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EPP and local govts and green stars

Title: Thank you Burton
Thanks Eric.  Speaking of very practical issues in Env Purchasing I have a question for the listserv.
I have been exploring the potential of the Green Star model of sustainable business promotion for local governments.  I think it has great potential for more widespread application.  It is quite successful in Alaska and has been replicated in King County, Boulder, San Francisco and even in a few other countries.  A key element of this model is public recognition of participating companies, in hopes that they will get more local sales in the community as a result.  A key point is that the Green Star is not awarded for the environmental quality of the products and services, but rather for the environmental performance of the organization itself such as water conservatoin, energy conservation, waste minimization etc.  Green products are also recognized but of course that takes more mature development of the greening process.
Now, the local governments themselves are often among the biggest purchasers of LOCAL goods and services.  This raises an interesting question and opportunity.  Can we use the purchasing power of local goverment to motivate local companies to be greener?  Companies might be motivated to participate in a Green Star program if they felt they could get more sales to the local government, which would use Green Star criteria as one element of their LOCAL purchasing.  So the question is, Does anyone have data about how much LOCALLY produced goods and services tend to be purchased by local governments?  And of what kinds?  My first pass at this comes up with construction services, and some construction products (bricks maybe?), vehicle repair shops and fuel stations, hotels and restaurants, janitorial and cleaning services, other mechanical services, etc.  I guess that the potential for buying manufactured products locally is directly related to the size of the community.  Most small towns dont have many factories.  EPP for paper, for example, is not relevant in this context to most towns since the paper is not produced locally.
So I am interested to know 1) what would be a common set of locally produced products and services that almost Every local government buys, 2) how much of they buy and what proportion of sales they create for the providers, 3) could enviro labelling of local companies be included in local govt purchasing of their goods and services, and 4) would this be something that would motivate local companies to join in a green star type of program. 
This is all about using the market to create demand for improved enviro performance in business, but there is a real need for more data. 
I will be grateful for any ideas, I am trying to push this concept along in several countries at the moment (Peru, Thailand and Philippines, as if I dont already have enough frequent flyer miles.)
Burton Hamner
Department of Accounting - Program on Corporate Social Responsibility
Universidad del Pacifico
Avenida Salaverry 2020,
Lima 11, Peru
511-219-0100, fax 511-219-0135
cell 511-943-3357
email bhamner@cleanerproduction.com
www.cleanerproduction.com (personal website)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2002 1:52 PM
Subject: [eppnet] Thank you Burton

Thank you, Burton Hamner, for your observations about the Prague conference.  They are also broadly appropriate to EPPnet. Environmentally preferable policy initiatives must be tightly focused on specific behaviors, and not devolve into philosophical reverie.

To create change, we must identify, and/or develop, beneficial products and processes and help users recognize their value.  The ideas we bring must help them do their specific work with acceptable performance and cost.  Our best attention should go to executing persuasive communications about beneficial real-world opportunities.  We can't assign a municipal road-crew to "clean up the air," but we may be able to persuade them to evaluate the price and performance of a new Low VOC cold-patch compound.  If it meets their requirements, everybody wins, and a teachable moment is achieved.  After they see good performance, on time and under budget, they will then be available to appreciate the environmental benefits, which are a sort of bonus.  The job comes first.

The most direct way to bring about this happy outcome is to engage users in the evaluation of specific opportunities to help them in their specific daily work.  Meetings about brainstorm lists of hypotheticals are a lot of fun, and may lay a base-course of information on which the new roads of our vision will be built, but meetings do not build roads.  Our audience must be the road builders, and we must convey persuasive information about changes whose benefits are clear and whose costs fit our shrinking budgets.  Key to communication of these new ideas is a tight, specific focus on the real world of specific materials and applications, whose price, performance, and availability are acceptable to the users.

Eric Nelson (206/263-4278)
Karen Hamilton (206/263-4279)
Environmental Purchasing Program
King County Procurement & Contract Services
821 Second Avenue, Suite 10
MS: EXC-FI-0862
Seattle, WA 98104

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