Green purchasing

How Walmart’s green label aims to drive supplier ‘race to the top’

Read the full post in GreenBiz.

What do Tide laundry detergent, a poster covered in adorable puppies wearing headphones and a baseball hat emblazoned with the cast of Duck Dynasty have in common?

One, they’re all sold at Walmart. Two, the grab bag of products are all made by Walmart suppliers included in an initial batch of 150 companies that earned the right to be included in a new “sustainability leader” section of the mega-retailer’s growing e-commerce operation. Those suppliers range from consumer products giants like Procter & Gamble and Unilever to smaller businesses like California-based Musco Family Olive Co.

The new online badging program, announced on Tuesday at a company Milestone Meeting held just south of San Francisco, is an outgrowth of the company’s efforts to index supply chain sustainability standards across product categories. About 1,300 suppliers participated in Walmart supplier sustainability surveys last year, and about 12 percent of those companies have received the new sustainability leaders designation, Walmart Director of Product Sustainability Robert Kaplan told GreenBiz.

Simplifying Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has completed its Simplifying Environmentally Preferable Purchasing project, which was funded by the Roy A. Hunt Foundation. As part of the project, NERC developed Model Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Specifications and Purchasing Guidelines for paper, toner cartridges, and office supplies. NERC also created fact sheets on each of the EPP Model documents, and a press release about the newly developed resources. In addition, NERC presented a webinar on the importance of EPP and the EPP model documents.

Model EPP Specifications and Purchasing Guidelines

Fact Sheets on Model EPP Specifications and Purchasing Guidelines

Simplifying EPP Webinar, July 24, 2014

Press Releases

List of Other EPP Specs

CVS Health and WBA race to Rx for safer chemicals

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Environmental health advocates and investors have been prodding CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance to adopt comprehensive safer chemicals policies for products to reduce customers’ exposures to worrisome chemicals.

Both companies’ products comply with federal safety standards. But because federal regulations badly lag growing scientific understanding of chemicals’ toxic impacts, CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and other merchants are increasingly being called upon to serve as “retail regulators.” Growing numbers are implementing tougher standards than those established by government regulations.

Webinar: How Companies and Procurement Standards Can Protect Forests

February 10, 2015, noon-1 pm CST
Register at

Global concern over the health of forest ecosystems has grown in recent years. With good reason: Forests are critical to the health of our environment and our economy. For example, 53 percent of U.S. drinking water originates from forestland, and these same forests offset 12 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions. Yet forests face serious challenges from development, intergenerational land transfer and irresponsible forestry practices at a time when global demand is ever-increasing.

Forest certification standards emerged in the 1990s to provide the market with confidence that forest products come from responsibly managed forests. Today, demand for certified forest products outstrips supply, according to a 2012 report co-authored by the United Nations Environment Programme.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative launched a new set of standards in January 2015 which represents the interests of land managers, government agencies, industry, tribes, academics and researchers working together for the future of forests.

Many corporations are taking a stand on the future of our forests and are making direct investments in forests as part of their corporate strategies.

In this free one-hour webcast, you’ll learn:

  • Why forests matter as a solution to clean water, clean air, biodiversity, climate change and sustainable communities and more.
  • How responsible procurement of forest products can make a difference.
  • How forest certifications are a proof point of responsible forestry in a much larger conversation around the future of forests.
  • What a large multinational corporation is doing to invest in that future through philanthropy, paper procurement decisions and policies, forest carbon investments and more.


New Sustainable Purchasing Pilot Program Launches with $100 Billion in Purchasing Power

Eighty organizations with more than $100 billion in purchasing power have signed up to pilot the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v1.0, which will be released to the public on February 5th at 11AM ET via webinar.

The result of two years of work by leaders from government, industry, academia, standards organizations, and public interest groups, the Guidance is a multi-sector program designed to help organizations reduce their risks and contribute to a more sustainable future. The Guidance offers purchasers detailed advice for promoting market innovation and optimizing the environmental, social, and economic performance of their supply chains.

Some of the purchasing organizations that will be piloting the Guidance include, the US General Services Administration, US Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of General Services, Minnesota Materials Management Division, Lockheed Martin, Office Depot, the cities of Cleveland, Portland, and Santa Monica, King County, Emory University, University of California at Santa Barbara, and Portland Community College. Suppliers will also be participating in the pilot, including Asia Pulp and Paper, ASSA ABLOY, Ecolab, Little Footprint Lighting, and TreeZero. Enrollment remains open for those organizations interested in joining the Pilot Program.

