Could green procurement save you money?

[Newsletter] could green procurement save you money?

Sent Thursday, November 11, 2010


Client Success Story: The Bolton Museum


Pierrette Squires is a participant in Greener Museums 2010

Sustainability Leadership Program*


Participating has uncovered the potential to save money in a time

of fiscal uncertainty–which is a huge organisational benefit, as

is the potential for improving staff morale through doing something

positive. In terms of actual cost savings, Bolton is estimated to

have saved at least £50,000 due to not installing air conditioning

in their Archives. This was as a result of extensive research into

the existing conditions in the Archive, which were found to be

stable without any artificial conditioning.


I don’t know that I’d have had the confidence to push for this

without being on the course. In addition to the capital savings it

will save at least £10,000 a year on running costs. I had a good

level of personal understanding of sustainability as I was already

fascinated by the science behind the subject.


I am a good communicator but did not have the confidence in

managerial support to advocate for a lot of change. My biggest

discovery has been that I am supported by management in a lot of my

beliefs. In addition, my understanding has improved, particularly

in procurement and carbon footprinting. I am much more confident to

argue for change. This has hugely benefited my professional

development persuading me to take a risk and push the accepted

standards in the argument against air conditioning. My biggest

personal benefit has been improved recognition at National level

within conservation.


–Pierrette Squires, Conservator

The Bolton Museum


*All 2010 Participants have been funded by Renaissance North West


Can Buying Green Save Money?

When can spending money save you money? Well, certainly when you

are looking at a long-term investment. Green procurement is one of

these areas. The definition of Green Procurement is to choose

purchases that minimize environmental impacts. In addition,

you can take it further by purchasing products that are made in a

responsible way by considering the three pillars of sustainability,

namely economic and social factors as well environmental factors.

In other words when you are making buying decisions, you’re looking

at more than just the initial upfront cost. It means you are taking

into consideration other important factors such as environmental

and ethical criteria. When buying green there are two main

questions you should ask.


Do we need that?


The first question to ask is always, “Do we actually need this?”

Perhaps it is an item that can be shared and there is already one

in the office– like staplers, printers, copiers, etc. When buying

you need to get out of habits and question the necessity of

purchases, this can happen with stationery purchases in particular

where certain items are ordered on a regular basis without

questioning the need for them. For example you might be buying

note pads regularly when there are piles of scrap paper which could

be used for making notes. Simply by just considering the need for

something you will cut down on unnecessary purchases. This sort of

behaviour also happens with replacing printers where each person

may have a printer on their desk. When such items break and need

replacing, it may be worthwhile considering a multi-function



What’s the total cost?


In tough times we cut back– but could cutting back actually cost

us more? In many cases the answer is yes. That’s why the second

question to ask is “What will this product cost over its entire

life?” Not what it’s going to cost to buy it right now, but what

would it cost to buy it, to operate it, to dispose of it and

finally to replace it. This is what is referred to as life cycle

costing or whole life costing. It refers to factoring in more than

just the purchase price to your buying decision. When you’re

evaluating in particular the environmental performance of a good or

service, you look at the purchase price, but you must also look at

all of its associated costs. Operating cost like energy use or

maintenance, end of life costs such as disposal, any hazardous

waste separation that has to occur and recyclability. So you’re

looking at more than just the initial upfront cost.


These two questions are essential before you make any purchase.



Upcoming Events




Planning for a New Reality: How Sustainability Can Help Your Museum

to Cut Costs, Cut Carbon, Create Opportunities and THRIVE in the

New Financial Reality

London, United Kingdom

December 10th, 2010


This unique one day course shows Museum, Gallery and Cultural

Sector Professionals the special tools and techniques I use to help

clients save money, engage staff and achieve more than ever before

through their sustainability approach.


Register at


Irish Museums Association Annual Conference: The Way Forward:

Sustainability and the Museum

Drogheda, Ireland

February 25-27, 2011


I’ll be delivering the keynote address at this year’s Irish Museums

Association annual conference.


Register at