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Guide to the Completion of the Green Procurement Plans

The information included in this Guide is intended to describe, in detail, the requirements for each section of the Green Procurement Plans.

Table of Contents

Part I: Resources - Forms and Weblinks

Current (December 2011) versions of the Green Procurement Plan are provided here:

The Acquisitions Branch Green Procurement site hosts the most up-to-date versions of these files as well as all Green Procurement Plans, which may serve as examples when completing your own. The Guideline for Integration of Environmental Performance Considerations in Federal Government Procurement and the Green Procurement Tool Kit provide general information on Green Procurement principles and implementation, as well as links to additional resources that may prove helpful when completing the plan.

The plan should be completed using resources within the Commodity Team. For general support within Acquisitions Branch, contact:

Francine Berry, Senior Green Procurement Advisor, 819-956-0114
Cindy O’Driscoll, Green Procurement Specialist, 819-956-5482

Following completion of the plan by the Procurement Team, expert advisors from EC, NRCan and OGGO, as well as Acquisitions Branch stakeholders, will review the plans from a technical and feasibility perspective and provide comments. The Procurement Team will then use the comments to finalize the strategy for applying Green Procurement to the good/service and completing the Green Procurement Plan. The plan is to be started prior to initiating industry consultations, to ensure that suppliers are aware of Green Procurement requirements in advance of the RFx release. Once consultations are completed, the plan can be finalized.

Part II: Completing the Plan Part A: Questionnaire

See the link to the "Questionnaire" provided in Part 1 above. Each section of the questionnaire can be completed by following the instructions below.

Goods or Services

Identify and provide a description of the goods and/or services for which the green procurement plan is being prepared. This description will help green procurement expert advisors understand your good or service and therefore better support you.

Solicitation/Contract Number

Provide the Solicitation/Contract number for the good or service for which the green plan is being prepared.


Section A: Key Environmental Impacts Associated with the Good or Service

Identify major environmental impacts associated with the good or service, based on the information provided. This can usually be identified by:

  • Researching the product's environmental impacts on the internet;
  • Reviewing environmental product certification criteria on sites such as the Environmental Choice program; and,
  • Discussing features with suppliers.

See also the OGGO Website's Green Procurement Tool Kit and the Guideline for Integration of Environmental Performance Considerations in Federal Government Procurement for further resources.

Section B: Mitigation Initiatives

In collaboration with the procurement team, research and identify current green procurement actions being taken. These should include tips, lessons learned, best practices and recommendations related to demand management, asset management, operational/use practices, maintenance and disposal that could be implemented to improve environmental performance. The following questions should be considered:

In this section, consider the environmental impact of the good/service being procured. Identify features of the most environmentally preferable alternatives. Ideally, this section should include a list of the criteria that would be used to specify the most environmentally preferable good/service on the market today.

Highlight information that suppliers should be able to provide regarding the environmental attributes of their products, processes, and initiatives.

Key resources to obtain this information are listed in the Green Procurement Tool Kit and Guideline for Integration of Environmental Performance Considerations in Federal Government Procurement and include:

  • Environmental certification programs, such as Environmental Choice
  • Suppliers;
  • Industry associations;
  • NRCan and EC technical experts.


List actions taken related to packaging (Questions 1 through 4):

  • requirements for suppliers to reduce packaging, recycle or take-back packaging
  • restrictions placed on suppliers in terms of hazardous material contained in packaging
  • responsibility for recycling/disposal

Industry Capacity

Question 5:
Address suppliers' capacity to meet environmental criteria. Ideally, environmental criteria should be introduced as mandatory wherever feasible. In some cases, a number of suppliers will not have the technical capacity to meet the criteria or the cost premium associated with the criteria may be too high. In these cases, environmental specifications are often introduced as optional, point-rated criteria. As prices fall and/or suppliers gain capability, future RFXs can incorporate the criteria as mandatory. Key to this conversion to mandatory criteria is communication with the supplier base, to ensure that they make modifications to their processes or products to enable them to meet the criteria.

Question 6:
Some departments have made decisions to select environmentally preferable suppliers, wherever possible. These departments need information on supplier attributes to be able to make appropriate choices. Some good/service teams post supplier descriptions to make it easier to identify appropriate suppliers. Some e-procurement tools also facilitate searches for items that meet environmental requirements.

