Figure 4-1 The landscape of product sustainability tools.
SOURCE: Anastasia O’Rouke presentation, December 7, 2011.
Three programs familiar to Mr. O’Brien in a university setting are the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS),1 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED),2 and American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).3 All three programs are voluntary, Mr. O’Brien commented, and have successfully become de facto standards for universities—a result he attributed to the time invested in engaging stakeholders as the programs were developed. That investment resulted in immediate “buy-in” so that when the programs were released, they were readily taken up by stakeholders. Similarly, the openness of a tool—whether it is public or private in design—is important, he said; for example, the information provided to STARS and ACUPCC are public and available online, but data for LEED are generally not. A program is also informative if it allows benchmarking against peers, Mr. O’Brien added; with STARS or ACUPCC users are rated or provided a score and are able to compare themselves against peer scores in that system.
Mr. O’Brien emphasized that a tool used for procurement needs to be able to be integrated with other systems and especially with financial tools. Ideally, financial decision making and sustainable procurement should be part of the same tool, so that comparisons of data are made within a single integrated system. Also commenting on integration was