– Step-by-step guide for purchasers
Guide to sustainable IT purchasing with TCO Certified
Do you need help getting started with your sustainable procurement strategy? Follow our guide for practical tips along the way.
Step 1 — get your organization ready
Set your goals
- Make sure that procurement is a key part of your overall sustainability plan. Purchasing more sustainable products can help your organization meet your own sustainability targets as well as contribute to larger goals such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.
- Design a sustainable procurement plan with measurable goals that cover priority product categories.
- To decide which product categories to include in the sustainable procurement plan, consider the environmental and social risks during the whole life cycle, and also potential gains that purchasing more sustainable alternatives can lead to.
Involve the right people
- Educate management and co-workers on the social and environmental risks connected to IT products and how sustainable procurement can help you reach organizational, national and global sustainability goals.
- Ensure management-level sign off on both the sustainability plan and the sustainable procurement plan. This helps support a strategic, long term approach.
- Include team members with sustainability expertise in the procurement process to ensure that social and environmental aspects are considered before, during and after contracting.
Step 2 — talk to your vendors
Clarify your goals
- Explain to your vendors that your social and environmental sustainability goals are a priority aspect of your purchasing program.
- Make it clear that IT products are a prioritized product group for sustainable procurement.
Involve them early
- Tell your vendors early that you intend to specify the latest generation of TCO Certified in your contract terms. Generally, brands apply for product certification when purchasing organizations ask for TCO Certified. Therefore, Asking specifically for TCO Certified leads to an increased number of certified products available on the market.
Step 3 — write the contract
Make it clear
- Make sure that the contract name reflects the requirements that are most important to you, as well as the product category that the contract will cover, for example: “Procurement of more sustainable notebooks”. Naming it right helps draw attention to your sustainability priorities, raising the likelihood of receiving the right offers from vendors.
Request certificate as proof
- Include contract language specifying the latest generation of TCO Certified for the product category you want to procure and request a valid certificate as proof of compliance. Simply discussing TCO Certified with your vendor is no guarantee of them delivering certified products.
Allow time to apply for certification
- Include a qualification period (6 months, for example) in the contract, to allow suppliers to apply for TCO Certified. This way, you can accept bids from suppliers even if their product models are not yet certified. This is an additional way your organization can help drive sustainable development and practices in the IT industry.
Hold vendors accountable
- Specify that products must maintain an active certificate throughout the entire contract period — even if the manufacturer refreshes or updates that product model during the life of the contract.
- Include a contract severance clause or other consequences in case a vendor does not provide valid certificates as proof of compliance that cover the life of the contract.
Step 4 — when the contract is signed
Stay true to your strategy
- Make sure that all who purchase IT products specify TCO Certified when ordering off the contract. This way, you get access to the comprehensive life cycle criteria in TCO Certified, independently verified to drive both environmental and social sustainability, throughout the lifespan of the certificate.
- Product models may be updated during the contract period and you need to make sure that any replacement product also is certified.
Measure and report your impact
- Use your sustainable purchasing program to measure and report your progress. The TCO Certified certificates include information about product energy use, total weight and recycled plastic content. These figures can be used to measure the progress you make towards sustainability goals connected to climate effects, e-waste and more. As the data is independently verified, you can be confident using it in your sustainability reporting.
- Keep your sustainability reports up-to-date by asking for certificates for all product models that your supplier delivers, throughout the entire contract period.
TCO Certified makes sustainable procurement easier
IT products are connected to many social and environmental risks throughout the life cycle. Including TCO Certified in your purchasing contracts is an effective way of challenging the IT industry and, at the same time, positioning your organization as a sustainability leader.
Many products are already certified
Our Product Finder presents an updated list and you can search by category, brand or product name. Product finder is updated as soon as a new model is certified. If you can’t find a product that a brand owner claims is certified, let us know!
View the complete criteria
You can view the detailed criteria in TCO Certified, download criteria documents and learn more about our verification processes by visiting our certification documents page.