Standards and Certifications that can be consulted when developing environmental criteria

Question 7:
List references to environmental criteria relevant to the good or service. A number of organizations publish environmental criteria associated with specific goods or services. Suppliers who demonstrate compliance with the criteria are "certified" and allowed to display the organization's certification label. The specification of an environmental certification can facilitate the implementation of Green Procurement. Where this is not possible, the certification criteria, which are usually publicly available via the Web, can offer excellent insight into key environmental issues associated with goods and services as well as appropriate mitigation actions. Selected criteria can be incorporated into bid solicitations.

Some key environmental certification programs or "eco-labelling" programs include Environmental Choice (Canada) and Green Seal (US). See the Green Procurement Tool Kit on the OGGO Web site for further resources.

Question 8:
List standards specific to goods or services. Many industry associations seek to develop guidance for their members in better managing their environmental performance. A good example is EPEAT (Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool), a set of 51 environmental criteria that apply to IT hardware. Other broader guides, such as EnergyStar, also address energy consumption of electronic and electric products.

Question 9:
Some goods/services will be subject to specific policies or legislation that impact their environmental performance. For example, vehicle purchases within the federal government are affected by the Alternative Fuels Act. In addition, a quick search of industry initiatives will often provide an idea of the key environmental issues associated with purchases.


Section C: Existing Green Procurement Initiatives - included in existing procurement instruments

Questions 1 to 4:
To answer the first four questions, identify current internal government initiatives related to the good/service:

  • Are efforts being made to reduce consumption?
  • Are surplus assets being better managed to ensure that they are used rather than acquiring new assets? Ex. Check on the availability of surplus furniture assets prior to buying new.
  • Rationalization of assets: are studies being conducted to determine how asset use could be optimized? For example, could two older inefficient cars be replaced by one new hybrid car?
  • What alternative goods or services are available that might have a lesser environmental impact? For example, furniture that has recycled content or a multi-function device that incorporates printing, faxing, scanning and photocopying rather than selecting several individual devices.
  • Are initiatives being taken to reduce the impact of acquiring the goods, such as e-procurement?

Question 5:
Review existing standing offers, supply arrangements and contracts for mandatory and optional/point-rated environmental criteria. Review technical specifications that may incorporate elements such as Energy Star or ecolabels and Annexes that may be specific to environmental features. Criteria might include product specifications, such as:

  • Low VOC emissions
  • Recycled content of metal, plastic, fabric parts
  • Use of low toxicity raw materials
  • Eco-label certification
  • EnergyStar

And supplier specifications, such as:

  • ISO 14000 certification
  • Use of chain-of-custody methods
  • Low emissions of GhGs

Note requirements included within the RFX for suppliers to manage environmental aspects of the acquisition, use/maintenance and disposal phases of the procurement. These can be either mandatory or optional criteria. For example:

  • Delivery by high-efficiency vehicles, to minimize GhG emissions
  • Reports printed in double-sided format on recyclable paper from a certified source
  • Recyclable consumables (ex. re-manufactured toner cartridges)
  • Take-back programs for end-of-life goods to ensure proper recycling

Question 6:
Note when each of the above mandatory or optional criteria was initially incorporated into the bid specifications (this will facilitate the completion of the scorecard).

Section D: Green Procurement Initiatives for the Upcoming RFX

In this section, note green procurement clauses and conditions that will be incorporated in the upcoming RFx's.

List also the specifications used in the Statement of Work (SOW) related to green procurement.

List the environmental criteria used in the evaluation grid.

Describe the financial evaluation as it pertains to green procurement. The costs that will occur throughout the entire lifecycle must be considered. The prices for the environmentally preferable options, once requested, could potentially be lowered by suppliers, when more weighting is given to these options in the evaluation.

Finally, demonstrate how the green options within the procurement instrument are identified and communicated to users (client departments). This is to make it easier for clients to use the procurement instruments, and know in what way they are green and how to pick the right procurement instruments and the right line items.

Section E: Environmental Criteria and Specifications that have been identified in research but that will not be implemented in the upcoming RFx

Indicate the expected timelines for the implementation of the various initiatives and/or criteria.

Issues exist when implementing Green Procurement. Key issues, and associated solutions, may include:

  • Competition issues: too few suppliers offer the environmental feature or exclusion of Canadian companies
    • Solution: Establish point-rated desirable criteria; communicate with suppliers to indicate that in future RFx's, these criteria may become mandatory.
  • Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs): will the use of mandatory environmental criteria exclude SMEs?
    • Solution: Consult with SME office to incorporate provisions to avoid exclusion of SMEs.
  • Higher upfront costs for environmentally preferable goods.
    • Solution: Demonstrate lower or equivalent cost over lifecycle. Address initial cost increment by allocating a portion of the budget to compensate for these costs, with expectation of cost recovery in later years. For high expenditures, consider alternative financing arrangements
  • Questions regarding performance of environmentally preferable goods and/or services
    • Solution: Require that suppliers demonstrate the performance of their goods/service

Section F: Contacts

Indicate the names of the individuals who participated in the completion of the plan.

