Guidelines for Environmentally Responsible Procurement

These guidelines have been developed as part of a Cabinet-directed BC Based Climate Change Action Plan to implement a long-term strategy that supports provincial economic, social and environmental priorities.

Core Policy Manual Reference

(6.3.1 Procurement Planning - policy 14)

Ministries are encouraged to follow the Guidelines for Procurement of Environmentally Responsible Products and Services.

Guidelines for Procurement of Environmentally Responsible Products and Services

Objectives:

These procurement guidelines are designed to encourage ministries to consider environmentally responsible products and services as part of their purchasing decisions. The objectives of these guidelines are:

  • To provide an environmental role model for government procurement, by making it a priority to use environmentally responsible products and services, where feasible and cost effective.
  • To increase demand for environmentally responsible products and services, which may ultimately enhance their quality and cost competitiveness.
  • To continue to increase government's conservation of resources through the use of more reusable products, and products and services which require less energy and materials to produce or use.

Principles:

  • Where feasible and cost effective, the Government of British Columbia will acquire products and services that are environmentally responsible. Environmentally responsible products are those that reduce waste, improve energy efficiency, limit toxic by-products, contain recycled content or are reusable. Environmentally responsible services are those that employ environmental responsibility in their delivery.
  • The substitution of environmentally sensitive products for more environmentally harmful products will increase as their usage becomes more prevalent and as they become more cost effective and of comparable quality to those products previously purchased.

Practices:

  • Where feasible and cost effective and where the products are compatible with individual ministry requirements, preference should be given to purchase of environmentally sensitive products and services.
  • As part of prudent acquisition management, ministries should consider use of environmentally sensitive products and services on a trial basis to ensure performance and technical requirements are met, prior to making longer term purchasing commitments.
  • Evaluation criteria specified in the solicitation document should consider the environmental impact over the life cycle of each product compared to the alternatives, by taking into account economic and environmental impact, production processes used, energy use, maintenance and disposal requirements.
  • Evaluation criteria specified in a services solicitation document should consider a proponent's corporate environmental sustainability policy.
  • Where they are cost effective and meet performance and technical standards, products certified under a relevant environmental labelling program may be specified in the solicitation document. Specific environmental technical requirements may also be included in product specifications.

Visit the rest of the Green Purchasing website for more information, and helpful tools for environmentally responsible purchasing.