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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ministry wise impact on environment Part V (green procurement system needs to be in place, points out experts)

The expert group recommends incorporation of green elements in procurement of rules and regulations and taking account of environmental considerations while preparing the annual budget

The reference group that came up with the framework to mainstream environment, climate change and poverty (ECP) in the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) has suggested the need to incorporate environment friendly procurement rules and regulations.
Environmental or green procurement is the purchase of products and services that have less impact on the environment and human health compared to other competing products or services that serve the same purpose.
One of the most important concerns regarding environmental impact under the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is that the procurement rules and regulations do not take into account green standards.
This, the reference group says, has resulted into procurement of materials or equipment which are not eco-efficient and environment friendly.
“Procurement of office equipment does not consider green labeling /standards leading to intensive use of energy and pollution from disposal,” states the reference group.
To address this issue, the reference group has come up with alternative means to be integrated in the coming plan of the ministry.
It has been recommended that the ministry incorporate green standards in procurement rules and regulations while promoting green labeling of goods and products, promote procurement of recycled or environment friendly products and equipments and acquire energy efficient office equipments.
The reference group also observed that procurement of medical equipments was not in line with the actual requirements.
“Inaccurate forecasting of the requirements of medicines and medical equipment leads to wastage and disposal issues,” states the reference group.
The Ministry of Finance has been recommended to institute electronic system to improve efficiency in procurement of drugs, vaccines and equipments.
It has also been found that the Ministry of Finance while planning the annual budget has not been taking into account environmental considerations.
“Environment considerations were not taken into account during the annual planning and budgeting,” says the reference group.
An alternative option that the reference group came up with was to notify all agencies through annual budget call to integrate environment considerations into annual plans and budgets.
The ministry has inadequate fiscal incentives for greening of plans and programs. It was observed that there were no performance based inventive system for undertaking green initiatives.
“More provisions for fiscal incentives for green initiatives and investments should be integrated in the coming plan,” recommends the reference group.
It is expected that if the ministry incorporates green standards in procurement rules and regulations it will reduce the impact on environment and climate.
Some other benefits include improved waste management through efficient use of office resources and energy and cost savings.
Purchases that are good for the environment are also often profitable for the organization, as resources saved translate into money saved.
Quality and the environment are often closely linked, because quality usually means a longer life for the product and thus less consumption of resources.
An eco-efficient product will often use less energy and represent lower costs as waste, either because it is included in a recovery or re-use system or because it does not contain hazardous substances and will thus not be defined as hazardous waste.

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