sive. Also important are people who could help recognize when a product with higher initial costs would result in savings over time. Such savings, he noted, could possibly fund this type of program in a way that it becomes a self-funding mechanism. In Mr. Rifkin’s view, another important member of team would be someone from the office of the mayor (or city administrator or governor), to make clear to everyone that leadership supports the new approach.

Finally, having someone from the supplier community can be beneficial. This allows local businesses to be apprised of sustainable initiatives and any new requirements when it is time for a bid for particular types of products, Mr. Rifkin added; such information helps them prepare and be ready with any needed specifications. Pulling together this team ultimately gains an element of buy-in from this very politically powerful group of people, and turns into allies a group of individuals who before may have resisted sustainability initiatives. Such an effort would have many benefits, such as streamlining the sustainable purchasing process by giving procurement professionals clear and precise guidance about the process and making them a partner in it. This type of program could also make tracking purchases easier, Mr. Rifkin said; effectively tracking purchases is difficult, and without tracking it is hard to measure progress. Such programs would also allow jurisdictions to be creative, he said; states and local communities are the laboratories of the country, and giving them the tools and infrastructure to make decisions could allow for them to come up with distinctive solutions that will help everybody. Mr. Rifkin concluded that at the end of the day, bringing this group to the table and asking them to speak to these issues builds buy-in, which is probably the most difficult thing to achieve because of different priorities, needs, and other pressures.

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