If you have a business that wants to go green, one your first questions is probably, “How exactly do I go green?” You are not alone. Many businesses, especially small businesses, do not have the time or resources to find green product manufacturers, set up relationships, and inspect the manufacturers’ eco-friendly policies. So whether you want to purchase a portable solar panel to provide power to your business or reduce your business waste, you may seem adrift at sea.
Government To The Rescue?
This is where the City of London (England that is) has come to the rescue of London businesses. Mayor Boris Johnson, using 3 million pounds from the London Development Agency, has created a green procurement service called Green Procurement Code. This unique service is web based and allows businesses to search for products that have been screened for being eco-friendly.
What is Eco-Friendly?
There seems to be varying definitions of what exactly eco-friendly products and services entail. According to the Green Procurement website,
- use fewer natural resources
- contain fewer hazardous or toxic materials
- have a longer life span
- consume less energy or water in production or use
- can be reused or recycled on disposal
- generate less waste, for example be made from recycled materials, use less packaging or be recycled by the supplier.”
This definition seems reasonable. It would be interesting to know if there is a sweet heart deal between the vendors on the site and the City of London. They are having a special session for potential suppliers on Sept 14th, 2009. It would be fun to sit in on the meeting to see what kind of criteria that city is using when selecting companies.
While the government’s intentions are probably noble with this initiative, the businesses and citizens of London should watch it carefully to make sure the selection of suppliers does not become a source of political patronage.
Private v. Public
Politics aside, the procurement website seems like a great 21st century initiative for London. I would like to know how much the website cost to create,along with where the rest of the money is going. While I appreciate the government’s involvement with this process, I wonder if a chamber of commerce or local business association could provide a similar service for less than three million pounds.
Bottom Line: It’s Worth A Try
The City of London is leading the way with these green procurement services. While the site has just been launched, it is a step in the right direction. If you are a London business, take advantage of this service to green your business. If you aren’t a London business, then check out three ways to green your business today.