The Ethics of Green Purchasing for a Green Business

Jan 12, 2011 11:00 AM ET

Green Path Guide

One of the big missing pieces in the success of the Green business community is willingness to “Give Green a Chance.” (a la John Lennon).  On the serious side, “Buying Green” is simply good ethics when companies are asking its customers to “Buy Green” from them.  To make this happen in a seamless fashion, we have composed a basic text that we encourage your firm to insert into all RFPs and Contract bids.

“In harmony with the EPA’s ‘Environmentally Preferred Purchasing,’ we (require/prefer/desire) that all bids submitted include an independent Green Certification of the company, products, or workers required via the proposed contract. Green certification refers to the operational aspects of the company often referred to as ‘Green Practices.’  Self-assertion of environmental merit does not resolve potential greenwashing concerns.  Therefore, a company demonstrating an environmentally credible operation by an independent review shall be a minimum requirement for all vendors, suppliers, and business relationships.”

If you think about it, this process is like any other bid requirement.  It passes no extra cost over to the company by sending out RFPs with the Green clause, and your company can still seek competitive bids.  In many cases, the Green practices of the bidding company are not more expensive, but a transition to the Green alternatives.

This is truly one of those “no-cost” Green applications that people seem to ignore.  While thinking about capital improvements with an 10-15 year ROI, there are hundreds of little or no cost improvements that can be added to nearly any business.  Instead of starting with the largest applications, why not look as the numerous smaller and practical changes that can be made?

We call these “Green Practices.”   So, what happens if a company uses recycled plastic trash bags instead of virgin plastic.  Can printers be set to a default of duplex printing?  Can blown out bulbs gradually be replaced with higher efficiency bulbs?  This is what we refer to a “Transitional Green.”  Step-by-step nearly any company can accomplish a major improvement in operation with just a little guidance.  That is the Green Path system.

Add the Green clause to all RFPs and contracts couldn’t be easier.  If a company complains about the cost or trouble of Going Green, point them to the Green Path Assessment program.  Besides, the increased appeal of a Green vendor should improve the cash flow instead of hurting it.

Many great ideas come from simple solutions.  By helping promote Green purchasing, your company will have a serious impact on their industry, their community, and our world.


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