Guideline - Integrating Environmental Considerations into Departmental Procurement Management Frameworks

1. Forward

Protection of the environment is a priority of the federal government. Departments and agencies have significant opportunity to identify and reduce environmental impacts related to the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services. By managing procurement decisions in ways that consistently focus on methods of reducing environmental impacts, the government can contribute to the protection of the environment. The Policy on Green Procurement establishes deputy head accountabilities to advance the protection of the environment by incorporating environmental considerations in their procurement management systems and controls. This Guideline has been developed by the Office of Greening Government Operations, in consultation with key stakeholders, to provide departments with a tool to guide the integration of environmental considerations and green procurement requirements into their existing management frameworks and decision making for procurement, as required by the Policy on Green Procurement.

The key component of this Guideline is the Checklist of Potential Green Procurement Management Controls and Considerations. This list of considerations is designed to assist departments in determining what controls might be appropriate to support their departments green procurement objectives and priorities. It is recognized that procurement management frameworks will vary across departments, reflecting differences in mandate, operations, risks, capability, and size and in the nature of procurement required to support program delivery.

This Guideline also includes the following components:

2. Background

2.1 The Policy

The Government of Canada's Policy on Green Procurement seeks to advance the protection of the environment and support sustainable development by integrating environmental performance considerations into the procurement decision making process.

Environmental performance considerations include, among other things: the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and air contaminants; improved energy and water efficiency; reduced waste and support reuse and recycling; the use of renewable resources; reduced hazardous waste; and reduced toxic and hazardous substances.
From the GC Policy on Green Procurement

The Policy requires that Deputy Heads ensure that their management framework in support of procurement incorporates environmental performance considerations into the life cycle management of assets and acquired services, which includes:

  • planning, identification and definition of requirements;
  • acquisition;
  • operation, use and maintenance; and,
  • disposal of assets or closure activities related to acquired services.

This requirement is aligned with the Treasury Board Policy Framework for the Management of Assets and Acquired Services that reflects departments' responsibility for implementing effective management frameworks.

A management framework is a number of integrated processes, policies, systems and tools that provide:
  • clear direction;
  • support day-to-day operations;
  • facilitate measuring and reporting of results; and,
  • provide management with assurances that specific objectives will be achieved in terms of:
    • effectiveness and efficiency of operations;
    • reliability of reporting, including appropriateness and relevance; and,
    • compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

2.2 Deputy Head Accountabilities

Under the policy, Deputy Heads are specifically responsible for:

  • implementing an effective approach to procurement planning and requirement definition that incorporates environmental performance;
  • establishing management processes and controls to identify environmental risks and mitigation considerations;
  • setting and meeting green procurement targets;
  • ensuring that employees have the necessary training;
  • including support for the green procurement policy objectives in the performance evaluations of managers and functional heads of procurement and materiel; and,
  • monitoring and reporting on green procurement performance.

To be in a position to meet these requirements, departments need to integrate environmental performance considerations into their existing management frameworks for procurement: In doing so, they should establish an appropriate balance between risk and control, based on:

  • their individual mandates
  • buying patterns
  • the nature and risks associated with the assets and services procured in support of the achievement of program objectives

2.3 What Additional Controls are Appropriate?

In determining what additional controls might be required to supplement a department's existing procurement management framework, departments should consider the benefits of formally documenting their department's procurement management frameworkFootnote 1 , if in fact this has not already been done. Because each department's procurement management framework will tend to be tailored to its specific profile and circumstances and the associated risks, no two frameworks will be the same; accordingly, the type and extent of controls added to further the achievement of green procurement objectives will be different from one department to the next.

For example, a department that procures and manages assets and/or services which can have a material impact on the environment is likely to have a more comprehensive procurement management framework than a department that does not. Where a department's procurement needs are satisfied primarily through Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) government-wide procurement instruments, simpler controls over the acquisition phase of the life cycle may be appropriate since environmental performance considerations have already been built into these instrumentsFootnote 2. These procurement instruments, however, should not be seen as a substitute for effective planning and requirements definition to ensure that the most environmentally benign solutions are chosen.

