Getting Dialed into Sustainable IT Procurement
Would you like to know how procuring sustainable IT can actually help you achieve best value for your spend? Read on to find out why sustainable considerations can be the best options for your budget!
The IT space is fraught with ethical and environmental sustainability considerations, including but not limited to e-waste, worker safety, and energy and resource usage. With many issues to consider, procuring sustainable IT can seem like a daunting challenge. Buyers want the best value for their spend, while retaining quality, longevity of their devices, and efficiency.
While it may seem counterintuitive, including sustainable considerations into the procurement process can in fact help buyers achieve best value for their money and increase the lifespan of their electronics, while avoiding significant risks in their supply chain.
The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement hosted their Trends and Tenders in Sustainable IT Peer Exchange to an audience of 100 members in late September. Two experts, Frances Edmonds, Head of Sustainable Impact at HP, and Terminder Singh, Contracts Officer at the City of Winnipeg shared their top considerations for sustainable IT procurement. We’ve collated their advice into the following 3 steps.
1. Identify your Opportunities:
Staying abreast of the opportunities and risks in your supply chain is a tried-and-true CCSP best practice element. At CCSP we call it a High Impact Procurement Opportunities list, or HIPO list. Conducting a self-assessment of your current procurement processes and products will enlighten you to potentially unforeseen and underutilized opportunities. You may be able to achieve greater value for your spend by taking advantage of sustainable opportunities such as lower device energy usage, reparability, and higher quality materials that will not only have good sustainable impact, but also ensure a high-preforming product.
Through a series of 15 pilots, Canada HP and Green Economy Canada created a free Self-Assessment Tool to help public sector organizations identify and implement sustainable procurement practices. It includes categories on hardware and supplies such as paper, ink and toner, energy usage, and ecolabels.
Find the Self-Assessment Tool Here.
2. Ask the Best of your Supplier:
While suppliers are the ones implementing and creating more sustainable standards for IT, buyers are the enforcers of effective and timely sustainable impact. Including questions and awarding points for supplier transparency in addition to product specific requirements is a sure way to ensure you’re receiving the most sustainable options, and that your suppliers are actively seeking new ways to provide better quality sustainable products. Some questions to ask your supplier include:
- Does the company disclose their carbon footprint to CDP under “Climate” disclosure? If so, what is the score?
- Does the company disclose to Forests, Water, and Supply Chain CDP disclosures? If so, what are the scores?
- Does the company have set science-based targets through the Science Based Targets Initiative?
3. Buy your Product as a Service:
Perhaps the most important trend today in sustainable IT is the movement to buy the Product as a Service (PaaS). Suppliers such as HP are restructuring how they manufacture and sell to support the circular economy by increasing the longevity of their devices, reducing weight and packaging, including reparability as part of the product’s initial cost, and much more. PaaS ensures that you get best value for you spend by increasing the lifespan of devices, introducing higher quality materials, reducing energy consumption, and more. Certain specifications to consider if you’re interested in asking for PaaS from your supplier include:
- Does the product include recycled content?
- Does the supplier offer device reparability and/or take-back programs?
- Does the device comply with EPEAT standards?
- Can the supplier offer a calculation of the carbon footprint of the device over its service life?
- Does the supplier offer sustainability support, to help you reduce your organization’s impact?
As buyers there is a lot we can do to contribute to a circular economy and increase our sustainable impact, whilst still obtaining high-preforming IT products for a good price. Armed with the knowledge that many suppliers are moving towards a more sustainable production model, be confident that your sustainable specifications and questions are not demanding too much. With demand comes great supply!