating the purchasing of more "eco-friendly" products and services.
Why Green Purchasing? The Business Case
The North American Green Purchasing Initiative of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC NAGPI) recently researched Green Procurement in North America and found that both public and private institutions are identifying and measuring the benefits of their Green Procurement programs.
Governments and companies are buying green because it results in a number of benefits-not just because they think it's the right thing to do. Government organizations find that Green Procurement policies reduce overall costs, offer significant opportunity to use materials, resources and energy more effectively, improve employee health and stimulate markets for innovative new products and services.
Private businesses-in the face of continued competition, regulations and market pressures-measure a financial payback from purchasing products and services with lower environmental impacts and from selecting suppliers that are committed to improving their own environmental, health and safety performance.
Steering Committee is made up of major groups and agencies working with green purchasing in North America. NAGPI is housed at the CEC and plays a coordinating role to:
To find out more about Green Procurement and the CEC's NAGPI, contact the CEC's Environment, Economy and Trade Program at (514) 350-4328.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s work on green economy is driven by the priorities identified by Canada, Mexico and the US in the CEC’s 2013-14 Operational Plan (guided by the CEC’s 2010–2015 Strategic Plan) to green transportation in North America and tackle climate change and improve air quality.