IT products have a huge impact on the environment. Our current, linear way of producing and consuming IT products is not sustainable. IT products are also a significant part of the 2 trillion euros that public authorities, only in the European Union, spend every year on the purchase of services, works, and supplies. Including sustainability certifications in procurement policies and tenders, therefore, is an effective way to drive environmental and social responsibility in the life cycle and value chain and contribute to the circular economy. 

Here is a list of common mistakes made in IT procurement that TCO Certified identified in conversations with purchasers.

  1. Not including sustainability criteria at all. It may sound obvious, but this is actually still common. It doesn’t matter where you start — the key is to start now.  
  2. Only requiring compliance with mandatory legislation. Purchasers have the opportunity to encourage the industry to go beyond legal sustainability requirements — use that superpower.
  3. Running procurement cycles that are too short. This can lead to frequent product renewals and early disposal of products that are still functional.   
  4. Thinking all sustainability ecolabels/sustainability certifications are the same. It is important to choose ecolabels/certifications that drive change, with genuine sustainability impacts and independent verification to avoid greenwashing. 
  5. Not fully seizing the potential of "repairability" criteria. When including ambitious repairability criteria, it doesn't make sense also to require that defective products are replaced with new ones.

If you are interested in making your IT procurement more sustainable, begin with TCO's guide, Sustainable IT for Beginners. If you have already started to make your IT procurement more sustainable, there is an updated step-by-step guide that offers practical tips along the way.