30 November 2016

Large purchasers demand greater environmental transparency from suppliers

The US Department of Defense, which boasts a budget of $500 billion annually, is testing a system that requires suppliers to report the lifecycle impact of each product they produce. Other government agencies in the United States are following suit, placing a greater focus on ensuring supplier sustainability. It is estimated that the move to cut greenhouse gas emissions among US agencies will save taxpayers $18 billion.

Given their vast purchasing power, governments have the ability to drive a major shift in the market. Hewlett Packard, for example, designed new servers that use significantly less energy based on guidance from the US Department of Defense.

Private sector companies are also pushing for environmental transparency. The US retailing giant Walmart has asked more than 1,000 suppliers to report on carbon emissions, resulting in the elimination of more than 28.2 million metric tons of CO2. It has also been observed that when larger companies adopt sustainable procurement strategies, smaller companies are inspired to do so.

For more information, visit