SPRI informs City of Phoenix on green purchases

Maroon City of Phoenix logo with birdArizona State University’s School of Public Affairs is collaborating with the City of Phoenix to help the city make more environmentally friendly purchases to reduce its impact. The team of faculty members and researchers, led by Nicole Darnall — a senior sustainability scholar in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, associate dean of the School of Sustainability, and co-founder and team leader of the Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative — conducted focus group interviews with city procurement specialists to identify the obstacles that had stalled the plan to implement the city’s Environmental Procurement Policy. They found that there were organizational barriers in how purchasing is managed across city departments and trade-offs between purchasing criteria that compete with more eco-friendly options. In light of this, the researchers provided eight recommendations to the city that ranged from the creation of an Environmental Procurement Policy team to the establishment of city level incentives to promote green purchasing. According to Joe Giudice, the city’s environmental programs manager, the feedback will be used to “improve the city’s sustainable purchasing program and advance the city’s 2050 environmental sustainability goals.”