Part III: Completing the Plan, Part B: Scorecard

The Scorecard is to be completed using information gathered during the completion of the questionnaire, particularly Sections C, D & E , and in the course of conducting general supply analysis.

A copy of a blank sample scorecard is provided in Part 1 at the beginning of this document.

The purpose of the scorecard is to provide a visual snapshot of:

  • The Best In Class criteria for the particular good or service; in other words, what features characterize the most environmentally preferable good/service that can be procured?;
  • The status of implementation of green procurement, for the good or service, within the Government of Canada, as it relates to:
    • Existing procurement instruments in place (if applicable)
    • Current RFXs being prepared
    • New initiatives to be considered in future RFX's
  • Progress made to date on the implementation of Green Procurement and planned actions for future RFX's.

The initiatives (Section A) and technical specifications/criteria (Section B) listed within the scorecard will vary between services and goods. The elements to be included in the list should be identified through the normal supply analysis conducted by the Procurement Team for a specific Good or Service when determining sourcing options.


In this section, government initiatives relating to green procurement of the good/service are listed. These include all initiatives that do not involve direct purchase of the item, for example:

  • Action taken to reduce consumption
  • Improvements to warranty usage to encourage repair and reduce new purchases
  • Better use of surplus assets
  • Alternative goods identified that are environmentally preferable

In addition, initiatives taken related to engaging suppliers should be identified. These might include the:

  • Completion of surveys to identify capacity amongst suppliers to provide environmentally preferable goods and services
  • Regular communication of increasingly stringent environmental objectives to potential suppliers
  • Bidders' environmental information made readily available to client departments

Criteria and Technical Specifications

This section lists the various criteria that can be applied to the good or service being procured. Criteria should address environmental impacts associated with all phases of the lifecycle (planning, acquisition, use/maintenance, and disposal).

Examples of criteria are provided below:

  • Product design
    • Design for disassembly
    • Replaceability of wear-susceptible parts
  • Suppliers' commitment to sound environmental practices
    • Environmental Management System in place
    • ISO 14001 accreditation
    • History of community environmental initiatives
  • Resources used in the production of goods or supply of services
    • Low volatility compounds used in the production process or service delivery
    • Avoidance of hazardous chemicals
    • Recycled content of raw materials (i.e. metal, plastic, paper, wood)
  • Efficiency of the manufacturing process/service delivery
    • Minimization of waste in the manufacturing process/delivery of service
    • Minimization of energy use during the manufacturing process/delivery of service
    • Recycling of waste generated
  • Packaging and distribution
    • Minimization of packaging materials
    • Recycled content within packaging materials
    • Recyclability of used packaging materials
    • Take back/reuse programs for packaging materials
  • Use and maintenance of goods/services
    • Goods accompanied by clear maintenance and repair instructions
    • Materials used in maintenance are non-hazardous and minimize waste
    • Indoor Air Quality is not adversely affected by use of good/delivery of service
    • Warranty increases lifetime of goods
    • Warranty information is clearly marked on item
  • Disposal of goods or waste generated by the good/service
    • Waste is minimized
    • Used goods can be returned to supplier for reuse/recycling
    • Used goods are recyclable

For services, initiatives, criteria and technical specifications are slightly different. Soon to be released is a guideline for Greening services Procurement, Stay tuned.

Status of Initiatives, Technical Specifications and Criteria

For each initiative and specification listed on the scorecard, the status should be indicated for the old solicitation, the current solicitation being prepared, as well as plans for future solicitations.

A "traffic light" system determines the colour coding:

  • Green: Mandatory specification or fully implemented initiative.
  • Yellow: Optional specification or partially implemented initiative.
  • Red: Identified as a potential specification or initiative. Not yet incorporated into GoC procurement.

Part IV: The Completed Plan

The Green Plan needs to be completed and directed to the Green Procurement Team (GPT) in AB prior to internal and supplier consultation meetings.The GPT will initiate the technical review process and collect finalized plans for upload to the web.

See the 'Delineation of Roles and Responsibilities Flow Chart for the Completion of the Green Procurement Plan' for further details of the responsibilities for completion of the Green Procurement Plans.