Green Office Week 2012 – Purchasing Thursday

That’s got a nice ring to it, hasn’t it? Today’s #gow2012 theme is purchasing. Beyond making pretty easy decisions about buying recycled paper and Fair Trade coffee for the office, refilling toner cartridges and sourcing energy-efficient kit when kit just has to be replaced, how about considering whether a purchase is necessary in the first place?

Green Office Week‘s Tip No 1 today is:

Tip 1:  Organise a stationery amnesty day and pool together surplus stationery supplies. You will probably find you don’t need to place so many orders for more stock! Co-ordinate your stationery orders with others in your company to reduce the number of deliveries.

Good idea, but this principle doesn’t apply only to stationery. How about taking away from Green Office Week a commitment to review all purchasing decisions and contracts? These days virtualisation and cloud services (which I’m not conflating but do have a relationship) really relieve the strain on computer kit, allowing it to continue functioning well for years.

How about reviewing your historical pattern of purchasing to break the ‘we buy a new X every two years because we always have’ cycle – perhaps you simply no longer have a need for a type of equipment. If you distributed less paper matter, would you still need a photocopier? Have you ever considered what goes into manufacture of a photocopier? The raw materials required for mobile phones, computers and other electronics is quite jaw-dropping, so at least think before buying.

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