Economic and environmental concerns have contributed to rising interest in green procurement- a term used in various ways but that may best be described as acquisition of products and services with smaller-than-average environmental footprints. Fully assessing a product or service requires integrated evaluation of cost, performance, and impacts for a set of green factors over all stages of the life cycle. Green building is an example of this approach. More generally, complexities and information gaps may constrict assessment options. However, where choices are comparative, partial assessments may often suffice. Because of such considerations, green procurement often emphasizes particular attributes, such as recycled content, energy efficiency, and waste reduction. Labeling and certification programs such as Energy Star, as well as other approaches, may be used to identify green products and services. While the use of green procurement appears to be increasing nationally, the success of programs is often not clear. Barriers to broader adoption include inadequate information among decisionmakers, lack of common implementation standards, real and perceived cost obstacles, and market and technical uncertainties.
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