Skip to main content

BidNet Direct Articles

for government procurement professionals.

Creating a Sustainable Procurement Process

Creating a Sustainable Procurement Process

 No matter what level of government a public agency operates within, adopting the principles of sustainable procurement is something that all organizations should strive for.

The principles and practices of sustainability can be applied to many different elements of the procurement process. One of the most significant and tangible ways a buying organization can adopt sustainable practices is by using an e-procurement solution to dramatically reduce the amount of paper used during the solicitation process.

But sustainable procurement can go far beyond transitioning to a paperless purchasing process. Truly sustainable procurement involves reviewing every purchasing initiative to identify where environmentally-friendly or socially-conscious goods or services can be purchased in lieu of less-sustainable alternatives.

Sustainability has become an increasing preoccupation for consumers at the retail level, and the trend has gradually migrated to impact procurement and supply chain operations at large organizations. For buyers in the public sector, change faces obstacles, but many governmental organizations are coming to understand that sustainability is not simply a buzzword: it is a concept that will shape many aspects of doing business as we move forward.

Sustainable procurement can mean choosing a construction vendor that offers environmentally-safe building materials or has a strong background in constructing energy-efficient buildings. For services, it may mean hiring a janitorial firm that uses only non-toxic cleaning agents in their work. For an organization seeking to purchase furniture, for example, it could mean going with a provider that builds their goods locally, uses sustainable components and pays a living wage.

Supply chain sustainability

A critical aspect of a sustainable procurement strategy is supply chain sustainability. Buying organizations can foster sustainability in their supply chain by learning about the sourcing and manufacturing practices of their vendors and taking steps to ensure that only those vendors using sustainable practices are considered during the solicitation process. For example, a buyer seeking to source a new HVAC unit for a building should seek to identify vendors who can provide the most energy-efficient models available on the market. Another example could be the sourcing of personal hygiene products for lavatories: these products could be sourced from a provider who offers recycled and environmentally-friendly products.

Electronic procurement solutions and sustainability

E-procurement solutions provide some of the most effective tools with which buying organizations can support their ongoing efforts to become more sustainable.

Organizations that make the switch to using e-procurement can immediately reduce their reliance on paper by bringing the entirety of the procurement process online. While buyers can choose whether or not to continue to accept paper submissions from interested vendors, with e-procurement they can easily mandate that vendors provide their submissions in electronic format.

Beyond using less paper during the purchasing process, e-procurement offers the following benefits related to sustainability:

Enforcement of guidelines related to sustainable procurement

Thanks to automated approval workflows, organizations using e-procurement can easily implement procurement rules related to the use of sustainable practices across the organization to be sure that stakeholders are adhering to sustainability rules.

Improved access to suppliers offering sustainable goods and services

With an integrated vendor management module, buying organizations can effectively manage a large pool of suppliers and focus on those that offer sustainable products and services.

Robust certification and qualification processes

E-procurement enables public sector agencies to use an included vendor certification and pre-qualification module to be sure that vendors they work with possess the credentials needed to meet sustainability goals.


For buying organizations, there are several sustainability-related benefits directly tied to the use of e-procurement. Reducing the unnecessary use of paper, improving vendor management and qualification processes, and enforcing sustainability guidelines can all be achieved with e-procurement. Beyond sustainability, e-procurement also delivers many other measurable benefits for buyers, making the adoption of electronic procurement a clear winner for both public and private sector organizations. 

Find out how BidNet Direct can help your government organization today! 
request demo

Most Popular