Green purchasing

Disposable Utensils Going Green

Read the full post from the National Park Service Commercial Services GreenLine News blog.

Choosing the right disposable flatware for your food service operation might seem like a daunting task. With so many options out there featuring different price points and a variety of green attributes, how can you tell which is the best choice?

Sustainable Purchasing 101: Tools for Buying Greener Products

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Sustainable purchasing is an effort to buy greener, healthier, and more sustainable products from greener, more sustainable companies. It is based on the simple concept that every single purchase has hidden human health, environmental, and social impacts and that it is possible to reduce adverse impacts by buying better products.

The hidden impacts occur throughout a product’s supply chain: from the point raw materials are scraped out of or harvested from the earth, to the preparation of the raw materials, the manufacturing processes, the packaging, use and ultimate disposal of the product, including all of the transportation requirements throughout the lifecycle. The cumulative total of the impacts defines the product’s sustainability footprint.

Sustainable purchasing means buying products with improved sustainability footprints that also meet price, performance and quality requirements.

4 ways to create a sustainable procurement process

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The rise of multi-tier, flexible distribution processes has made it easy for enterprises to grow lax when it comes to exercising sustainable practices.

Keeping an eye on 1,000 suppliers or more certainly isn’t easy, but there are four ways organizations can develop a more efficient, eco-friendly procurement process.

5 steps to reduce the chemical footprint of plastic products

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

By switching the type of plastic used in its IV bags, Dignity Health care system kept 700,000 pounds of high-concern chemicals — the equivalent in weight of a Boeing 747 airplane — out of the environment, according to BizNGO’s new analysis of plastics, The Plastics Scorecard v.1.0.

What does the ‘Cocoa Plan’ label on chocolate mean?

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

There are two kinds of chocolate bars in the world (well, in the United States, at least): High-end, organic, sustainably-produced bars that may or not boast rain forest illustrations on the package (but almost always come with a hefty price tag) and the rest – the mainstream candy bars that whisper “buy me” at the checkout line. Basically, the choice for most consumers has been conscious chocolate or corporate chocolate.
But now there’s a new cocoa on the block that has elements of both. And believe it or not, it’s from Nestle and its innovative Cocoa Plan; the seal that you can now see on all Nestle Crunch bars and will be slowly rolled out on more Nestle products in the future.

WaterSense Announces Notice of Intent to Develop Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler Specification

Nationally, outdoor water use accounts for about 30 percent of average household water use. To help increase outdoor water efficiency, EPA has announced its intent to develop a WaterSense specification for landscape irrigation sprinklers.

This Notice of Intent will complement the specification for irrigation control technologies, as well as the work WaterSense is doing with irrigation professionals. Water-efficient irrigation sprinklers deliver water more evenly to the landscape than traditional sprinklers and also regulate pressure to help ensure a constant flow rate.

Developing a specification that allows sprinklers to earn the WaterSense label will help provide more water-efficient irrigation equipment options to consumers and irrigation professionals.

Interested parties are invited to provide written comments or suggestions on this Notice of Intent by June 30, 2014 to For more information, visit:

As Summer Heats Up, New Room AC Standards Will Help Cut Cooling Costs

Read the full post from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

New energy-efficiency standards for room air conditioners that have been years in the making go into effect June 1 – just in time to help save on summer air conditioning bills. Not only will these standards save Americans money as the mercury soars this summer, but they were also set at levels agreed to jointly by efficiency advocates, manufacturers, and consumer groups.

EPA Adds Clothes Dryers to Energy Star Program, Increasing Energy Efficiency of New Appliances

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the first-ever Energy Star label for clothes dryers. If all residential clothes dryers sold in the U.S. meet these new requirements, the utility cost savings will grow to more than $1.5 billion each year and more than 22 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented. Informed by extensive input from manufacturers, retailers, the U.S. Department of Energy and environmental groups, the new specifications will recognize a selection of highly efficient electric, gas, and compact dryers that will use approximately 20% less energy than what is required by the minimum efficiency standards effective in 2015. In 2013 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to those of 38 million homes.

“The addition of clothes dryers expands the range of Energy Star products to include one of the most energy-intensive home appliance not yet covered by the program,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Working with industry on innovative approaches to address our changing climate, we are helping consumers select more energy efficient appliances, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.“

Over 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer, and these appliances account for approximately six percent of residential electricity consumption. Dryer models that meet the new Energy Star requirements are likely to have improved auto termination sensors, which help reduce energy use by more effectively ending the drying cycle once clothes are dry. Among the more efficient gas and electric dryers that will earn the Energy Star, consumers should expect to encounter a promising new technology.Heat pump dryers recapture the hot air used by the dryer and pump it back into the drum to dry more clothes. By re-using most of the heat, it creates a heat pump dryer that is more efficient and avoids the need for ducts leading heat out of the laundry room.

