Environmentally Responsible Procurement (ERP) is a process whereby an organization adjusts its purchasing behaviour to favour products, services and activities that minimize adverse impacts on the environment.* An ERP can improve an organization's image or reputation with customers, shareholders, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders. An organization gains competitive advantage by achieving a position of leadership in the environmental area through ERP and/or the provision of environmentally responsible products or services.
*Although this is a purchasing process, we recognize that the best alternative is a fundamental concept of reduction.
Note: In the instance that this Information Product refers to environmentally responsible product evaluation, it is inferred that service and activity considerations are also considered.
ERP is driven by a variety of forces including
(a) ethical environmental responsibility;
(b) government regulation;
(c) community and interest groups;
(d) customer and consumer preferences;
(e) stakeholder and investor pressure;
(f) professional standards;
(g) employee concerns; and
(h) industry guiding principles and codes of practice.
These forces are persuasive, but they may be countered by several considerations including
(b) competing priorities;
(c) lack of education and awareness;
(d) inaccurate perceptions; and
(e) absence of/or incomplete data.
Global experience in business, industry and government indicates that most ERP programs pass through five developmental steps, as depicted in Figure 2.