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As a member of ECO-Buy, you are joining a group of leading organisations that have committed to taking practical steps to reduce their environmental impacts and improve social outcomes through sustainable procurement.

So what do you need to do now you are a member? In the tabs of this resource section we have provided practical first steps and corresponding resources to help you implement sustainable procurement practices.

The resources are organised in accordance with the UK’s Flexible Framework, which aims to implement a consistent approach to sustainable procurement. The Flexible Framework allows organisations to integrate sustainable procurement over time based on five categories: People, Policy, Process, Supplier Engagement and Measurement.

ECO-Buy LinkedIn Forum

ECO-Buy hosts a discussion forum on LinkedIn for members to share information about their green purchasing experiences, ideas, challenges and successes.

To enter the forum, click here.

ECO-Buy member logo

We encourage you to promote your membership to the program by using the ECO-Buy member logo, for example, on your website, email signature, newsletters.

To download the logo, click here.

Sustainable procurement news

ECO-Buy collects sustainable procurement and supply chain related news from around the globe on a curated news stream available to our members. This resource is very valuable to not only hear about new reports, incidents, and case studies as they happen, but also to search back through the archives next time you need a good example.

To see the news site, click here.

Please Note: All material included in the ECO-Buy Resources is only available for use by organisations who are currently members of ECO-Buy.  It should not be shared or made available outside of member organisations.


People

 

Communicate your commitment

You have executive level commitment and sign off – now use all relevant communication channels to tell stakeholders that you are an ECO-Buy member. To help you communicate joining ECO-Buy to your stakeholders, use the media release template below.

Media Release - Joining ECO-Buy

Form an ECO-Buy working group 
The first step to embedding sustainable procurement practices into your organisational planning and day-to-day operations is to establish an ECO-Buy working group or include sustainable procurement as a standing item on the agenda for an existing procurement, sustainability or similar group.  

Ensure key purchasing and procurement staff, sustainability staff and senior management are part of this group. Use the template below to help you develop the working group terms of reference. 

Working Group Terms of Reference

What, why and how to buy green 

The ‘What is a Green Product Guide’ below offers guidance on setting up your organisation’s definition of a ‘green’ product. ECO-Buy defines green products as those that are less damaging for the environment and/or human health than competing products that serve the same purpose. 

The ‘Why and How to Buy Green Guide’ below is an introduction to green purchasing, including:

  • Why green purchasing is fundamental to walking the talk on sustainability 
  • The triple bottom line of green purchasing 
  • The power of your purchasing decisions 
  • What is green? 
  • Seven simple steps to buying green

The ‘Why and How to Buy Green Guide’ provides material than can be easily adapted for informing and influencing thinking about green purchasing within your organisation. 

What is a Green Product Guide 

Why and How to Buy Green Guide

ECO-Buy e-learning tool - green purchasing fundamentals

ECO-Buy has developed an interactive e-learning module designed to be shown to staff for inductions and training, taking around 20 minutes to complete. 

It includes many interactive activities and tests and can be tailored to include excerpts from your organisation's own procurement policies into the module.

The module can be incorporated into your learning management system to log participant completion and test scores. The cost of this module is $2,300 (plus GST). A PDF of the module is available if you would like to review the content. Please contact ECO-Buy for more information.


Process

 

Prioritise

Organisations can define their environmental procurement priorities based on an assessment of environmental risk and their ability to influence environmental outcomes through procurement. This helps determine which spend/contract areas to focus your efforts on. Use the quick prioritisation tool below to do this. 

Quick Prioritisation Tool 

ECO-Buy also offers guided workshops to assess and prioritise which of your spend areas to address. To find out more, please contact your program manager. 

Develop an action plan 

Your action plan should identify what will be done, by whom and by when, and include targets for achievement that are both ambitious and realistic. You may wish to integrate sustainable procurement actions with a procurement or sustainability strategy or action plan. The key should be finding a process that has a regular opportunity for progress review within your organisation, works in with the existing frameworks and allocates accountability for implementation.

Action Plan Template

The examples of sustainable procurement actions below will take you through a broad range of considerations for your action plan; from developing a policy and reviewing existing purchasing procedures, to staff training and supplier engagement.

Examples of sustainable procurement for your action plan

Become familiar with green products available

Below is a shopping list that you can use as a checklist when looking at green products you are currently purchasing and areas you’d like to focus on in future. 

Shopping List 

Guide to including sustainability in value for money assessment

The Australian Government engaged ECO-Buy to write a toolkit for government procurement staff to include sustainability considerations in all stages of the procurement process, including how to calculate value for money, which was made publically available in 2013.