This guideline is therefore broadly written to permit departments to consider the full continuum of controls in determining which may be appropriate for their specific mandates and circumstances.

2.4 Application

This guideline is aimed at the processes and controls that support the procurement of assets and acquired services, including construction services, architectural and engineering services, and property management services. While use of this guideline is not mandatory, it is hoped that departments will recognize the utility of the checklist as an analytical tool to identify gaps in their current management frameworks and inform the development of an action plan for addressing these gaps.

Given that responsibility for documenting and managing a department's procurement management framework will vary from one department to the next, the main audience for this guideline may include corporate policy and planning officials, and/or officials in procurement, materiel management, real property management, and finance. Annex A – Management Frameworks provides additional guidance to help departments determine the appropriate stakeholders in their respective organizations.

2.5 Related Frameworks

To the extent that the Policy on Green Procurement promotes life cycle assessment of goods and services being acquired by departments, green procurement should be situated not only in the context of a department's procurement management framework but also in its broader framework for the management of assets and acquired services and its departmental management framework. As such, in using this guideline departments should consider the linkages to other, related departmental management frameworks, in particular, frameworks for:

  • materiel management;
  • real property;
  • investment planning; and,
  • risk management.

2.6 Organization of the Checklist

The checklist is organized around the main categories of management controls and includes a menu of key considerations that departments should consider when assessing where additional controls should be added to existing management frameworks, as well as the types of controls that would be most effective. Each control category includes questions that can be used to assess departments' existing procurement management frameworks and to determine which controls may be appropriate for their respective departments. These management controls refer to the type of systems, policies, procedures, and tools required for an effective management framework in support of green procurement, as well as key considerations for developing realistic and meaningful targets and performance measures.

Departments should not consider the checklist to represent a definitive list of considerations — some departments may in fact determine that other or additional controls are needed. The checklist is generic and it is expected that the type and extent of controls will vary from department to department depending on the nature of the assets and services used to support the achievement of individual program objectives.

The checklist includes four columns where departments can document the specific actions or management controls being implemented in relation to each phase of the procurement life cycle, to support green procurement objectives.

3. Checklist of Potential Green Procurement Management Controls and Considerations

Control Category Consideration Planning Acquisition Operation, Use and Maintenance Disposal or Closure Activities
3.1 Governance
  • Has the department established written direction for 'greening' procurement?
    • Is the direction aligned with the nature, scope and environmental impacts associated with the department's procurement activities?
    • Is the direction consistent with the objectives of the Policy on Green Procurement?
    • Does the direction address the need to document decision making, including life cycle assessment considerations and considerations associated with environmental performance?
  • Does senior management communicate the importance of reducing environmental impacts resulting from planning, acquisition, use and disposal of goods and services?
  • Has an individual been identified who is responsible for 'greening' procurement policies and practices in the department?
  • Are department's value statements, or codes of conduct, consistent with the principles of the Policy on Green Procurement? Does management display a commitment to advancing the protection of the environment by greening procurement?
  • Does the department ensure that key management, operational and procurement staff has the necessary training in life cycle assets management, including environmental performance and life cycle cost assessment?
  • Are authority, responsibility and accountability for incorporating environmental considerations in procurement clearly defined? Are individuals given the authority necessary to carry out these responsibilities?
  • Are accountabilities relative to 'greening' of procurement clear and consistent with organizational capacity?
3.2 Policies, Processes and Procedures

