What is Responsible Procurement?
Responsible procurement (also known as sustainable/green procurement, environmentally preferable purchasing [EPP] or sustainable/responsible purchasing) is a process by which environmental, social and ethical considerations are taken into account when making a purchasing decision.
Looking beyond the traditional parameters of price, quality, functionality and availability, it involves choosing products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health, the environment and society when compared to competing items that serve the same purpose.
One of the principles of responsible procurement is life-cycle costing (see more details below). It is a technique that establishes the total costs of purchasing a product or service, from “cradle to grave”, by asking questions relating to each stage of its life cycle.
It considers the following:
- whether a purchase is necessary at all;
- what products are made of;
- under what conditions they have been made;
- how far they have travelled;
- their packaging components;
- how they will be used; and
- how they will be disposed of.
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