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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Green Business: Purchasing Overview

Resources to help businesses get started on the sustainability path.

Overview

Green purchasing adds environmental considerations to the price and performance criteria that organizations use to make purchasing decisions. Green purchasing considers supply chain management and is also known as environmentally preferred purchasing (EPP), green procurement, affirmative procurement, eco-procurement, and environmentally responsible purchasing. Green purchasing attempts to identify and reduce environmental impact and to maximize resource efficiency.

Five Guiding Principles

  • Consider environmental factors in addition to price and performance.
  • Emphasize pollution prevention early in the purchasing process. Consider packaging and whether the product contains or produces toxics.
  • Examine multiple environmental attributes throughout a product's or service's life cycle. Look at the whole life of the product, from manufacture through use and disposal.
  • Compare relative environmental impacts when selecting products and services.
  • Collect and base purchasing decisions on accurate and meaningful information about environmental performance.

The books below are general guides to green purchasing for institutions. For information on greenwashing and purchasing of specific products with significant environmental impact, see the following pages: