Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Carolyne Blain and I am the Director General of the Strategic Policy Sector in the Acquisitions Program at Public Services and Procurement Canada, or PSPC.
Accompanying me today is my colleague David Schwartz, Director General of the Commercial and Alternative Acquisitions Management Sector, also of the Acquisitions Program at PSPC. Also joining me are colleagues from the Treasury Board Secretariat, Nick Xenos and Jessica Sultan, whom you met at the last meeting on this study.
Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to appear and speak about the greening government strategy. I am happy to share with you the important work we are undertaking at Public Services and Procurement Canada regarding green procurement.
If we, as a country, government, and people are serious about moving towards a greener future, procurement is a lever toward advancing and achieving sustainability goals and driving positive change in the supply chain and the Canadian economy. To fulfill this goal, we have made, and will continue to make, fundamental changes to the goods and services we use and the way in which we procure them.
As the largest public buyer in Canada, PSPC is in a unique position to both influence and have a direct impact on the range of environmentally preferable products and services that are sought, as well as what is offered by industry.
To maximize the environmental benefits in procurement, we have given priority to shared and national procurement instruments to optimize the impact of sourcing decisions. This allows various government departments, including federal, provincial and territorial governments, to access environmentally preferable goods and services. By collaborating with the provinces and territories, we increase our influence well beyond the federal public procurement. Additionally, environmental considerations have been included in procurement instruments for more than 35 commodity groupings.
Implementing environmental considerations into procurement requires an understanding of the complete life cycle of purchased goods or services, from extraction of material to disposal. This knowledge allows us to integrate green criteria where they will have the greatest impact. For example, our national procurement instruments for light-duty passenger vehicles take into consideration the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the evaluation. This allows the government to source vehicles that will deliver optimum environmental benefits over the useful life of the vehicle while responding to the operational requirements of the client department.
Another example of how PSPC is looking to promote environmental stewardship is by ensuring that items on mandatory standing offers are green, as is the case in our standing offer for office paper, which requires that the paper supplied contain recycled content. We're continuing to innovate. For example, PSPC has added agricultural waste fibre paper to the standing offer, which is essentially tree-free paper. Additionally, only paper manufactured in conditions that meet or exceed requirements based on recognized and certified standards is available through the standing offer. This means that the paper provided comes from mills that have demonstrated they have reduced their impact on the environment.
We are also focusing our efforts on reducing the government's environmental footprint as it relates to the emission of greenhouse gases from the heating and cooling of federal facilities. In January 2017, PSPC awarded a $131-million contract for the purchase of clean energy for the Department of National Defence and Environment and Climate Change Canada in Alberta. With this contract, 90% of the Department of National Defence's energy requirement in that province will come from clean energy sources.
Engaging stakeholders and building on business opportunities is an important part of PSPC's business model. Supplier engagement and mobilization play a key role in meeting our green procurement objectives. One example is the recent consultations with suppliers of office supplies to better understand the range and availability of environmentally preferable solutions with particular emphasis on reducing plastics and greenhouse gas emissions.
This engagement with the industry will contribute to a review of over 4,800 high volume items to identify products that meet specific environmental criteria for the 2019 edition of the standing offer.
PSPC also engages with external stakeholders such as the Espace québécois de concertation sur les pratiques d'approvisionnement responsable. This organization helps PSPC accelerate green procurement implementation by working collectively with other organizations on similar challenges and creating science-based-evidence tools for procurement.
As you are aware, the G7 Summit was held in Charlevoix in June 2018. As there was a strong appetite to make the G7 Summit an eco-responsible event, it became essential to apply the principles of green procurement to the many purchases required to host the event. Approaches were crafted to efficiently and quickly implement environmental considerations into the development of procurement requirements and evaluation approaches. This included an innovative bid evaluation methodology for contracts for accommodation, transportation and food services in order to give preference to environmental products and services.
The process for this summit made a difference for several elements, including the responsible management of waste materials and the limited use of plastics. These actions helped ensure that the summit achieved a level 3 certification of the eco-responsible event management standard of the Conseil québécois des événements écoresponsables. This generated positive reactions and incentivized industry to adapt to more sustainable waste management practices.
The G7 provided PSPC with lessons learned and new approaches such as reducing single-use plastics, using composting to offset greenhouse gas emissions, giving incentives to supply environmental products. These lessons learned are now being considered for projects and will have positive effects on the implementation of green procurement across PSPC in the future.
PSPC also continues to optimize internal processes to better environmental outcomes such as adopting electronic bid submission, increasing use of electronic signatures, electronic archiving and the new electronic procurement solution, which was announced in budget 2018.
Green procurement is not just about the bottom line of using fewer products and services. It includes socio-economic benefits and long-term effects on the health of our environment, beyond the immediate measurable reductions in energy costs, water usage and GHG emissions. Changing purchasing behaviours at PSPC by incorporating the life cycle of products and services will have a positive impact at each phase of acquisition. How we plan, purchase, use and maintain and ultimately dispose of our purchases will also have a wider influence on suppliers, manufacturers and Canadians. What we do will set the standard and influence change on a broader scale. We need to move away from looking at the upfront cost of an item and instead consider the goods or service in the circular economy that focuses on keeping goods, including plastics, in the economy and out of landfills and the environment, providing long-term benefits and best value to Canadians and the community.
We'll continue to work with our colleagues at Treasury Board Secretariat's centre for greening government to advance green procurement practices. PSPC is committed to working in collaboration with other government departments, leading the implementation of the greening government strategy to effectively contribute to low-carbon environmentally responsible growth.
Thank you very much for your time.