It should be noted that the terms whole-of-life costing (WLC), life-cycle costing (LCC) and total cost of ownership (TCO) are regarded by many organisations as interchangeable and are treated as such in the guide.

Specifically this guide provides information on: how to undertake a whole-of-life costing for goods, which life-cycle stages to consider, which costs to include and other considerations in conducting the calculations.

It includes an example of a whole-of-life costing assessment.

Guide to including sustainability in value for money assessment

Green claim or greenwash?

Greenwash is the practice of making false, misleading and/or deceptive claims about the environmental practices of a company or the environmental attributes of its goods and/or services.

You can find more information about greenwash in the Sustainable Procurement Guide (2013) that ECO-Buy developed to assist Australian Government purchasers to include sustainability considerations in all stages of the procurement process. Refer to the ‘greenwash’ section, pages 39 – 44.

 


Policy

Developing and adopting a sustainable procurement policy is an essential step in shaping your organisation's sustainable procurement outcomes. A policy expresses your organisation’s commitment to buying sustainable goods and services, outlines your sustainable purchasing/procurement priorities, and gives staff a clear sense of what is expected of them when making purchasing/procurement decisions. The following resources will assist you in the development of your sustainable procurement policy.

Sustainable procurement policies:

It is suggested that the model sustainable procurement policy be modified to reflect your organisation's specific circumstances and priorities. Your sustainable procurement policy can be incorporated into your general sustainable procurement, or included as an appendix – either way it needs to be:

  • Consistent with existing policies (including existing purchasing, contract and tendering policies; sustainability and social responsibility policies; occupational health and safety policies; and environmental and quality management systems)
  • Reviewed regularly (ideally every 2 years)
  • Communicated to staff and other stakeholders (e.g. through staff training or education events, pages on your intranet, newsletters, messages from your CEO, and staff inductions)

ECO-Buy acknowledges the sustainable procurement policies of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), City of Yarra and Whitehorse City Council that were referred to in the development of the model policy.

Model Sustainable Procurement Policy

Some examples of organisational sustainable procurement and supply chain policies: 


Engaging Suppliers

It is important to work proactively with your suppliers to assist them in providing you with the sustainable procurement outcomes that you want, to understand the environmental and social sustainability risk profile of your suppliers and to support them to improve identified aspects of their sustainability performance over time.

The first step can be simply communicating your environmental and social preferences to suppliers and asking what they are currently doing. ECO-Buy offers some tools to assist you with this as follows.

Supplier sustainability questionnaire

The supplier questionnaire is designed for both existing and potential providers. It seeks information on the sustainability attributes of the supplier’s organisation, rather than the product or service they provide.

It is a ‘pick and choose’ questionnaire, i.e. not all questions in the document should be asked of the supplier. Questions should be chosen based upon the organisation’s sustainability objectives/targets and identified risks.

You will need to include sustainable product and service specifications in contract and tender documentation and assess accordingly to secure more sustainable products and services.

Supplier sustainability questionnaire

Supplier sustainability questionnaire – guide (to be used in conjunction with questionnaire)

The guidance document is intended to be used alongside the supplier sustainability questionnaire. There are five ways the questionnaire can be used, for example, to assess the environmental performance and/or commitment to sustainability of suppliers participating in a tender process or track the performance year on year of existing suppliers. It also provides a scoring system for the supplier sustainability questionnaire.

Supplier sustainability questionnaire - guide

 


Tracking and Reporting

Why track and report? 

Measuring your sustainable procurement progress is essential for continuous improvement - you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Tracking and reporting:

The ECO-Buy reporting process for Local Government members 

ECO-Buy Local Government members can report their sustainable purchasing expenditure and progress through the annual reporting process. The reporting period covers the 2013-14 financial year and reporting is due on 22 August 2014. The combined results of the reporting process are published annually in the State of Local Government Sustainable Purchasing Report. The report consists of two parts, which are outlined below along with a reporting instructions document. 

Instructions for Local Government Annual Reporting 

Part One: Sustainable Procurement Assessment Tool (SPAT) 

The first step is completing Part 1 of the ECO-Buy Sustainable Procurement Assessment Tool (SPAT) which you can find linked below. The tool involves a self-assessment of your organisation’s operational and organisational procedures. It is best completed by someone with a high level of knowledge about the organisation. It focuses on five broad areas of operational control including: 

  • People - staff training and responsibility
  • Policy, strategy and communication 
  • Procurement process - risk assessments and tender process
  • Supplier engagement
  • Measurement and reporting

Access the Sustainable Procurement Assessment Tool (you will need to register the first time you use it). Complete Part 1 only.

