Green Purchasing or Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) refers to the procurement of products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.
Global warming is an (essentially) indisputable fact*. Although one can dispute how bad it really is, how fast it really is occurring, and how much of it is our fault (since science has demonstrated that carbon content in the atmosphere has risen and fallen over the earth’s history and that solar cycles do contribute to the earth’s temperature), it cannot be disputed that we pump carbon into the atmosphere (which serves to raise the global temperature) and, especially in countries where strict pollution control is not (yet) the norm, we still pump other dangerous compounds into the atmosphere that lead to (further) ozone depletion and acid rain. Furthermore, with the recent Live Earth campaign, it, along with corporate social responsibility, is on the tongue of just about every consumer these days. Thus, it’s important to consider the impact of your purchases on the environment when sourcing, or it might come back to haunt you when you become the subject of the next media circus, which could quickly be followed by the next boycott of your goods and / or services.
So how do you learn more about Green Purchasing? The way I see it, you have two options. Hire an expensive consultant or go to a conference since there are not a lot of options from an educational perspective (yet). Although you probably should pursue the first option and bring in an expert in your sourcing project the first time you tackle a green initiative, you probably don’t want to pay one to educate you on the basics since this will put your consulting budget through the roof. To this end, I recommend going to conferences and learning the basics from your peers. Then you will be able to identify what projects can benefit the most from green purchasing initiatives.
Unfortunately, these conferences are still few and far between. Over the next six months, I’m only aware of two “green” conferences targeted at Procurement (of the 80+ sourcing-related conferences I’m tracking over on the Sourcing Innovation resource site): EyeForTransport’s Supply Chain Directions: Green Transportation & Logistics Summit in San Francisco (California) on the 25th and 26th of September and EyeForProcurement’s Green Purchasing Summit in Miami (Florida) on the 29th and 30th of November.
Even though it’s the first time EyeForProcurement is putting the event on, I believe the Green Purchasing Summit should be one event that you should consider. Since EyeForProcurement’s events focus on industry speakers, you’ll have the chance to learn from your peers. Furthermore, the round-tables represent a great chance to talk with your peers on issues relevant to you. So what will you learn?
According to the site, they are focussed on bringing in speakers with the knowledge and experience to help you:
- find out what benefits Green Purchasing has to offer
- learn how to apply environmentally preferable criteria early in your procurement process
- identify which ‘green’ products work well, or better, than traditional products
Unfortunately the agenda has not been finalized yet, but considering how overwhelming the conference season can get these days, I thought it was important to point out this event before it gets lost in the shuffle.
For those of you thinking of attending the EyeForProcurement Green Purchasing Summit in November in Miami, Florida, please note that EyeForProcurement is offering a 20% discount for all delegates who register and quote “Sourcing Innovation“.
* There are those that will dispute it, and those that will aggressively point out the flaws in those arguments, and those that will aggressively point out the flaws in the counter arguments, and so on, but since this is a blog about Sourcing Innovation and not about Global Warming, I have disabled comments for this post since I do not want a global warming debate. If you disagree with me, that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. If you do disagree, I hope you can at least respect the fact that I pointed out there are two sides to the argument, and that if you delve into the scientific facts, because of the complex interrelationships between all of the factors that influence climate, it is hard to precisely quantify.