Aggregate Your Purchasing Power
Public agencies have the capacity for tremendous collective purchasing power, but there are barriers to collaboration in regular purchasing that must be overcome to realize the potential.
Sustainability champions across a range of local government agencies joined forces to build a web-based tool for sharing information about environmentally preferable purchasing policies and specifications. The “Sustainability Workshop for Government Agencies”, hosted by the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA) is developing a web-based tool for aggregating purchasing power for environmentally preferred items. Using this tool, government agencies can get more competitive prices on environmentally friendly items such as low-VOC paint, Energy Star office equipment, greener building materials and other items. This online tool will enable them to reduce costs on key items such as solar PV systems, green building materials, equipment and vehicles.
One powerful way of reducing CO2 emissions is to ensure that the wide range of items purchased by government agencies are energy efficient. Types of items with significant energy profiles include: lighting, appliances, office equipment, vehicles, building supplies, and other products and equipment. Environmentally preferred purchasing policies help establish guidelines and recommendations for specifications that purchasing officers can use to write requests for information, quotes and proposals (rfi’s, rfq’s and rfp’s).
When the governmental agencies in a region all are specifying energy efficient and environmentally preferred goods and services, the market will respond by increasing supply, reducing costs. This aggregation of demand makes it easier for the private sector to shift to environmentally preferred purchasing, as well. One successful example of this is that 100% recycled content paper is now at cost parity with partial recycled content paper.
Sustainable Silicon Valley is currently seeking funding to extend the impact of our work with governmental agencies in the region to provide education, guidance and web-based resources to accelerate the adoption of environmentally preferred purchasing policies and to increase purchases of environmentally preferred items.