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Estimating the true size of public procurement to improve sustainability

April 7, 2021

Originally published in The London School of Economics and Political Science. Governments have the power to leverage their sizeable purchasing power to encourage widescale production of sustainable products and services, which can help them meet the Paris Climate Accord’s carbon reduction goals. Fatima Hafsa, Nicole Darnall, and Stuart Bretschneider write that the size of government purchases is underestimated and thus opportunities for greater sustainability impact are missed.

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Do multiple sustainability objectives affect the speed of local procurement processes?

April 7, 2021

Published orginally in ICMA.

Researchers at Arizona State University share results on public procurement efficiency.

By By Yifan Chen, Nicole Darnall, Justin Stritch, and Stuart Bretschneider of Arizona State University | Apr 5, 2021

Public procurement is the process by which governments acquire goods, services, and supplies to support essential functions. In the United States, approximately 10 percent of U.S. GDP is spent on public procurement activities, and more than 60 percent of these public procurement expenditures are occurring at the state and local level.

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Protecting the environment one government purchase at a time

March 13, 2021

A new report reveals what factors influence whether Australian governments are successful at adopting green purchasing policies, Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, and Angela Fox write.

In 2015, Australia’s government purchasing accounted for 36 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. All the time, the government is buying construction material, chemicals, vehicle fleets, office materials, and electronics.

These purchases collectively contribute to global climate change, and a host of other environmental concerns during their manufacturing and use. As a result, many Australian governments are adopting sustainable purchasing policies to reduce their environmental impacts.

A sustainable purchasing policy formalises an organisation’s commitment to reduce the environmental harms associated with its purchasing and procurement.

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Five actions to advance green purchasing in Italian municipalities

January 14, 2021

Rolling Italian countrysideBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Italian local government purchases account for 10-11% of the gross domestic product. Examples of purchases include vehicle fleets, construction materials, chemicals, electronics, and office materials. These items are a significant contributor to global climate change and other environmental concerns during manufacturing and use. Implementing green purchasing policies can significantly curb governmental contributions to negative environmental impacts while stimulating the global production of green products and services.

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Why are Italian municipalities adopting green purchasing policies?

January 14, 2021

Orange train car on Italian streetBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Italian government purchases account for 10 - 11% of the country's gross domestic product. Examples of these purchases include chemicals, construction materials, vehicle fleets, electronics, and office materials. Research shows that these purchases are significant contributors to global climate change and a host of other environmental concerns during manufacturing and when in use. For this reason, Italy passed the National Action Plan on Green Public Procurement to implement purchasing initiatives that reduce environmental impacts. While the plan has a minimum criteria requirement, implementing Green purchasing policies will increase Italy's adoption at the local level and help achieve its National Action Plan goals to reduce environmental impacts.

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Increasing green purchasing success in Italian municipalities

January 14, 2021

Old world Italian city viewBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Italy was the first country in the European Union to mandate green purchasing protocols across all levels of government. The National Action Plan on Green Public Procurement sets guidelines and offers definitions on green purchasing for Italian municipalities. In Italy, government purchasing accounts for 10 - 11% of the country's gross domestic product. Examples of purchases include construction materials, chemicals, vehicle fleets, office materials, and electronics. These purchases are significant contributors to global climate change and other environmental concerns during their manufacturing and while in use.

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7 ways Australian municipalities can increase the success of their sustainable purchasing policies

January 7, 2021

Australian cafe patio  By: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Why is government purchasing so important? In Australia, it accounts for roughly 36.2% of the country's gross domestic product. Examples of purchases include vehicle fleets, construction material, chemicals, electronics, and office materials. These purchases collectively contribute to global climate change and a host of other environmental concerns associated with raw material sourcing, production, use, and disposal.

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Green purchasing policy adoption in Australian municipalities

January 7, 2021

By: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Government purchasing in Australia accounts for 36.2% of the country's total gross domestic product. Examples of these purchases include vehicle fleets, construction material, chemicals, electronics, and office materials. Collectively, these items contribute to global climate change and a host of other environmental concerns. Some municipalities are implementing sustainable purchasing policies to reduce their negative impacts.

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Sustainable purchasing implementation success in Australia

January 7, 2021

Australian city on a partly cloudy dayBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Australia's government purchasing accounts for 36.2% of the country's gross domestic product. Examples of purchases include construction material, chemicals, vehicle fleets, office materials, and electronics. These purchases collectively contribute to global climate change and a host of other environmental concerns during their manufacturing and use. Many Australian municipalities are adopting sustainable purchasing policies to reduce their environmental impacts. A sustainable purchasing policy formalizes an organization's commitment to reduce the environmental harms associated with purchasing and procurement. 

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Four recommendations to advance green purchasing in Mexican municipalities

January 4, 2021

Colorful lighted sculpture in MexicoBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Government purchasing in Mexico accounts for 27.9% of its gross domestic product. Examples of purchases include vehicle fleets, construction materials, chemicals, electronics, and office materials. Collectively, these items contribute to global climate change and a host of other environmental concerns during manufacturing and while in use. In response, local Mexican municipalities are implementing green purchasing policies to reduce the environmental impacts of these purchases.

