By: Elizabeth Bruns, Nicole Darnall, Kylie Flynn, Angela Fox
Government purchasing accounts for 27.9% of Mexico's gross domestic product. Examples of purchases include vehicle fleets, construction materials, chemicals, electronics, and office materials. These items collectively contribute to global climate change and a host of other environmental concerns during manufacturing and while in use. In response, some Mexican municipalities have implemented green purchasing policies to help reduce the environmental impacts associated with these purchases.
Sustainable purchasing policies formalize an organization's commitment to reduce its environmental harms associated with purchasing. In addition to improving environmental conditions, these policies can improve an organization's internal efficiencies, which leads to cost savings.
Mexico has several local and federal initiatives that promote public policies encouraging green purchasing. Despite these efforts, many municipalities still do not have green purchasing policies, suggesting that there are significant implementation hurdles. To understand more, researchers at Tecnológico de Monterrey, EGADE Business School partnered with Arizona State University's Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative to conduct a national survey about Mexico's green purchasing policy implementation.
The survey generated 461 responses from municipal officials located in 347 municipalities. the findings show that 51% of municipalities have a green purchasing policy, 31% have no policy, and 18% of responding municipalities did not know if their municipality had such a policy. Of the municipalities with a green purchasing policy, 76% indicated that their municipalities experienced implementation policy success. The survey results identify three key factors that facilitate the successful implementation of municipalities' sustainable purchasing policies.
Vendors as Allies
Vendors appear to be an essential ally to a municipality's successful implementation of green purchasing, when it comes to educating local governments about environmentally sustainable purchasing options. Local governments that report having vendors that help them learn about environmentally sustainable purchasing options, report having 81% green purchasing success, as compared to 68% green purchasing success reported by local governments that do not have vendors who help them learn about environmentally friendly products and services.
Vendors are also important when it comes to offering product choices. Municipalities that report having vendors that offer environmentally friendly products and services, report having 81% green purchasing success. This value is 18 percent higher than the implementation success of local governments that do not have vendors offering environmentally friendly products and services. Combined with the fact that vendors help municipalities learn about environmentally friendly products and services, these findings point to the importance of local governments collaborating with vendors to improve their green purchasing success.
Commitment to Innovation
An organization's culture results from leadership and employee values, norms, messages, and behaviors. Strong cultures for innovation encourage organizational change and openness to new ideas. The survey results show that local governments which have a stronger commitment to innovation (and the freedom to experiment) are 80 percent more likely to have green purchasing success, as compared to 57 percent when the department does not have a strong commitment to innovation.
These findings shed light on why some Mexican municipalities are more successful than others at implementing green public purchasing policies. Other Mexican municipalities can learn from these best practices to implement or strengthen their own green purchasing policies. To learn more, read the full report at https://sustainability.asu.edu/spri/mexico.
Elizabeth Bruns is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability at Arizona State University’s (ASU’s). She is exploring interests in urban farming and economic development. She plans to pursue an MS in Sustainability Leadership after her graduation in December 2020.
Nicole Darnall is Associate Dean at ASU’s College of Global Futures and Associate Director and Professor at ASU’s School of Sustainability. She is Co-founder of ASU’s Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative.
Kylie Flynn is completing her Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability at ASU with minors in Digital Culture and Parks and Protected Area Management. She is a Communications Intern for ASU’s Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative.
Angela Fox is completing her Master of Arts in Sustainability at ASU. She is interested in sustainability behaviors around social change.
Leal, A. R., D. Pérez Castillo, B.W. Husted, E. Amorós, J. Ivy, Y. Chen, N. Darnall, J.M. Stritch, S. Bretschneider. 2019. Advancing Green Purchasing in Mexican Municipalities. Tecnológico de Monterrey, EGADE Business School and Arizona State University, Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative.