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Procuring sustainable products and equipment for offices

Energy, Materials, Water, Waste, Carbon
All sectors, Office and administration
Medium cost
Annual saving:
10 - 40 %
Payback time:
3 - 4 Year(s)
Read more
Payback time:
A ROI of 3-4 years for large-scale equipment such as cars, or less than a year for smaller devices such as computers can be expected (Oeko)
Depends on business operations, machines needed, and the use of more energy efficient equipment which helps to reduce carbon/resource footprint
Total cost savings:
Sustainable products and equipment often offer savings via higher energy efficiency, lower maintenance cost and longer durability
Premises and operation areas:
Office management, Supply operations
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Beginner, Intermediate
What is in it for you:
Better company image, cost saving through more efficient sustainable products and equipment; lower impact on the environment, and health benefits.
Descriptive information:

Companies can lower their environmental impact by using more sustainable office equipment including printers, office chairs, computer screens and so on. Using sustainability criteria, such as the appliance's energy use and how easy or hard it is to recycle or reuse parts of the product, you can study the advantages of replacing current office equipment with more environmentally friendly alternatives. These products may cost more to purchase but are cheaper in the long run due to their longer lifespan or reduced energy use.

Other benefits of environmentally friendly appliances include:

  • Lower production costs (less material or energy use, less waste generation)
  • Longer life cycles (need to replace less often)
  • Sales or marketing value-added of using greener equipment

Indeed, consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of products, and may base their purchasing decisions on the clean/green credentials of companies making them. Product labels such as the EU Ecolabel and the EnergyStar have made it easier to see which businesses are sustainable. As an SME you can apply for financial support from third-party programmes, such as CIRAS, and display the results achieved or the label with your product as a marketing tool.


"It is always easier and cheaper to purchase standard products. But in the long run, it is worth [buying sustainable alternatives] and also rewarded by consumers." - FroSTA AG (Source: http://kmu.kompass-nachhaltigkeit.de/fileadmin/documents/Praxisbeispiele...)

"ROI on sustainability is spectacular. Companies gain a competitive advantage because consumers and investors are demanding more 'ethical' product alternatives. In turn, sustainability initiatives are often the price of admission to new local and global markets." - IBM's Chief Procurement Officer Bob Murphy (Source: www.mypurchasingcenter.com/electronics/articles/2015-sustainable-procure...)


OEKO Institite report, Environmental and cost relief through environmentally sound procurement, www.oeko.de/oekodoc/2379/2015-541-de.pdf

NetReg, Guidance on buying sustainabel goods and service, www.netregs.org.uk/environmental-topics/carbon-reduction-and-efficiency/...

Energy Star guidances on energy efficient products, various resources, www.energystar.gov

10 sustainable small businesses to watch, www.brandmakernews.com/business-brand/entrepreneur/5746/10-sustainable-s...

PwC and EcoVadis with INSEAD Social Innovation Centre, Report on Value of Sustainable Procurement Practices, www.saulnierconseil.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Value-of-Sustainable-...

Buy Start Network, Guide to the Businesss Case & Benefits of Sustainability Purchasing, www.buysmartbc.com/_Library/Resources/resource_bsn_business_case_to_sust...

Harvard Law School, The Sustainability Business Case, http://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2013/06/28/the-sustainability-business-case/

Further Information

Various sites offer free tools and guides to businesses, helping them set up policies for sustainable procurement:

Kompass Nachhaltigkeit sustainable procurement self-assessment,http://kmu.kompass-nachhaltigkeit.de/self-check/

WRAP portal on sustainable procurement, http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/sustainable-procurement

ICLEI programme on sustainable procurement, http://www.iclei-europe.org/topics/sustainable-procurement

Sustainable procurement resource centre, http://www.sustainable-procurement.org/resources/procurement-criteria/

Want to know if relevant support is offered in your country?