Eight Elements of Green Procurement

To help local governments improve their sustainability and reduce their environmental impacts, the California Sustainability Alliance has developed a guidebook for local governments thinking of adopting an environmentally-friendly procurement and purchasing plan. By weighing not only the purchase price of a product but also its full lifetime cost, green procurement policies can help local governments save money, create local green jobs and improve their environmental sustainability.

The Local Government Green Procurement Guide lays out eight steps for greening an organization’s procurement policy:

  1. Form a green purchasing team
  2. Conduct a baseline inventory
  3. Establish environmental criteria
  4. Develop green bid specifications
  5. Take advantage of partnership opportunities
  6. Establish a green procurement policy
  7. Educate staff and residents
  8. Regularly review policies for updating

To achieve these eight steps, the Green Procurement Guide provides local government staff and decision makers with a variety of tools and resources that can help them to make the case for and implement green purchasing programs. These tools include:

  • Draft language for creating new or modifying existing procurement policies
  • Detailed sample green bid specifications
  • Best practices from local, state and federal governments across the United States
  • Information on eco-labeling and links to public and private eco-labeling programs
  • Listings of environmental preferable products and vendors with rankings across 23 sustainability criteria
  • Case studies of California cities and agencies that have adopted green procurement programs

To get started developing your own green procurement policy, use this toolkit in conjunction with the Local Government Green Procurement Guide. In addition to the resources offered in the green procurement guidebook, this toolkit also makes available additional and expanded case studies on cities throughout the West, a database of green products available through state contracts, and even more links to green purchasing resources to help you guide you through development of an environmentally friendly purchasing policy.