Part Two: Expenditure Report 

The primary indicator used by ECO-Buy to track sustainable purchasing progress is expenditure on sustainable products and services. The second part of the reporting process requires members to track and report their annual sustainable spend for an entire financial year. ECO-Buy has set criteria around the types of products that qualify as environmentally and socially preferable. See below a link to the Expenditure Report template. 

Expenditure Report (new)

Comprehensive Expenditure Report template

Other organisational members 

Business and state government ECO-Buy members (ie non-local government members) are encouraged to report on their progress via the Sustainable Procurement Assessment Tool (SPAT), which you can find linked below. Part 1 involves a self-assessment of your organisation’s operational and organisational procedures. It is best completed by someone with a high level of knowledge about the organisation. It focuses on five broad areas of operational control including:

  • People - staff training and responsibility
  • Policy, strategy and communication
  • Procurement process - risk assessments and tender process
  • Supplier engagement
  • Measurement and reporting

Part 2 of the tool allows you to track your actual purchases, requiring you to provide your actual expenditure in different procurement categories on environmentally and socially preferable goods and services. This part is optional and entirely confidential.

Access the Sustainable Procurement Assessment Tool (you will need to register the first time you use it).  


Purchasing Category Guides

 

ECO-Buy has developed environmental specifications and guidance for a range of product and service categories. Some product and service categories now include social specifications and guidance, in addition to environmental. Each category includes:

  • Model clauses for specifications 
  • What the environmental issues are 
  • A checklist and tips for purchasers 
  • Advice on comparing products, where applicable 
  • Relevant links

New purchasing guides are continually being developed - if your organisation is looking for guidance on a category not represented, please contact us. 

ECO-Buy has also developed a greening your contracts and tenders workshop that enables you to learn how to simply and effectively introduce sustainability specifications into the procurement process. For more information see the ‘Training and Events’ tab on the ECO-Buy website or contact us. 

ECO-Buy guides:

ECO-Buy is currently reviewing the following purchasing category guides: refrigerators, recycled content pavements, playground surfaces, compost and mulch, recycled content plastic products and toilets and urinals. If you need information in the interim on these product categories, please contact your ECO-Buy program manager.

Australian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) product category guides

The APCC developed better practice product category guides in 2009 and 2010, which ECO-Buy encourages you to view below. Where new information has become apparent, ECO-Buy has included updates in the guides where applicable. Look for the highlights to see ECO-Buy’s comments.

How to Buy Sustainable Services

The Australian Government engaged ECO-Buy to assist government agency procurement staff to implement sustainability considerations in their purchasing of services, especially office-based such as legal, insurance, financial, audit and accounting, consulting and human resource. The guide is equally applicable to local and state governments and business.

You can view the guide on how to buy sustainable services here.

Lighting

Moreland Energy Foundation (MEFL) presented on how to buy environmentally preferable lighting for council buildings at the 2013 member network meeting.

He presented on the key considerations to make when selecting environmentally preferable lighting, as well as specifications and what to ask suppliers. He talked about lighting approaches for different types of council buildings, including offices and sporting grounds, as well as disposal options. Information can also be applied to business and state government organisations.

Watch his presentation on how to buy environmentally preferable lighting    

View the slides on how to buy environmentally preferable lighting

Street furniture and signs

ECO-Buy provided guidance on how to include sustainability considerations into a signs and street furniture tender for a local government member.

Read the guidance for signs and street furniture here

Solar panel tendering - example from Moreland City Council

Moreland City Council went out to tender for solar panels in September 2014. See the specification used here and the technical attachment here

Recycled Mixed Plastics Purchasing Toolkit

ECO-Buy has developed a toolkit to provide buyers with independent information on the features, uses and specifications for recycled plastic products. View it here.

Best Practice Waste and Recycling Contracts for Business

Sustainability Victoria has released a 3 step guide for businesses to achieve best practice in waste and recycling services and contract arrangements for business. View it here

This document is a summary of the below comprehensive guide:

Guide to Best Practice Waste and Recycling Contracts for the C&I Sector

The Guide to Best Practice Waste and Recycling Contracts for the C&I sector was produced by Hyder Consulting. It provides a detailed reference for businesses to make informed decisions during the procurement waste and recycling services. View it here 


Case Studies

 

See below a list of sustainable procurement case studies from ECO-Buy Award winners. 

More case studies are currently being developed - if your organisation has a green purchasing initiative, effort or project that you would like developed and published in case study format, please contact us.

 


Other Resources

A wide range of information on green products and green purchasing is available through Australian and international websites. We have compiled the best of these in our links pages, below. We also produce reports on current issues in supply chain or other guidance, listed further down the page.

