Every product or service your business buys has an impact on the environment. 

A product or service generates environmental impacts throughout its life cycle, from the raw materials and energy used to manufacture or supply it, to the way it is recycled or managed at the end of its life.

An environmentally friendly product or service, or eco-friendly product or service, is such that it doesn’t harm the environment, or it harms the environment the least compared to similar products or services - in the case of a product, in the different aspects of in the production, use and disposal of that product, and in case of a service, in any aspects of the delivery of the service. These products and services will generate less pollution or deplete fewer resources than other products or services for the same purposes. This may be due to, for example, being more energy-efficient, being made of recycled materials or materials that would otherwise be considered wastes, for making use of resources sourced locally, etc.

Your purchases also have social impacts. For example, if you buy goods or services from organisations that have good pay and working conditions, you will be making these companies more successful and so you will be supporting these good working conditions.​

Sustainable purchasing is an approach to buying that focuses on reducing the impact of the goods and services you buy on the environment, human health and social conditions. This means making better choices about what you buy, how often and who you buy from, which could help you save money.

This guide will help you make informed and sustainable choices when buying goods and services. It explains the benefits of sustainable procurement, and how to buy goods and services sustainably, and avoid unnecessary purchases. It also covers using environmental labels and how to select sustainable suppliers.