How Green Are Your State’s Purchasing Practices?
A new benchmarking tool developed by the National Association of State Procurement Officials provides a coast-to-coast picture of states’ efforts to make their purchasing programs more sustainable.
Borrowing information gathered from a recent survey of its members, the National Association of State Procurement Officials created a new tool that will allow central procurement offices in each state to compare their green purchasing policies and procedures against one another.
The State Green Profile Map is a product of NASPO’s Green Purchasing Committee (GPC), whose mission is to identify and share best practices in the area of environmentally preferable purchasing. It currently includes profiles of such programs and activities in 23 states and Washington, DC, with more being added as states complete their surveys. Four states—Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, and Ohio—reported no green purchasing programs or activities.
Click to enlarge. Image via naspo.org
According NASPO, green purchasing is generally defined as purchasing a product that has a reduced negative effect or an increased positive effect on human health and the environment, when compared to other products that serve a similar purpose. Examples might include sourcing recyclable or reusable products and products that conserve energy or natural resources.
“The GPC envisions that the profiles will be updated regularly in order to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the material,” NASPO said in a statement on its website. “The profiles allow you to easily compare green contracts, [statutes], staff allocations, organizational structures, and other key information across multiple states.”
The map and state profiles are part of a larger effort by NASPO to educate members and their colleagues at state procurement offices on green purchasing practices. That work centers on the NASPO Green Purchasing Guide, a comprehensive report, originally released in 2009 and updated late last year.
“Implementing a green purchasing program is not always simple. Such efforts may be challenged by administrative hurdles, technical barriers, and skepticism from purchasers and product end-users,” the introduction to the report reads. “As a result, NASPO has developed this Green Purchasing Guide for its members and others to use in navigating the sea of information surrounding the adoption of a green purchasing program.”
Major challenges most organizations face in adopting green purchasing programs, according to the guide, include a lack of expertise and difficulty in determining best practices for implementation. NASPO believes the state profiles and map help solve those problems.