This new Energy Star specification also establishes optional “connected” criteria for residential clothes dryers. Energy Star dryers with connected functionality will offer consumers convenience and energy-savings features, such as an alert indicating there is a performance issue or feedback to consumers on the energy-efficiency of different cycle selections. These products will also be “smart grid” ready, meaning they will give consumers the option to connect their dryer with their local utility to save money on their energy bills, where those services are offered, and also facilitate broader electric power system efficiency.

To earn the Energy Star label, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs operated by recognized certification bodies.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold over the past 20 years. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 office buildings, schools and hospitals have earned the Energy Star label.

Learn more:

Groundbreaking Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing Launched

During a webinar on May 7th, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council unveiled a set of principles that define leadership in sustainable purchasing.  By providing a common reference point for sustainability excellence, the Principles enable greater alignment and benchmarking of sustainable purchasing efforts across all types of organizations operating in the multi-trillion dollar institutional purchasing marketplace.  The Principles will serve as a “moral compass” for the Council as it launches, at an upcoming public meeting on May 20-21, the development of a multi-sector program for guiding, benchmarking and recognizing leadership in sustainable purchasing.

The Council believes these Principles will help the institutional purchasing community achieve its full transformative potential, in much the same way that the UN Principles for Responsible Investment have helped investors to catalyze large-scale market transformation.  The development of a shared definition for leadership in sustainable purchasing will similarly enable efficient sharing of best practices, solutions, training, benchmarking, recognition, and policy efforts among organizations, sectors and regions.

“The Council supports a strategic approach to sustainable purchasing that is consistent across sectors,” says Executive Director Jason Pearson. “The potential for alignment, market influence, and supply chain innovation accelerate dramatically when we all speak the same language and use similar processes to evaluate and mitigate the impacts associated with institutional purchasing.”

“Lockheed Martin has been actively engaging both our procurement staffs and our suppliers towards a process very similar to the one outlined by the SPLC’s Principles,” said Dan Pleshko, Vice President for Aeronautics Quality Transformation at Lockheed Martin, and panelist during the Principles launch webinar. “We are experiencing how this process can allow us to more efficiently, effectively and strategically make progress toward our sustainability goals than we otherwise would have.”

More than 800 attendees representing nearly 40 countries took part in the webinar launch hosted by GreenBiz, which discussed the following:

  • The five essential principles for leadership in sustainable purchasing
  • How to put the principles into action at your organization
  • How suppliers can support customers’ implementation of these principles
  • How the principles can be useful to advocates for social and environmental responsibility
  • How the principles serve as a foundation for the development of a multi-sector guidance, benchmarking and recognition program for leadership in sustainable purchasing

The Principles are available at

The Principles were developed through an 18-month multi-stakeholder process that engaged leading organizations from a number of sectors, and included the collection of more than 300 comments via public forums and a comment period.  The final iteration of the Principles reflects the deliberation of a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) made up of SPLC members from the purchaser, supplier and public interest advocacy communities.

About the Council

Launched in 2013, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council builds on four years of work by the Green Products Roundtable, a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder forum convened by the Keystone Center in 2008.  The Council brings together leaders from government, industry, academia, standards organizations and NGOs to develop an integrated guidance, benchmarking, and recognition program for leadership in sustainable institutional purchasing. The Council will hold a public meeting for all interested stakeholders on May 20-21 in Washington, DC. More information is at:

SPLC’s founding members

  • Aflac
  • American University
  • Apex Clean Energy
  • Arizona State University
  • Bloomberg
  • Caesars Entertainment
  • CIPS Sustainability Index
  • City of Portland, OR
  • City of San Francisco, CA
  • Dell
  • Domtar
  • Ecolab
  • Emory University
  • Ernst & Young
  • FairTrade USA
  • FedEx
  • GreenCircle Certified
  • JCPenney
  • King County, WA
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Michigan State University
  • Office Depot
  • SciQuest
  • Social Hotspots Database Project
  • State of California, DGS
  • State of Michigan, DTMB & DEQ
  • State of Minnesota, PCA & MMD
  • The Carbon Neutral Company
  • The District of Columbia
  • UL Environment
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • US Department of Energy
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Waste Management
  • SCS Global Services

SPLC Founding Partners

  • The American National Standards Institute
  • The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association
  • BSR Center for Sustainable Procurement
  • Institute for Supply Management
  • ISEAL Alliance
  • National Association of State Procurement Officers
  • Practice GreenHealth
  • The Product Stewardship Institute
  • Responsible Purchasing Network
  • Sustainable Food Lab
  • Sustainability Standards Partnership
  • UNEP Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative