Green purchasing is not something new. It boils down to understanding the environmental impact of what you buy, and adding criteria to the purchasing process to reduce that impact. In that sense, there is a new knowledge-set to bring into the process. However, many institutions have already gone down that path. Much of their experience is available, and much of it designed to be replicated elsewhere.
Netherlands - Innovation Procurement at Erasmus MC
Erasmus MC cleans 70,000 beds each year and clean beds are seen as essential part of improving the patient experience and preventing the spread of infection. But such facilities are often very energy and water-intensive and the centre has ambitious targets to reduce its carbon footprint and has committed to decrease its energy use by 20% on 2008 levels by 2020.
The previous bed-washing machine was due to be replaced in 2013 and, during the procurement process for the new facility, the hospital set out to identify and procure a more effective and efficient solution.
Austria – The WIDES Database
To assess and control chemical risks arising from the application of disinfectants in Viennese hospitals, nursing homes, kindergartens and schools, the City of Vienna developed a cost free online database – the WIDES Database. The WIDES Database aims to minimise workplace health risks, in line with other chemical risks evaluation tools for occupational health. But beyond that, also assesses the risks disinfectants pose to the aquatic environment. The integration of environmental criteria in public procurement is part of the Vienna Waste Management Act and led to the implementation of the green procurement program "ÖkoKauf Wien / Ecobuy Vienna".
Since 2006, Stockholm County Council, Skåne Regional Council and Region Västra Götaland have been working together to promote social responsibility in procurement. Their work has resulted in now having a common code of conduct and follow-up model for suppliers. Together they procure goods and services to a value of around SEK 65 billion per annum. On the basis of the common code of conduct, these purchases can contribute to more sustainable production and consumption via requirements for the environment and human rights.
The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority aims to be a driving force for ethical trading and undertakes to set requirements for an ethical supply chain wherever this is a relevant issue. In 2010, they implemented ethical guidelines for purchasing and supplier contracts.