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Green Procurement in Public Healthcare Systems in India

Info: 4762 words (19 pages) Dissertation
Published: 10th Dec 2019

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Tagged: HealthPublic Sector

Table of Contents

  1. Topic Description………………………………………………………………..……2
  2. Aims and Objectives…………………………………………………………..………2

2.1 Background and issues underlying the research……………..……….…….….….2

2.2 Justification for the research……………………………………..………….…….3

2.3 Business discipline and academic areas…………………………………….….….3

     3. Literature Review

3.1 Concept of Green Procurement……………………………………………………4

3.2 Supplier selection – a part of Green supply chain management(GSCM)………….5

3.3 Challenges in green procurement………………….………………………..….….7

     4. Critical Analysis of a Peer Reviewed, Scholarly Text……….…………………………..8

     5. Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………….11


Section 1: Topic Description

The research topic is based on the awareness and opportunities for Indian hospitals to explore the factor of Green Procurement. The significance of the word “Green” and positive environmental impacts has gain a lot of attention and many industries around the world are concern and are trying to implement ways in which they can turn their industry towards sustainability and being environment friendly. One such method is green procurement. Considering many developed countries with vast amount of wealth and power where green procurement is handled and many of their industries had already started implementing it on a large scale, including the Healthcare industry.

The focus should be entirely on the ways in which public hospitals have been integrating the greenness as in ensuring that the suppliers meet the demand which is geared towards sustainability. This could be considered as an initial step in identifying problems within the sector.

This topic will also consider the supply chain of the public sectors and reveal their views on green purchasing, whether these hospitals have a potential for green purchasing and whether such hospitals are aware of the impact and significance of green procurement.

Section 2: Aims and Objectives

The overall aim of the research is to identify and gain information on whether public healthcare system in India give priority to procurement and the ways they implement their issues regarding the same. This also involves around the facts whether they are aware about the issues revolving around green procurement.

Based on the research aim, following question can be raised.

  1. What is their concept and understanding of green procurement or green purchasing?
  2. Do they include methods or ways to implement green procurement?
  3. What influences their decision regarding purchasing and the external powers that governs such decisions?
  4. What hinders their decision while procuring medical equipment’s or other surgical instruments?
  5. Is the money provided by the Government on public system is enough for their ongoing activities?

2.1 Background and issues underlying the research:

In India, a developing country, where its growing economy is not influenced in the Public sectors of healthcare systems. Indian Government is estimated to spend only 4.7% of its overall GDP on public health (D’Cunha 2017). It’s alarming considering the population of the economy. Thus, procurement in such sector will not be as highly developed as it should be.

Environmental factors such as climate change and unsustainable use of resources available to us causes ill-health problems. The healthcare sector contributes to these environmental problems, even while trying to confront their impacts (Karliner and Guenther 2011). In US., Hospitals are known to be consuming large amounts of energy because of the way in which they are operated and the large number of people that uses them. They are open 24 hours a day and can occupy large number of employees, patients, and visitors on a daily basis. There are also many activities that are supposed to draw huge amount of energy for various purposes (such as computer equipment, laboratory equipment) that occur within a hospital premises. Thus, hospitals can cause significant amount of environmental issues.(CBECS 2012)

2.2 Justification for the research:

Currently studying master’s on International procurement and supply chain management has opened the different concepts related to procurement and SCM. I was not fully aware, nor did I study before the topics related to green supply chain and green purchasing. Now since getting useful insight during this period and also the CSR activities that directly impacts the Environment at large, it gave me an interest on this research field.

Society have started realizing the impact of their activities that contributes to the degradation of the environment. whether it may be their lifestyle, their ways of doing stuffs, work environment, etc. These same issues are related to big industries or government sectors. One such sector is health care system. Green procurement in itself is relatively new, but green procurement in hospitals is even more so. Indians spend around 8 times more on private hospitals than on government (public) hospitals. It’s also estimated that 1 in 5 Indians is poor (World Bank 2016), which clearly underlines a significant amount of the population of India is directly dependent on Government hospitals. Low investment and spending on public healthcare creates huge risk regarding the safety of the people and the medical accessories being used by them. This also questions procurement methods used by the hospitals in the area covering purchasing of materials, sterile equipment’s and large heavy instruments.

2.3 Business discipline and academic areas:

The academic research area related to the topic revolves around the primary stages of procurement and the initial tiers of Supply chain management. This emphasis on the supplier’s involvement with the Government hospitals and their methods of purchasing conducted by the sector and even to consider investing good amount on healthcare systems as its primary focus will be Public safety and their well-being keeping it in closed loop with Environment.











3. Literature Review

3.1 Concept of Green Procurement

(Mebratu 2001) talks about the potential benefits of adopting the purchasing criteria and why green products are more effective, it also explores the mentality of people and their misconception regarding environment procurement and clears out through his report that products should not be taken into consideration by their initial price, but though their overall cost of use and disposal.

