Sustainability and Town Purchasing

Fairfield’s Purchasing Department has provided invaluable support in ensuring that purchasing decisions take into account environmental preservation and sustainability, both locally and in accord with more “global” concerns.  This support aligns with the department’s overall mission of “obtaining the best value proposition – quality, cost, and delivery – for all products and services purchased.”  Now, the Town has an appealing opportunity to formalize and broaden its purchasing procedures in line with environmental and sustainability goals.

Achievements to Date (Town and SFTF)

  • Maintaining a bid presentation process dedicated to reducing waste and promoting the use of recycled and environmentally preferable products (e.g., use of recycled paper; no plastic binders, covers, inserts or pages)
  • Participating in all Town and school building committees, e.g., sustainability concerns reflected in building improvements such as window and roof replacement, etc.
  • Providing input on sustainability concerns for special building projects, e.g., post-Sandy renovation of Penfield Pavilion
  • Following the Purchasing Department’s mandate to oversee electricity supply and pricing for the Town and Board of Education, providing input re: installations for solar energy generation at selected Town locations (e.g., school solar carports)
  • Providing input re:  prospective leasing and/or purchase of electrically powered vehicles for the Town fleet, electric school buses

Challenges Ahead

  • Growing urgency for purchasing with concern for environmental preservation and sustainability
  • Maintaining fiscal responsibility with sustainable purchasing
  • Adopting an ongoing, state-of-the-art Town process for sustainable purchasing

Benefits of Sustainable Purchasing Decisions

  • Reducing long-term costs
  • Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions by reducing waste and use of hazardous materials
  • Enhancing appeal/equity of Fairfield as a community by encouraging stronger ties with a more diverse roster of vendors

Goals 2030*

  • Formally embed consideration of environmental preservation and sustainability into the Town process for purchasing goods and services
  • Monitor metrics chosen to reflect the process’s effectiveness
  • Increase the diversity of vendors hired by the Town

*Some goals are ambitious and may need more time to achieve target participation rates; others can be achieved sooner. Work on all goals should begin as soon as possible.

How Do We Reach Our Goals?

  • Have Town elected officials, staff members, and commission members participate in sustainable procurement training as appropriate
  • By Town resolution, develop/adopt a sustainable purchasing policy
  • Distribute the newly adopted policy to relevant department heads, post the policy on the Town website, communicate policy to relevant suppliers, vendors
  • Consider Sustainable CT social and environmental impact areas in formulating Town policy
  • Implement Town’s sustainable purchasing policy
  • Develop and track an estimate of the percentage of Town’s budget used to purchase sustainable goods/services
  • Annually create a narrative description of goods/services sustainably purchased by the Town, reflecting key social/environmental impact areas
  • Incorporate special vendor designations in the Town’s vendor roster, e.g., locally-owned businesses, sustainable or eco-friendly businesses, minority and women-owned businesses, alternative corporate structures, such as B Corps and cooperatively owned businesses
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Sustainable CT Certification
Town of Fairfield Purchasing Department
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