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Green Purchasing – The New Mantra

01 Dec

 

Green Purchasing, also known as Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) has gained more importance with the publishing of interim report by IPCC on Climate Change and its negative effects; which has more or less ratified the already known scientific findings that Climate Change is for real and it presents a Clear & Present Danger.

To abate the incoming disaster, every sector must act now ! Because the dateline for getting trapped unto high carbon economy forever, leading to untold misery is – 2017. That is just 6 years.

To put it simply, it would not be possible for business to shift into newer low carbon technology and getting used to it unless we start now. Just as a baby needs to be at least 5-6 years old to be able to walk & talk fluent, so does any nascent business. Mindset needs to be firmed & directions gets clearer over passage of time.

If say in 2012 we put up a Cement / Steel Plant with low -efficiency technology, it would still be spewing noxious GHG for the next 40 years before one can look at it as old and think of renovation. Now magnify that into 100’s of industries of all shape and size and a trap leading to disaster is not to difficult to imagine.

Of the many urgent Do’s we have – lets deal with “Green Purchasing”. Although it ideally defines purchases by the Governments & Corporates, I like to see the “Governments ” & ” Corporates” as men and women working as a collective. This  collective when broken down into individuals become “citizen” of a Nation or putting it simply part of another collective – “the common man”.

Therefore when the Government & Corporates buy green, the common man too starts buying green.

So what is green purchasing? Simply put it’s one of the three cornerstones of sustainable purchasing, where the other two cornerstones are sound social policy and economic soundness. However, whereas economic soundness insures that the overall decision is sound from a life-cycle cost and corporate sustainability perspective, and whereas social policy addresses your need to be a responsible corporate citizen when it comes to human rights and welfare, green purchasing addresses the environmental impact of our buying decision.

One might think that buying green is the easiest criterion but it is, in fact, the most challenging criterion! An organic local food product or an energy-efficient appliance may get the label of green, but only when its supply chain, storage and other criteria of actual usage are taken into account. A cold-stored food which is made available in the off-season, however locally produced has already consumed ton of energy to stay fresh! Similarly an energy-efficient appliance if left on continuously even when not required, does consume energy. Which in effect is getting wasted.

Environment Preferable Purchasing – green purchasing – is quite simple if the three R’s- Renew, Recycle & Reuse; are applied to each and every purchase. Its difficult at first, just as a baby trying to walk for the first time…but eventually every human gets a hang of it.

 

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