The way a product is produced, from extraction of raw materials for its production to the point when all materials are returned to the Earth as waste, can have a lesser or greater impact on the environment. The production stages of a product usually include the extraction and processing of raw materials, construction, transportation, distribution, use, maintenance and waste management. All these stages constitute the life cycle of a product, during which energy is consumed, synthetic materials are used and waste is produced.
When the term "green procurement" is used for an organization, either governmental or private, it signifies that the potential buyers take into account the environmental factors of a product before buying it.
For example, Piraeus Bank has integrated green criteria in its procurement policy, since all requirements in A3 and A4 paper are covered by recycled and chlorine free paper; the fleet of corporate vehicles is being replaced with low fuel-consumption vehicles, while electrical and electronic equipment is gradually being replaced with low energy-consumption devices.
In the framework of applying a green procurement policy, in 2014 two environmental programmes were designed and completed. The first regards the supply of FSC1-certified paper for the printing of most bank statements and folders sent to customers. The second programme regards the use of environmentally certified detergents (with the EU Ecolabel) and is implemented on a pilot basis at five administration buildings of the Bank and at PIOP’s offices in Plaka, with parallel information provision to employees and the collaborating cleaning services.
1 FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), Its mission is to promote environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests.