Green Procurement by Local Governments SurveyedIn January and February 2003, Japan's Ministry of the Environment conducted a survey of 3,287 local governments nationwide to determine their commitment to green purchasing.
Spending by Japan's local governments amounts to approximately 68 trillion yen (US $6,126 billion), accounting for about three-fourths of total public-sector expenses and 13 percent of gross domestic expenditures. At the same time, each local government has a lot of influence on its own district's society and economy, and thus plays a key role in promoting green purchasing. Japan's Green Procurement Law, or Law Concerning the Promotion of Procurement of Eco-Friendly Goods and Services by the State and Other Entities, which took effect in April 2001, also stipulates that local governments should promote green procurement.
Results showed that almost 90 percent of the local governments surveyed are involved in green procurement in some way. There is, however, a big difference in level of commitment among these governments. For example, when asked if they are systematically committed to green procurement, 98.3 percent of the governments of prefectures and "ordinance-designated" cities (the 13 largest cities in Japan) replied in the affirmative, as compared to 50.4 percent of other city governments, and 14.9 percent of town and village municipalities .
Topping the list of factors that hinder the promotion of green procurement was the high price of such products. Meanwhile, there were differences between prefecture or larger city governments and smaller local municipalities in what they perceived as obstacles. Prefectures and larger cities found obstacles at the commodity selection stage, such as the lack of green products that meet standard requirements or vague standards for the targeted products, and limited options in the styles and manufacturers of commodities available. On the other hand, the problems for smaller cities, towns and villages were more organizational in that there was a lack of awareness about green procurement and difficulties in purchasing green products in bulk due to normal procedures in which each division procures its own commodities.
As for environmentally friendly products that have already been purchased regularly for a long time, such as paper, stationery, and office automation equipment, the number of respondents who say that such products are less expensive or almost the same price as non-green products increased over the previous survey. This indicates gradual improvement in the problem of green products' being expensive.
Posted: 2004/01/21 09:12:15 AM
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