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What Delta is Doing
Where Do You Want to GO Next?
Green purchasing is defined by the U.S. EPA as “products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.” A wide range of human health and environmental benefits can be attributed to the purchase of greener products, including pollution prevention, conservation of natural resources, and reduced waste.
Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan are high-volume users and producers of hazardous materials. By demanding greener products, procurement managers are in a unique position to reduce the volume of hazardous chemicals shipped in and out of the region. For example, every ton (40 cartons) of 100% post-consumer recycled content paper used saves 17 matures trees, reduces solid waste by more than 1,000 pounds, and reduces air emissions by more than 2,000 pounds. Recycling programs create jobs in the community while reducing landfill waste. Equally important, increasing the volume of green purchases helps drive down the cost, making green purchasing more affordable for everyone.
Even though the demand for green products is growing quickly, several barriers hamper widespread adoption. Misleading and untrue environmental claims breed skepticism and confusion that can discourage even the most conscientious purchaser. Lack of a clear, overarching standard complicates purchasing decisions. The higher price of sustainable goods – real or perceived – discourages investment in greener products unless they provide a clear and quick financial return.
Government entities that have implemented green purchasing programs have realized measurable environmental benefits from their change in purchasing. In 2001, the State of Massachusetts’ Environmentally Preferable Products Procurement Program led to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 4,063 metric tons, saving the energy equivalent of 11,415 barrels of oil, and protecting 60,846 trees from being harvested. Public programs are transforming their respective markets by increasing the demand for environmentally preferable products.
What Delta Is Doing
Delta Institute is employing regionally scaled, market-based strategies to drive up demand and drive down prices for sustainable products, with the ultimate goal of making sustainable purchasing a mainstream practice. Toward that end, Delta is:
• Helping companies, municipalities, and organizations develop and implement sustainable purchasing programs by providing strategic planning; policy development and implementation; research and technical assistance; training; measurement and verification; and consortium or group purchasing opportunities.
• Linking purchasing and supply chain management to all green building, LEED certification, sustainability planning and energy efficiency.
• Developing mechanisms to harness the large-scale buying power of public and private organizations throughout the Great Lakes region. The Delta Institute has already convened the first national public-private purchasing consortium in West Michigan. The West Michigan Sustainable Purchasing Consortium includes large manufacturers, universities, and local governments that are pooling their purchasing volumes to buy green products. Additionally, Delta has established Buying Better, a group-buying initiative in the Chicago region providing third-party certified, U.S. Green Building Council LEED compliant products to facility managers.
• Helping local vendors compete in the green purchasing marketplace.
• Educating public and private purchasing managers, building owners, facility managers and other high-volume buyers and acting as a trustworthy guide to credible standards and certifications.
Where Do You Want to GO Next?
• Buying Better
• West Michigan Sustainable Purchasing Consortium
• Pollution Prevention
• Download a fact sheet about Delta's Green Purchasing Services
To explore additional green opportunities, visit our Green Economy Navigator.