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General Procurement Sustainability Guidelines

In general, it is important to apply various sustainability principles and guidelines to the procurement operation.

Examples of these include:

1. Procurement of environmentally-friendly materials, components, and packaging

2. Utilization of reuse and recycle programs

3. Appropriate disposition of scrap and obsolete materials

4. Incorporating sustainability concerns into procurement decisions

5. Incorporating sustainable goals into departmental and personnel objectives

6. Allocating more procurement to minority, women-owned, and small businesses

7. Keeping up to date with environmental regulatory changes, including recycled material, proper disposal of hazardous waste, and the reduction of ozone-depleting substances

8. Knowing regulations in countries within the supply chain regarding human labor policies

9. Reporting on supplier performance against sustainability targets

10. Ensuring distributors, suppliers and, contractors adhere to the company’s supply chain standards for ethics, environment, health and safety, human rights, child and forced labor, security, anti-trust compliance, emergency response, and other sustainability issues

11. Placing a greater emphasis on aspects such as supplier performance in sustainability, rather than price only

Product and Process Design / Specifications

It is important to include responsible and sustainable practices in any new or existing procurement requirements, which is often referred to as “green design.” This should be considered standard criteria.


Design for the Environment – This includes considering health, safety, and environmental aspects of a product during the design and development phase of product development.



When developing new products, working together with suppliers and other supply chain partners to establish material specifications can result in more efficient use of natural resources, reduced consumption of raw materials, and less waste. Sustainable design can be incorporated into the design process using various techniques. This typically involves comprehending the economic, social, and environmental impact of materials and processes used in the design, and adopting a “reduce, reuse, and recycle” approach when choosing materials.

There are numerous approaches to designing products with sustainability in mind, such as:

1. Reduce weight from products to reduce transportation costs

2. Use recycled or recyclable materials whenever possible

3. Maximize the useful life of products or materials through reuse or recycling

4. Reduce or eliminate hazardous or toxic materials and processes

5. Perform responsible testing to eliminate adverse effects on the environment, animal or human welfare

6. Confirm products and processes used are as energy efficient as possible

7. Utilize simplification and standardization to facilitate easier disassembly

8. Use renewable energy sources during the process

9. Minimize air and water pollution during processing

10. Use sustainably-sourced materials

It addresses the concepts of designing for:

1. Processing and manufacturing: minimizing waste and pollution

2. Packaging: elimination of unnecessary packaging, or the use of recyclable materials

3. Disposal or reuse: planning for the disposal of or reuse of a product at the end of its life

4. Energy efficiency: reducing overall energy consumption

A possible solution is to incorporate a section on sustainability features into the current specifications. This section should highlight how sustainability has been implemented, for example, through the use of alternative materials, redesigning packaging, and reducing waste. However, it is important to note that not all specifications can be made sustainable, especially when certain materials and processes are required.

Incorporating sustainability may affect the overall dimensions or appearance of the product, impact the cost, or reduce the number of available suppliers. Therefore, supplier performance criteria may need to be adjusted accordingly.

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