3.2.1 Strategic Planning

  • Are the department's management processes and controls in support of the Policy on Green Procurement aligned with the department's program objectives and its Management, Resources and Results Structure (MRRS)?
  • Have green procurement targets and objectives been established? Are they realistic and achievable?
  • Are green procurement targets aligned with greening government operations and sustainable development priorities, as appropriate?
  • Are green procurement targets and objectives based on an analysis of the department's mandate, nature of assets and services acquired, buying patterns, and relevant risks?
  • Are green procurement targets integrated into departmental plans and reports, i.e. the Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP), Departmental Performance Report (DPR), and if applicable, the Sustainable Development Strategy?
  • Does the department have a policy requiring an ongoing and systematic assessment of the physical condition and environmental performance of its assets?
  • Does the department's investment planning process support the protection of the environment and support sustainable development?
  • Does the department's investment planning process consider the environmental performance of its assets? Are alternative solutions that reflect value for money and reduce environmental impacts considered? For example:
    • Is there a need for the purchase?
    • Should various purchase requirements be combined or standardized to:
      • improve the potential to acquire environmentally preferable goods and services that reflect value for money;
      • reduce costs and environmental impacts related to:
        • the procurement process; or,
        • inventory and maintenance.
      • Should betterments be considered to extend the useful life of an immoveable asset?
  • If the department takes a risk-based approach to prioritizing investments, are environmental performance considerations factored into the analysis? Are environmental performance considerations integrated into policy and program development?
  • Are lessons learned with respect to the integration of environmental factors into procurement decisions continuously fed back into relevant policies and procedures?

3.2.2 Operational Planning

  • Do the department's operational planning processes, including business case development, consider environmental performance in decision making? For example, does planning consider opportunities to reduce costs and environmental impacts over the life cycle of goods and services?
  • Does planning take into account information on the performance, condition and use of capital assets?
  • Do departmental policies require that total life cycle costs (including direct and indirect costs) and environmental performance considerations be considered when defining requirements?
  • Do departmental policies and processes require managers to select options, based on a cost-benefit analysis, that have a reduced impact on the environment over the life cycle of the asset or service, when compared with competing assets or services, serving the same purpose, e.g. minimizing quantities, acquiring assets and/or services that have a longer service life?
  • Do individuals responsible for defining requirements have the capacity, capability and supporting information and tools to assess costs and environmental impacts that occur throughout the life cycle of assets and acquired services?
  • Is there a mechanism for seeking and consolidating input in relation to environmental performance considerations at the earliest possible planning stages from a broad range of sources, e.g. program managers, project authorities, procurement authorities, suppliers, operational users, environmental and disposal experts, cost accountants and financial management advisors, and/or standards organizations, as appropriate?
  • Do departmental policies promote the use of performance specifications for the purchase of goods and services, including environmental performance requirements, where feasible?

3.2.3 Procurement Planning

  • Are employees made aware that they can obtain surplus products from within their department or from other departments?
  • Has the department established written direction requiring the integration of environmental performance considerations into procurement processes, e.g. ensuring that such considerations are adequately reflected in the definition of the requirement, in evaluation criteria, and in contractor selection methodologies?
  • Has the department established written direction requiring that total cost of ownership, including disposal costs, be considered in the evaluation of financial proposals, where appropriate?
  • Are employees required to consider whether the required goods or services are available on existing "green" standing offers or supply arrangements?

