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First International Standard for Sustainable Procurement Is Almost Here

August 26, 2016

First International Standard for Sustainable Procurement Is Almost Here

August 26, 2016
by Sustainable Brands

The number of standards for green products has grown in recent years due to increasing market demand for environmentally-preferable products, resulting in concerns over greenwashing and a need for an international standard. ISO has been working on such a standard since 2014, to help organizations make their procurement processes more sustainable.

The purchasing decisions an organization makes have impacts far and wide, from the energy it consumes to the quality of life of the workers who manufactured the products it buys. Procurement in the public sector alone accounts for around 12 percent of GDP and 29 percent of government expenditure in OECD member countries - it is not something to be taken lightly.

Purchasing sustainably – known as sustainable procurement – should be the goal for any organization as it maximizes its positive social, environmental and economic impacts. This means making smart choices with all purchases, including everything from office supplies to energy providers, caterers and building materials.

The new standard in development, ISO 20400, Sustainable procurement – Guidance, will provide guidelines for organizations wanting to integrate sustainability into their procurement processes. It has just reached a second Draft International Standard (DIS) stage, meaning interested parties can once more submit feedback on the draft before final publication in 2017.

While industry-specific consortiums and supplier ratings platforms have helped with responsible purchasing, the Chair of the ISO committee developing the standard, Jacques Schramm, said that up until now there have been few harmonized, international guidelines that can be applied universally and in sufficient detail despite that procurement is a key driver of an organization’s level of social responsibility.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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