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Session 15: Greening Purchasing in Practice: Private Sector Examples

Thursday, July 17, 1997
2:45 - 4:00 pm



Speaker 1: Larry Starecky, Ontario Hydro

Mr. Starecky has been involved in the Purchasing and Materials Management function at Ontario Hydro for over 16 years. His role has included a strategic planning and policy function, and development of a corporate-wide Buy Green Policy and strategy. In the past five years, his work has included environmental health & saftey programs. Most recently, Mr. Starecky has been involved in inclusion of sustainable development criteria within the Corporate Commodity Management process, project management of a Hazardous Materials screening process, and development of Supplier Base Management approach. He is currently the co-chair of the Green Procurement Institute in Canada.

Developed Ontario Hydro's "Buy Green" Program, which involves a "front-end" focus (researching before purchasing products).

Steps of "Buy Green" Program:

  1. All commodity contracts will incorporate Sustainable Energy Development (SED) principles and specific objectives to support SED.
  2. Material and service purchases will include SED and environmental requirements.
  3. Suppliers will be asked to reduce and minimize waste from packaging.
  4. Materials and services certified by Canadian Environmental
    Certification/Labeling programs will be given preference unless they do not meet Ontario Hydro requirements for performance or health and safety.
  5. The use of surplus and excess materials will be considered prior to ordering new materials.
  6. "Buy Green" will eliminate or minimize the use of persistent, bioaccumulative, and/or toxic substances identified on Federal and Provincial lists of regulated and voluntary programs.
  7. Life cycle assessment will be considered in the decision-making process.
  8. Assessment of material and service suppliers will be in accordance with Ontario Hydro SED policy and principles.

Companies can initiate the EPP process by:

Speaker 2: Mark Eisen, formerly of Home Depot

As Home Depot's environmental marketing manager, Mr. Eisen learned that consumers embraced the idea of environmentally preferable products, and that given a choice, most consumers would purchase an EPP product over a non-EPP product.

Companies and retailers are only now beginning to understand the benefit of producing and selling EPP goods and services. Mr. Eisen's new environmental consulting firm assists companies in marketing EPP products to both consumers and retailers. He emphasized that the success of EPP is largely dependent on retailers embracing the EPP concept.

Speaker 3: John Rustin Environmental Defense Fund

EDF partners with one high-profile U.S. company each year to tackle an environmental issue/problem.

Past EDF corporate partners have included McDonald's (eliminated use of Styrofoam clamshell burger holders), S.C. Johnson (more environmentally preferable cleaners -- Glade, Turtle Wax), and most recently, Starbucks (recycled heat-resistant paper cups and napkins)

Six Steps for operating EPP projects:

  1. Set ground rules at beginning
  2. Set expectation of being accountable to the public
  3. It's critical to learn what's realistic for businesses to do
  4. Don't use technical expertise (or lack thereof) as an excuse not to move forward
  5. Build EPP purchasing into a business' business strategy/purchasing plans
  6. EPP adds value to a brand or company, and can companies can gain a competitive advantage

Question & Answers:

Q: How does EDF select the organizations for partnerships?
A: (John Justin, EDF) Split half-and-half between companies initiating contact with EDF and vice versa.

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