3.2.4 Operating, Using, Maintaining and Disposing of Assets

  • Has the department established supporting policies, communications tools, and training to ensure that environmental performance objectives, as originally planned and contracted for, are met?
  • Does the department have a policy requiring that employees minimize environmental impacts when disposing of assets, for example, converting surplus assets to waste in an environmentally sustainable manner? Leveraging take-back and recycling programs? Reuse through departmental transfers, donations (e.g. surplus computers and peripherals to the Computers for Schools Program) or resale?
  • When disposing of assets, does the department maintain auditable records of the environmental performance considerations and costs associated with the various disposal options and the rationale for the ultimate disposal decision?
  • Are assets disposed of prior to becoming environmentally hazardous (e.g. vehicles that don't meet pollution testing or batteries that are stored until they leak)?
  • Are large quantities of assets being stored (requiring heated, cooled, and lighted space) rather than being declared surplus, because they may be needed "some day"?
  • Are buildings and lands being identified for disposal when they are no longer required?
3.3 Tools and Templates
  • Are environmental performance considerations integrated into departmental checklists, templates, solicitation and contract clauses, and other procurement, materiel management, and real property tools?
  • Does the department use standard clauses for contract performance related to environmental performance considerations?
  • Are PWGSC procurement tools and templates that incorporate environmental considerations communicated to project and program managers and procurement, materiel management, and real property staff, and are they easily accessible?
3.4 Management Information Systems
  • Does the department have a means for capturing and reporting on progress towards green procurement targets and objectives?
  • Does the department's assets management system permit the collection of environmental performance information over the life cycle? Environmental performance against established benchmarks, as appropriate?
  • Does the department track warranty information?
3.5 Training
  • Do Individual Training Plans include training on the Policy on Green Procurement, e.g. Canada School of Public Service online course on Green Procurement (C215) as well as supplemental training required to establish and implement departmental green procurement strategies and targets?
  • Are lessons learned captured and disseminated? Continuously fed back into green procurement training?
  • Does the department ensure that procurement; materiel management, real property, project, and program management staff receive training on integrating environmental considerations in planning and requirements definition, evaluation criteria, and different selection methodologies that can enhance the contribution towards the achievement of green procurement targets and objectives?
  • Does the department ensure that procurement staff receive training on factoring environmental performance considerations, including disposal costs, into the bid evaluation price?
  • Are employees given training in the proper operation and maintenance requirements of assets, e.g. driving and maintaining vehicles, operating office equipment such as printers, lighting and temperature controls, to minimize environmental impacts and the associated costs?
  • Is maintenance staff appropriately trained and do they have access to proper maintenance manuals and information to permit them to minimize environmental impacts and associated costs?
  • Are employees given training on ensuring that assets are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, including training on assessing the environmental impacts of the various disposal options?
3.6 Performance Evaluations
  • Do the performance evaluations of managers and functional heads of procurement and materiel include an assessment of their contribution to the Green Procurement policy objectives and towards the department's green procurement targets?
3.7 Risk Management
  • Does the department's Corporate Risk Profile include environmental impacts? Have relevant risks to achieving the objectives of the Policy on Green Procurement and green procurement targets been identified and analyzed from a likelihood and impact perspective? Have mitigation strategies been established to ensure that the objectives and targets are achieved?
  • Does senior management actively engage in the identification, review and management of environmental performance risks?
  • Does the department's Integrated Business and Resource Plan identify environmental performance risks and outline mitigation strategies?
  • Is the department's procurement management framework reviewed as an ongoing component of departmental risk-based audit planning, to assess the continuing relevance and effectiveness in terms of facilitating the achievement of green procurement targets and objectives?
3.8 Results and Performance
  • Is the environmental performance of assets and acquired services monitored during operation, use, maintenance and disposal to determine whether environmental performance objectives established at the time of investment and procurement planning have been achieved?
  • Is performance relative to the obligations under the Policy on Green Procurement, including achievement of green procurement targets, captured and measured?
  • Are adequate controls in place to ensure that the appropriate information is properly captured to ensure effective monitoring and timely, accurate reporting that is aligned with Treasury Board guidance for annual reporting on green procurement? Are measures in place to facilitate the identification of problems and the application of corrective measures, where necessary?
    • Are measures in place to detect significant risks to achievement of the Policy on Green Procurement objectives and green procurement targets?
    • Are measures in place to take timely and effective action to address deficiencies?
  • Are green procurement targets sufficiently simple to facilitate measurement?
3.9 Change Management
  • Does the department's Integrated Business and Resource Plan include change management strategies associated with environmental performance as it relates to the Policy on Green Procurement?
  • Are mechanisms in place to identify and deal with special risks associated with changing external and internal circumstances that have or may have an environmental impact associated with the procurement of goods and services?
3.10 Information and Communication
  • Are green procurement communications centrally coordinated to ensure consistency in messaging and on-going communications activities?
  • Is green procurement included in new employee orientation sessions?
  • Is pertinent green procurement information identified, captured and communicated to permit employees to carry out their responsibilities?
  • Are employees' responsibilities in terms of contributing to the achievement of green procurement objectives and targets clearly communicated?

