7. Educate End Users

Educating all local government staff, the end-users of all purchased products and services, is important to successfully adopting a green procurement policy. However, education of and support from the senior managers, purchasing department, and product specifiers is particularly essential in ensuring that a green purchasing policy will be effective and successful over a long-term period, as these individuals are responsible for many of the purchasing activities throughout an organization. For example, to ensure widespread adoption of its environmental purchasing policy, Nevada County, CA, requires purchasing departments to:

“inform other agencies, departments, and divisions of their responsibilities under this [environmental purchasing] policy and provide agencies, departments, and divisions with information about recycled products and environmental procurement opportunities;… [and to] develop and implement an ongoing promotional program to educate and inspire County of Nevada staff to implement this policy. Information concerning this policy will be added to the new employee orientation process.”

While educating staff is vital to promoting an effective green procurement policy, it is equally essential to educate external stakeholders, most importantly the vendors and suppliers who provide goods and services to the organization. Educating these individuals will increase acceptance of alternative products and avoid purchase of products that do not meet performance needs or expectations. For example, the California State Department of General Services works with the California State University to coordinate and deliver half-day workshops on environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP). The workshop trains state participants in California’s EPP program and State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign. Participants learn about the elements of EPP, how to identify key environmental attributes of products, how to specify environmentally friendly or green products, and what green products are available on state contracts.