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Pollution prevention PLUS lean manufacturing = green procurement.

By combining Lean and Clean manufacturing methods, technical reviews optimize resources

Find green business solutions

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

Green purchasing is often referred to as environmentally preferable purchasing. It’s the selection and acquisition of products and services that minimize environmental impact throughout the course of the manufacturing, transportation, use, and recycling or disposal lifecycles.

Supply Management

As the core of the inbound supply chain, supply management plays a vital role in finding green opportunities. However, putting them in context can be difficult.

PLUS Sustainability

A good reference point for any organization is to first understand what elements fall under the sustainability umbrella. Here are some of the greatest opportunities with which supply management can help their companies:
  • Switching from toxic to nontoxic substances
  • Water reuse in manufacturing of supplied products
  • Air emission and hazardous waste reductions
  • Supplier energy efficiency

Lean + Pollution Prevention + Environmental Initiatives

The Green Supply Network (GSN)-a joint effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program-took the proven principles of lean and merged them with pollution prevention and the EPA’s environmental initiatives.

GSN’s marriage of clean initiatives to the principles of lean provided the following lessons learned:

  • Optimizing material use for less scrap yields reduced solid waste.
  • Reducing inventory for less chemical spoilage equates to reduced hazardous waste.
  • Reducing overproduction means less run time and an energy savings.
  • Less transportation means a reduction in fuel consumption, which reduces air emissions.

How real is lean and green supply management? At the Supplier Management conference, a CPO of a furniture manufacturer reported she had asked a segment of her suppliers to participate in the GSN study and three agreed. Each supplier took a different approach, but all of them made a difference in the use of resources, compliance to regulations, and the protection of customer and company reputations.

READ their stories at ARTICLE: Lean And Clean With Green Purchasing

One example:

Supplier B: Chemicals and lubricants for pretreatment program at customer sites

Approach: After the GSN evaluation, the supplier took the information and provided the customer with a green solution.

Challenges: Securing business after showing cost reductions.

Changes: There were significant changes made in the customer’s finishing operations, which produced a savings of $1M. In addition, the supplier decreased costs and became a more strategic supplier.

Results: Customer cost reduction, 60% energy reduction in BTUs required, 80% less water required, 20% to 30% less volume based on innovative chemistry solutions, 85% waste reduction, and a more than 50% labor reduction for washer maintenance.


Green Suppliers Network works with large manufacturers to engage their small and medium-sized suppliers in low-cost technical reviews that focus on process improvement and waste minimization. EPA provides program support and funding.

By combining Lean and Clean manufacturing methods, technical reviews optimize resources, such as labor and materials, identify opportunities to maximize return on investment, and eliminate waste. Green Suppliers Network Technical Review provides business-focused solutions to address suppliers manufacturing challenges.

Contact Green Suppliers Network

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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