4. Additional Information

For additional information on this Guideline and the implementation of the Policy on Green Procurement you are invited to contact the Office of Greening Government Operations, PWGSC:

Internet e-mail address:

Annex A - Management Frameworks

Departments' management frameworks reflect the risks associated with their mandates and program responsibilities, and comprise a series of subsidiary management frameworks, each designed to support specific programs, business lines, and functions. A department's procurement management framework is therefore part of its broader management framework.

In supplementing their existing procurement management frameworks to address environmental performance considerations, departments will ensure:

Who are the Stakeholders?

This guideline is directed at departmental management representatives including functional heads of procurement and materiel who, as stewards of assets and acquired services, have a vested interest in ensuring that their departmental framework supports their respective activities and that it contributes to the achievement of green procurement objectives and targets.

Key considerations for determining departmental stakeholders include:

  • the department's governance, including how decisions are made and the structures for decision making;
  • the maturity of the department's existing procurement management framework;
  • the department's procurement profile and the nature of the assets and acquired services it procures and manages; and,
  • how the department plans for, acquires, operates and maintains, and disposes of assets or terminates acquired services initiatives.

While the most obvious stakeholders are procurement and assets management organizations and corporate planners, other stakeholders may include financial officers, project managers, responsibility centre managers, and employees who operate, use, and maintain assets or acquired services and/or who are involved in the disposal of assets or closure activities related to acquired services.

Annex B - Related Frameworks and Policies

In developing green procurement-related controls for their respective management frameworks, departments may also wish to refer to the broader suite of Treasury Board (TB) frameworks and policies associated with the management of assets and acquired services. This suite includes:

Treasury Board Management Accountability Framework

The Treasury Board Management Accountability Framework (MAF) is a comprehensive and integrated model that combines a number of management-focused, results-based initiatives introduced by the government over the past ten years to modernize public service management. Departments are required to use the MAF as a basis for assessing management capacity, identifying opportunities for management improvements, and reporting to TBS and TB on the stewardship of resources.

The MAF is structured around ten key elements that collectively establish the standards for management in the Government of Canada. These elements are:

  • Public Service Values;
  • Governance and Strategic Direction;
  • Policy and Programs;
  • Results and Performance;
  • Learning, Innovation and Change Management;
  • Risk Management;
  • People;
  • Stewardship;
  • Citizen-Focused Service; and,
  • Accountability.

To the extent that the MAF elements together should inform the development of departmental management frameworks, they should also inform the development of controls aimed at achieving the objectives of the Policy on Green Procurement.

Treasury Board Policy Framework for the Management of Assets and Acquired Services

This policy framework establishes the broad principles – value for moneyFootnote 3 and sound stewardship - that should govern the management of government assets and acquired services. These principles are in keeping with the MAF and are grounded in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. The policy speaks among other things to the need for departmental management frameworks that are designed to support effective decision making, risk-based oversight and monitoring, and that demonstrate compliance with statutory, regulatory and policy requirements. Value for money and sound stewardship are expected to be achieved through the establishment of strategic, integrated management systems. These management systems should be developed based on an assessment of risk and complexity, and a life cycle approach that ensures affordability and cost effectiveness and considers asset performance and utilization in retention and disposal decisions. These principles are in keeping with the Policy on Green Procurement, which is set within the context of achieving value for money over the life cycle and includes considerations such as environmental performance.

TB Common Services Policy

The objective of the Common Services Policy is to ensure that departments and agencies can acquire responsive, cost-effective services from common service organizations (CSOs)Footnote 4 in a manner that supports their program delivery obligations. The government establishes CSOs to leverage economies of scale and seek benefits from the pooling of specialized expertise.

