Sustainable purchasing is the process by which goods and services are bought taking into account not only the economic value (price, quality, availability, functionality) but also the environmental, social, and ethical impacts of these goods and services - at local, regional, and global levels.
For example, sustainable purchasing considers (in the case of goods):
- What the product is made from and how long it lasts.
- The energy, material, and emissions "footprints" associated with its manufacture and transport.
- Who has made it, how it's made, and under what working conditions.
- How it will ultimately be disposed of.
- Whether the purchase needs to be made at all.
The range of objectives a sustainable purchasing program might consider include:
- Waste prevention and reduction
- Resource reduction
- Pollution and toxin reduction
- Reduction of greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions
- Biodiversity maintenance
- Wages and working conditions
- Employee health and safety
- Human rights
- Growth of a sustainable economy
- Support for local economy
- Support for social enterprises
- Fair trade