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Green purchasing policy implementation success in Mexican municipalities

January 4, 2021

red terracota walkway in a mexican cityBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Government purchasing accounts for 27.9% of Mexico's gross domestic product. Examples of purchases include vehicle fleets, construction materials, chemicals, electronics, and office materials. These items collectively contribute to global climate change and a host of other environmental concerns during manufacturing and while in use. In response, some Mexican municipalities have implemented green purchasing policies to help reduce the environmental impacts associated with these purchases.

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Green purchasing policy adoption in Mexican municipalities

January 4, 2021

Mexico City at duskBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Government purchasing accounts for 27.9% of Mexico's gross domestic product. Examples of purchases include vehicle fleets, construction materials, chemicals, electronics, and office materials. These purchases collectively contribute to global climate change and a host of other environmental concerns when manufactured and while in use.

Some Mexican municipalities have implemented green purchasing policies to address the environmental impacts associated with government purchasing. A sustainable purchasing policy formalizes an organization's commitment to reduce the environmental harms related to purchasing. These policies can also improve municipalities' internal efficiencies, thus enhancing cost savings. 

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Eight actions to advance green purchasing in Japanese municipalities

December 11, 2020

Japanese waterfront cityBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

In 2001, Japan's Ministry of Environment partnered with the Japanese Green Purchasing Network to create a "green product database" to help sub-national governments pursue sustainable purchasing. Municipal governments are encouraged to adopt green purchasing and have this database as a resource to guide their endeavors.Government purchases in Japan account for 19.8% of the gross domestic product. Examples of these items include vehicle fleets, construction materials, chemicals, electronics, and office materials. Collectively, they contribute to global climate change and other environmental concerns.

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Why Japanese municipal governments buy green products

December 11, 2020

Japanese canal with red boatsBy:

Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

Japanese governmental purchases account for 19.8% of its gross domestic product. These purchases include vehicle fleets, construction materials, chemicals, electronics, and office materials, to name a few. Collectively, these purchases are significant contributors to global climate change and other environmental concerns. Green purchasing policies are one way that Japan can significantly curb environmental impacts while stimulating the global demand for green products and services. For this reason, Japan's national government has developed guidelines for "green" or environmentally conscious purchasing.

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Japanese green purchasing implementation success

December 11, 2020

Orange Train in Japanese CityBy: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox

In Japan, sustainable purchasing policies are required at the national and federal level. To assist, Japan’s Ministry of Environment has developed guidelines for "green" or environmentally conscious purchasing. At the municipal level, however, anecdotal evidence suggests that implementation is inconsistent, which means they are missing important opportunities to improve the environment.

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Special issue "Prospects and challenges of sustainable public purchasing"

December 12, 2019

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: October 15, 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Nicole Darnall: School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, 875502 Tempe, AZ, USA

Prof. Justin M. Stritch: Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University, 85004, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Prof. Stuart Bretschneider: Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University, 85004, Phoenix, AZ, USA

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ASU students partner with City of Tempe on sustainable purchasing

December 6, 2019

students in SOS/PAF 545 deliver presentationLed by Nicole Darnall, associate dean and professor of public policy and management in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, students in SOS/PAF 545: Organizations, Sustainability and Public Policy have partnered with the City of Tempe to assist the city as it considers implementing a sustainable purchasing policy (SPP) to help it achieve its ambitious Climate Action Goals.

As part of the partnership, students from the class have spent the fall semester conducting research and working with the city’s procurement department staff and vendors to address four questions that would help the city think through its options as it considers how it might adopt an SPP:

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Darnall named National Academy of Public Administration fellow

ASU Now | September 16, 2019

Nicole DarnallThe National Academy of Public Administration has inducted Nicole Darnall, associate dean and professor in Arizona State University's School of Sustainability, into its 2019 class of fellows. Darnall is one of eight NAPA fellows from ASU. An induction into NAPA is one of the highest honors of a public administration official.

Established by Congress in 1967, the nonpartisan NAPA conducts work for federal cabinet departments and agencies, aiming to “improve governance and advance the field of public administration,” by focusing on intergovernmental evaluation, financial management, strategic planning, organization assessment, performance management and human capital.

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Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council presents SPRI with Outstanding Case Award

June 1, 2019

Members of Arizona State University’s Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative team won the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s Outstanding Case Award for their case study “Environmental Purchasing in the City of Phoenix.”

The case study by Stuart Bretschneider, Justin Stritch, Lily Hsueh and Nicole Darnall, co-founder of the SPRI, pinpoints both the facilitators and challenges of implementing an environmental purchasing policy (EPP). It also offers eight recommendations for how cities like Phoenix can integrate an EPP more fully into their existing purchasing processes.

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