PWGSC is a Common Service Organization with the exclusive mandate for the procurement of goods. PWGSC has established government-wide standing offers or supply arrangements in the following ten commodity groups:

  1. Information Processing and Related Telecommunications Services
  2. Professional, Administrative and Management Support Services
  3. Ground Effect Vehicles, Motor Vehicles, Trailers, and Cycles
  4. Telecommunications Equipment and Accessories
  5. General Purpose Automatic Data Processing Equipment (including Firmware), Software, Supplies and Support Equipment
  6. Furniture
  7. Office Machines, text processing systems and visible recording equipment
  8. Office Supplies and Devices
  9. Clothing, Accessories and Insignia
  10. Fuels, Lubricants, Oils and Waxes

PWGSC commodity management activities related to the establishment of these procurement instruments integrate environmental performance considerations and therefore include built in 'controls' related to the acquisition phase of the procurement life cycle.

Treasury Board Contracting PolicyFootnote 5

As stated in the Treasury Board Contracting Policy, the objective of government procurement contracting is to "…acquire goods and services and to carry out construction in a manner that enhances access, competition and fairness and results in best value or, if appropriate, the optimal balance of overall benefits to the Crown and the Canadian people."

The Policy on Green Procurement is consistent with the Contracting Policy in that both policies recognize that government procurement is an economic lever and that it is necessary to balance a number of public policy objectives while seeking to achieve value for money.

Annex C - Green Procurement Tools and Information

The following information and tools are available to support all departments and agencies implementing the Policy on Green Procurement. Individual departments will need to develop additional information and tools, as appropriate, to suit their individual mandates, buying patterns, and the nature and risks associated with the assets and services acquired in support of program objectives. Where feasible, departments should support a coordinated horizontal approach to the development of additional government-wide information and tools.


Online Green Procurement Training Course

Log onto Campusdirect Course C215 – it's free! Spend two to four hours online and learn about green procurement principles, use of life cycle analysis to identify 'greening' opportunities, environmental terminology, use of certification programs and much more.


Green procurement tools are available on the OGGO website.

Guideline for the Integration of Environmental Performance Considerations in Federal Government Procurement

This guideline provides information on how to incorporate environmental factors in the planning acquisition use and disposal of goods and services, taking into consideration the principles of value for money and life cycle management.

Environmental Awareness Toolkit

This tool provides background information on key environmental issues and discusses how to reduce environmental impacts associated with procurement. Practical aspects of green procurement are also addressed through checklists for green procurement, definitions of environmental terminology, and links to public and private sector resources.

Commodity Management and Green Procurement Plans

PWGSC's Commodity Management initiative is well advanced and green procurement is an integral part of it. All standing offers issued through this process must integrate green criteria. To view Green Procurement Plans for a range of commodities, visit the PWGSC, Acquisitions Branch website.

PWGSC's Client Engagement procurement factsheets also identify where green criteria have been included in certain standing offers.


Footnote 1

Under the Treasury Board Policy Framework for the Management of Assets and Acquired Services, departments are responsible for implementing effective management frameworks that demonstrate how the department is managing based on the principles identified in the policy.

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Footnote 2

For example, controls could focus on ensuring that departmental employees are aware of and use these mandatory instruments, and establishing the capability to gather information on results and performance.

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Footnote 3

Defined as an appropriate balance between cost effectiveness, based on total life cycle costs that include direct and indirect costs, performance, and contribution to the achievement of program and operational requirements.

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Footnote 4

Defined as "a department or organization, including a Special Operating Agency (SOA), designated as a central supplier of particular services to support the requirements of departments."

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Footnote 5

Applies to all Crown procurement contracts and excludes contracts for legal services, leases and contracts pursuant to the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act, grants and contribution agreements, and agreements between federal departments and agreements with other levels of government or other governments.

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