“Organizations in a wide variety of sectors and regions can use this Guidance to understand the environmental, social, and economic life cycle impacts of their purchased goods and services, prioritize actions that best address these impacts, and benchmark progress toward performance goals,” says Executive Director Jason Pearson. “This Guidance is a voluntary program that will serve as the basis for a future rating system that rewards organizations who demonstrate leadership in sustainable purchasing.”

During the February 5th webinar, viewers will learn about:

  • The origins of Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v1.0.
  • How the Guidance operationalizes the Council’s consensus Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing.
  • How to use the Guidance to build a highly effective Sustainable Purchasing Program at any organization.
  • How to use the Guidance to efficiently improve the environmental, social, and economic performance of an organization’s purchasing in a number of high priority categories, including:
    • Chemically Intensive Products
    • Construction & Renovation
    • Electricity
    • Food and Beverages for Food Services
    • IT Hardware and Services
    • Professional Services
    • Transportation & Fuels
    • Wood and Agrifiber Products
  • How interested organizations can participate in the Guidance Pilot Program.
  • How the Guidance and Pilot Program will be foundational to the development of the Council’s sustainable purchasing rating system, which will evaluate how well organizations are taking responsibility for their supply chain’s environmental, social, and economic performance. The rating system is planned for release in 2016.

The Pilot Program is an intensive training, collaboration, and feedback period designed to engage purchasing organizations and entities affected by the Guidance, such as suppliers, standards developers, and certifiers. The Pilot runs from February through July 2015.

The Guidance is the result of two years of work by SPLC staff and stakeholders, including 90 expert volunteers from leading organizations in the government, NGO, and corporate communities who served on the Technical Advisory Committee and eight category-specific Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs).

About the Webinar
Date: Thursday, February 5th, 2015
Time: 11am ET

About the Council:
Founded in 2013, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership 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.

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

Read the full post from The Salt.

You want a cup of decaf. Your significant other is craving the fully caffeinated stuff. With the simple push of a button, Keurig’s single-serving K-Cup coffee pods can make both of you happy.

But those convenient little plastic pods can pile up quickly, and they’re not recyclable. And that’s created a monster of an environmental mess, says Mike Hachey. Literally…

The point, says Hachey, is to use cinematic tactics to raise awareness of the waste. Consider this startling statistic: In 2013, Keurig Green Mountain produced 8.3 billion K-Cups — enough to circle the Earth 10.5 times. (In 2014, output shot up to 9.8 billion portion packs.)


Draft Guidelines for Product Environmental Performance Standards and Ecolabels for Voluntary Use in Federal Procurement

From November 20, 2013 through April 25, 2014, EPA received input from more than 75 individuals and organizations on its proposed Draft Guidelines for Product Environmental Performance Standards and Ecolabels for Voluntary Use in Federal Procurement to help federal purchasers select greener products and meet sustainability purchasing goals. Read the comments received and EPA’s response.

The next step of the process is a pilot phase. EPA will contract with an entity to convene a coordinating Governance Committee, purchase category-specific multi-stakeholder panels, and an independent assessment entity(ies) to develop and pilot test an approach in a few sectors.

EPA has chosen the following three product categories to pilot in 2015 – building paints/coatings/removers, building flooring, and furniture. If funds allow, an additional yet-to-be-determined product category may be included in the pilot. In addition, EPA is interested in the potential for the Guidelines to be augmented/edited to apply to service sector standards and ecolabels (e.g., services related to building maintenance, cafeterias, and professional consultants, among others). The pilot for this sector would not assess service sector standards; rather the panel’s analysis and recommendations could potentially position the Guidelines to accommodate such assessments in 2016 and beyond.

These sectors were chosen because they meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • Potentially significant environmental and/or human health impact (based on lifecycle assessments and hazard and risk assessments);
  • Opportunity for environmental and/or human health improvement through private sector standards/ecolabels;
  • Significant volume of federal purchases; and
  • Current federal sustainable acquisition mandates in the category are limited, out-of-date, and/or could be augmented with private sector standards.