Facilitating green purchasing in Japan

Workshop session using post-it notesFor almost 20 years, the Ministry of the Environment in Japan has tried to get local municipalities to adopt green purchasing policies (GPP), to mixed results. Last year, Arizona State University’s Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative collaborated with Waseda University’s Research Institute for Environmental Economics and Management (RIEEM) to determine why. More than 800 Japanese municipalities represented by finance, municipal engineering and environmental directors were surveyed. The results from the survey revealed that just over 50% of directors reported that their municipality had implemented a GPP. Out of these directors, more than a third said that they had failed at the implementation, revealing significant organizational barriers concerning the GPP implementation. In a bid to address this, RIEEM hosted a multi-stakeholder meeting in December 2018 to discuss the challenges and possible solutions to advancing eco-friendly purchasing in Japanese municipalities. The participants ranged from government representatives to academic researchers from 16 different organizations. They concluded that there were three possible pathways to advancing GPP in Japanese municipalities: Increasing organizational commitment, enhancing knowledge and information access, and expanding organizational capacity. In the end, RIEEM and SPRI reaffirmed their commitments to assist by offering solutions that will advance GPP in Japanese municipalities. View the meeting recap in Japanese.