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programs are or what metrics should be used to track progress. Pricing concerns. Some purchasers continue to believe that greener products cost more than competing products. While numerous studies demonstrate that greener products can save money in some cases, the perception that greener products and services will cost more prevents some purchasers from seeking or considering greener options. Performance concerns. Although performance requirements can be defined in contracts, some purchasers worry that greener products will not perform as well as traditional products. As a result, they fail to consider the benefits of greener products and services. Complex tradeoffs. Purchasers around the world also report that it can be difficult to identify greener products because there are tradeoffs. An energy-efficient product, for example, might use more water or contain more hazardous materials than a competing product. Purchasers are not environmental experts and without clarity on which human health, environmental or social benefits should be prioritized, it can be difficult to build green requirements into the purchasing process.

GLOBAL SOLUTIONS Like the challenges reported by purchasers from around the world, the solutions to those challenges are remarkably familiar. Purchasers around the world are looking to ecolabels and purchasing networks to make green purchasing easier. They also recognize the value of international harmonization efforts to reduce confusion about how to identify and buy greener products and services. Eco-labels. The most useful green purchasing tool cited by purchasers worldwide is eco-labelling. An environmental label, based on third-party certification to a respected environmental standard, makes it much easier to identify greener products and services. Many countries have developed their own environmental labels to recognize greener products. The United States government has developed a number of labels focusing on specific environmental claims – Energy Star for energy efficiency; Water Sense for water efficiency; BioPreferred for bio-based content. Other countries have developed single labels that address multiple environmental concerns. The Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) is a network of 26 environmental labels that meet internationally accepted ISO Type 1 environmental label requirements. GEN has

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Profile for NIGP

GovPro - February/March 2014  

The official publication of NIGP.

GovPro - February/March 2014  

The official publication of NIGP.

Profile for nigp
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