Establish a Green Purchasing Committee
All PIM content was independently developed and reviewed to be vendor-, product-, and service provider-neutral.
A green purchasing committee (GPC) is a multidisciplinary team that identifies, vets, and recommends green products and services to be used throughout the healthcare system. Elements of a GPC can also be embedded into other purchasing or value analysis teams. The goal is to have a group that understands the key strategies and opportunities of including total cost of ownership considerations, quality considerations, and performance outcomes (CQO) where sustainablity-related issues should be included.
Project Talking Points
- Healthcare facilities purchase thousands of products requested by dozens of different departments. With the pressure of 24/7 operations, hospitals may unknowingly purchase items that are toxic to workers or patients, or have other environmental impacts.
- A green purchasing committee (GPC) can identify and avoid such potential problems and contribute to the successful implementation of an environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) system.
- The GPC should consider “life cycle analysis,” “total cost of ownership” (TOC) consistent with AHRMM's CQO initiative. Life cycle analysis considers the impacts from point of origin to manufacturing, use, and disposal. TOC considers additional internal costs (e.g., labor, handling, additional disposal cost) of using one product over another.
- The GPC should work closely and openly with the Value Analysis Team (VAT), as the goals of each group are strongly aligned and the VAT may have already conducted due diligence on some of the products the GPC is considering.
Triple Bottom Line Benefits
Cost benefits: Establishing a GPC can result in significant cost savings for your facility or healthcare system. The vetting process a GPC goes through will help identify products at lower prices that “get the job done,” in addition to potential cost savings from consolidating and streamlining products across departments. Cost savings will also come as your hospital adopts practices that require less staff hours and fewer natural resources.
Environmental benefits: Forming a green purchasing team will have a positive environmental impact as the hospital makes changes in purchasing practices and policy that result in reduced toxicity and energy usage.
Health and safety benefits (satisfaction and quality): Similarly, a GPC will positively affect patient and occupational safety as its recommended products are introduced and fewer toxins are released into the environment. Public perception and satisfaction will also rise as your facility promotes that it is taking its staff and patients safety seriously by creating a GPC to review products and its purchasing practices.
Quality and Outcomes: metrics are in development. If you have suggestions, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.
- Identify key stakeholders as champions – a multi-disciplinary team with interested representatives from finance, clinical, environmental services, facility management, infection control, employee health and safety, and communications, the latter of whom can help educate employees about product changes and EPP protocol as well as publicize the programs successes.
- Consider a liaison for key value analysis teams to represent the particular interests, and vice versa, from these other sub-groups.
- Find a leader for the committee. Whether self-selected, elected, or appointed, this will be the point person for questions, and the individual who will be accountable for the GPC's progress.
- Get buy-in from the top, and keep them apprised of the Task Force’s meeting schedule and activities.
- Develop a charge for the group that is in alignment to the goals of the organization, reasonable and achievable, and can be accomplished in the time allotted.
- Establish a meeting schedule that takes into account members’ busy schedules and limited time. Consider “brown bag lunch” meetings with drinks and dessert provided to make it as convenient and easy as possible for people to fit in to their day.
- Ensure goals are clear, specific, and measurable with periodic reportable evaluations.
- Prioritize activities that are consistent with your EPP policy. Focus the selection process of products to include criteria that reduce energy and water usage, waste and toxics during production and use, and minimize disposal impacts.
- In as much as possible, establish key metrics to track, both to measure the progress of the committee, and also to measure the performance of every contract with a sustainability consideration.
- Use the Roadmap’s GreenLight Projects to help prioritize the low hanging fruit such as increasing recycled paper content (RPC), or reduce product packaging and pre-package sterile OR surgical kits in reusable totes.
- Work with your Value Analysis teams to consider EPP considerations within current contract schedules.
- In tracking the performance of the committee and various projects, a key function of the group is to publicize, promote, and celebrate wins. Integrate learnings into education and training for the purchasing staff but throughout the organization where appropriate.
If you have purchasing ROI calculators and other purshasing tools available. Please contact us.
The Roadmap is always looking for case studies. If you have one on your successful Green Purchasing Sub-Committee, please contact us.
Cross References: LEED
LEED has several credits and related information on sustainable purchasing for general operations like tracking purchases that meet certain criteria to facility maintenance and renovation, furniture, etc. LEED has good ideas about how to track performanace that the committee can use to help set goals. For example:
- Purchase at least 25%, by cost, of total combined food and beverage purchases must meet at least one of the following criteria. Exclude wine, beer, and liquor purchases from the credit calculations.
- Purchase at least 60%, by cost, of total ongoing consumables that meet at least one of the following criteria. Include the product categories identified in the Materials and Resources prerequisite: Ongoing Purchasing and Waste Policy. Lamps are excluded from the calculation. Each purchase can receive credit for each criterion met.
NOTE -- All the PIMs in supply chain are PIM synergies. See the full list. Here are just a few examples:
If you have any information or resources to contribute, please contact us or participate in the discussion below.
Setting specific goals can help healthcare facilities implement EPP. Review the following purchasing goals tailored to materials managers working with vendors, distributors, manufacturers, and GPOs to ask for products that are more environmentally responsible and worker-friendly.
Review these nine basic steps to implement a green purchasing plan from Healthcare Without Harm.
Tools & Checklist developed by Kentucky University for Developing Multi-sector Task Forces or Action Committees for the Initiative.
Committee, Task Force, Team…What is the Difference and Why Does it Matter? is an article from Academic Physicians & Scientist that can help make an argument for the need for a GPC.
- Strategic Operations
- SUPPLY CHAIN
- Environmental Health and Safety
- Waste Reduction
- Source Reduction
- Toxics Reduction
- Waste Minimization
- Comment, and please add information, tools, or additional resources you think should be added to the PIM.
- Write a case study or a PIM to contribute to the Roadmap (links are to instructions).