Join the purchasing evolution

By Jane Garcia

NSW councils are invited to join a new sustainable procurement program provided by the Local Government and Shires Association (LGSA) and funded by the NSW Environmental Trust.

“Many councils are already purchasing green, from recycled playground equipment, to hybrid cars and water saving products, the benefits are huge,” says LGSA president Genia McCaffery.

“But technical innovations and improved efficiencies continue to offer opportunities for cost savings and better environmental outcomes.”

Sustainable Choice is the next evolutionary step from the Local Government Buy Recycled Alliance, broadening out the recycled program to include broader sustainability issues, particularly energy and water efficient products, the program’s project officer, Seb Crawford told

“Local government in NSW spends about $5 billion a year so how can we harness that purchasing power to deliver better social, economic and environmental outcomes? ” he says.

“The idea is that we integrate this into what councils are already doing in terms of triple bottom line and ESD [ecologically sustainable development].

“It plays into what is happening at a state and Federal level in terms of greenhouse gas emission and water management. It also includes non-toxics – cleaning products, paints – and is also mindful of biodiversity and conservation issues.”

A keystone of Sustainable Choices will be encouraging councils to exchange information on their experiences and ideas about sustainable procurement, and the program will establish an online database of suppliers providing greener products and services.

Mr Crawford says both the private and public sectors in NSW have been good at picking  the low-hanging fruit in areas such as energy efficient lighting and insulation, but there was more to be done to ensure sustainable purchasing practices.

“I think fleet management is an area we can make serious inroads in because we still have a lot of large vehicles, like six-cylinders, out there on the roads,” he says.

“Some councils, such as Newcastle, Canterbury and Gosford, are experimenting with things like LPG vehicles and biodiesel in some of their trucks. At least 10 councils across NSW are already experimenting with electric hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius.”

For more information contact Seb Crawford on 02 9242 4053 or email:

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required