Social procurement

Do you need a compelling case to get buy in for social procurement? Social Procurement Australasia launched the Social Procurement Business Case in September 2014. The Business Case provides accessible case studies from Australia and internationally to show how government can:

  • secure targeted employment and workforce participation outcomes
  • address disadvantage or economic decline in a particular region or area.

The Business Case captures and communicates the value created by social procurement, recognising social procurement as a critical tool in addressing social and economic issues.

We encourage you to use the Social Procurement Business Case with colleagues and key decision makers to grow social procurement in Australia. ECO-Buy is an active member of Social Procurement Australasia. Click here to access the Business Case.

Quick Guide to BS8903

The Quick Guide is a comprehensive summary of the British Standard 8903: Principles and framework to procuring sustainably. 

Quick Guide to BS8903

You can also purchase the standard on the BSI website.


Webinars

Engaging your staff on sustainable procurement

Featuring in this webinar are ECO-Buy member local governments showing leadership in engaging staff on sustainable procurement -

  • Aubrey Jansen, Manager Purchasing and Fleet, Glen Eira City Council. 
  • Harry Fricke, Senior Sustainability Officer, Moonee Valley City Council

During this hour long webinar, Aubrey and Harry use examples and case studies to explain how they have successfully engaged staff. You can watch the video of the webinar here.

Aubrey's slides are available here, and Harry's are here.

Recycled mixed plastics toolkit

The Recycled Mixed Plastics Purchasing Toolkit, developed in conjunction with the Australian Packaging Covenant, was launched in February 2014.

The webinar features ECO-Buy's Stephen Reardon highlighting the key points of the toolkit, including:

  • Why use recycled plastic products?
  • The business case
  • Life cycle costs
  • How to maximise performance
  • Case studies
  • How to incorporate recycled plastics into your procurement strategy and processes

You will also hear from Peter Patterson from Replas - a supplier of recycled plastic timber substitutes such as benches, bollards and decking.

Watch the video of the webinar here.

Melton's award-winning green library

Melton City Council recently presented a webinar featuring the procurement process they used to achieve 5 Green Stars in building their new Melton Library and Learning Hub. Melton’s Capital Projects Coordinator and project manager of the library construction and Sustainability Officer presented and shared their process and lessons learned with other ECO-Buy Members.

The library recently won Melton City Council the Procurement Australia Sustainable Procurement Award for 2013, as sustainability was considered at all stages of the procurement process from design to commission. The webinar aired in October 2013.

Watch the video of the webinar here.

Measuring the impact of sustainable procurement

Many organisations have a handle on how much of their procurement spend goes toward sustainable outcomes, or how many of their suppliers have been assessed on sustainability criteria. But if the purpose of sustainable procurement is to achieve environmental and social outcomes, it is essential to track those as well.

How much greenhouse gas have you reduced in your supply chain? How much improved staff or stakeholder engagement have you achieved? How many local jobs have you created?

The webinar is presented by Rebecca Cain, an accredited social return on investment (SROI) practitioner (one of fewer than 10 in Australia) at Net Balance. The webinar aired in July 2013.

See the slides here.

 

 


Events archive

Presentations from forums are below:

Social Procurement Australasia forum_September 2013

Social procurement forum_August 2012

Engaging your suppliers on sustainability forum_March 2012

 

ECO-Buy network meeting presentations are below:

2014:

Telstra supply chain sustainability risk assessment - September 2014

Engaging suppliers on sustainability - SA, July 2014

Wyndham Council Sustainable Procurement Journey - June 2014

Working Group Reporting Review Summary - June 2014

Glen Eira Council Sustainable Procurement Journey - June 2014

Sustainable procurement at the City of Melbourne - March 2014

2013:

How to buy sustainable services - June 2013

Introduction to ECO-Buy and Net Balance - March 2013

Local government specific

Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre - October 2013

Melton 5 Star Green Star Learning and Library Hub - October 2013

Sustainability reporting in local government - March 2013

State government specific

DHS social procurement presentation - June 2013

Summary of CfES strategic report - June 2013

VGPB procurement reform - What it means for sustainable procurement - March 2013

Engaging your suppliers on sustainability - A public procurement perspective - March 2013

2012:

How to buy sustainable office chairs - November 2012

Local government specific

Hepburn social procurement presentation - Building Works - November 2012

Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (formally DPCD) - Social Procurement - November 2012

Darebin - Social procurement - Resource Recovery Centre case study - November 2012

State government specific

Strategic audit by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability - March 2012

 

If you are after a specific presentation from previous years, please contact ECO-Buy.