Friday, November 18, 2011

Environmental Impact Grows as Factor In Federal Purchasing, Officials Say | BNA

Environmental Impact Grows as Factor In Federal Purchasing, Officials Say | BNA

Logistics Are ‘Low Hanging Fruit.'

Nate Hurst, global director of energy and the environment at electronics manufacturer Hewlett Packard Co., said the logistics of the supply chain is often the “low hanging fruit” for companies looking to improve their environmental footprint. It can also yield economic benefits. He said using less packaging allows companies to transport more products per shipment and reduces shelf space at stores, allowing them to display more products.

Recycling components or packaging materials can also improve a company's environmental performance, he said. Hewlett Packard has manufactured 1 billion printer ink cartridges from recycled material. Walmart also reached an agreement with Hewlett Packard to recycle some of its packaging material as pizza boxes, Hurst said.

Government Targeting ‘Hot Spots.'

Although the federal government will not be demanding a detailed life cycle analysis of every product it purchases, Gillis said companies should be able to identify where in the life cycle of their product the greatest environmental impact occurs. She said GSA is reviewing its purchases to identify any environmental “hot spots” to identify products that have the greatest environmental impact and to devise approaches to mitigate their effects. Her working group also is developing recommended guidelines for product standards and labels that address environmental impact.

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