Benefits of green purchasing can only be evident if it can be practiced on a regular basis. (Guenther et al. 2013) explores about the “why not” perspective rather than “how to”, this gives us a broader look into the barriers faced by any public as well as private organizations or municipalities and also the inclusion of various departments and their controls over the views and action that influences the purchasing decision at operational and strategic level as shown in Figure 1

Green procurement affects the entire supply chain as suppliers/manufacturers are pressured to provide equipment that is environmentally-friendly. For such results, manufacturers tend to collaborate with their suppliers, with the technology and the innovation techniques in hand, opt to design and develop equipment that are easy to disassemble and recycle, and acquiring raw materials and services that take into consideration of environmental aspects (Emmett and Sood 2010)

Purchasing green products may result in lower costs at the organizations, purchasing energy and water-efficient products would result in lower costs of energy and water at an effective level. Furthermore, there is a potential for barriers in trade in green purchasing. For example, ecolabels have, in the past, has been considered as a “barrier of trade” issue since requesting only products that have an ecolabel during the procurement process may be interpreted as limiting the number of suppliers who can actively participate and respond to the tender and thus viewing this has a closed tender design framework. (Emmett and Sood 2010)

3.2 Supplier selection – a part of Green supply chain management(GSCM)

Globalisation has create an urgency in technological change and more complex market situations, resulting in higher level of uncertainty. GCSM understood to involve examining the set of suppliers in an organization and screening suppliers that follows environmental standards. Author illustrates the hierarchical structure for selecting the best supplier which includes 4 levels and multiple criteria’s. (Raut 2011)

Such proposed method uses analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to evaluate the right supplier for the organization. Even with such, complexity in the framework needs to be addressed by every organization which creates environment waste and developing a decision-making system which can act on screening the supplier using key objectives set forward.(Raut 2011, pp.7–11)

(Palmujoki et al., 2010) puts a perspective about how evaluating a supplier is not the only concern, but to include those set standards in the procurement contracts and highlighting those practices as the most functional and practical way possible. Examining the public contracts, author found the negligence in the environment protection will and execution of such standards in the product and services issued by large organization.

Additionally, in Europe, many green purchasing institutions have been created, as interest and opportunities under green purchasing has risen. For example, in Austria, the Austrian Procurement Service gives consultation services to those involved in procurement in public administrations or enterprises. It is a service that offers information on all aspects of green purchasing including an information newsletter which is sent out to all municipalities and local organizations. Meanwhile in Denmark, governmental and municipal institutions that take green environmental issues into consideration are offered a commercial purchasing service by the National Procurement Ltd.(Ochoa et al., 2003, p.23)

Moreover, (Ochoa et al., 2003) notes that the impacts of green procurement and green purchasing policies on the market vary from one country to the next considering its effect on environmental level. An effective tool for measuring environmental impacts at the product level is yet to exist, and many nations are conducting surveys as an alternative option to measure the impact.

Past studies have however shown that it is not enough to have national laws on green purchasing for its implementation to be measured and successful. Departments also need to contribute and should be willing to develop their own green purchasing policy and monitor their overall achievements. (Ochoa et al., 2003)

3.3 Challenges in green procurement

In order to implement green procurement, it is important to identify any challenges or hurdles that can examined and encountered and determine ways of eliminating them. For example, in green public procurement, if a municipality is able to identify the criteria and definite ways for purchasing environmentally friendly products but contracting authorities such as authorities who are responsible in making firm decision refuse to accept or use them then the products will be rendered pointless. (Günther and Schei 2006)

One significant methods lacking in green procurement is a mechanism that would be used for calculating or quantifying the environmental benefits within an organization. Having concrete and appropriate data gives an opportunity for the decision-makers with better arguments for a nation-wide engagement and providing a commitment to green procurement. (Ochoa et al., 2003)

(Emmett and Sood 2010) exceptionally describes challenges in green procurement in a very effective manner. These include the unawareness and/or uncertainty factor within the people involved with the purchasing decision. As it is a new concept, many purchasing managers and other purchasing departments and suppliers in particular struggle in defining the term “environmentally preferable” and therefore consume lot of time incorporating environmental attributes and opportunities involved during their decision making.

Often, environmental information on products and/or services is not elaborated or informed or may not be sufficient during the procurement stages. For many suppliers, this knowledge is not available, therefore it is challenging for them to provide it to their higher authorities, especially procurement managers. During the initial stages of procurement where they need to meet the primary specifications requested by the procurement managers and also included in their contracts. Thus, including green aspects as part of the initial specifications and tenders may prove challenging. (Emmett and Sood 2010)

According to a study by (Kippo-Edlund and Nordic Council of Ministers 2005, p.10), environmental criteria were used most commonly with such product groups as food products and beverages, office equipment such as paper and computer machinery, repair services, maintenance services, installation services, and disposal services. This implies that it would be difficult to procure products outside these product groups based on environmental criteria.





  1. Critical Analysis of a Peer Reviewed, Scholarly Text


Full Reference of Peer Reviewed Text:

Ho, L. W., Dickinson, N. M. and Chan, G. (2010) ‘Green procurement in the Asian public sector and the Hong Kong private sector’, Natural Resources Forum, 34, pp. 24–38.

1. What review question am I asking of this text?

(e.g. what is my research question ? why select this text? does the Critical Analysis of this text fit into my investigation with a wider focus? what is my constructive purpose in undertaking a Critical Analysis of this text?)

My research question how public healthcare systems in India can practice green purchasing or procurement with less investment of financial support from the Government.

The text explores the potentiality in Asian countries and provides an insight as to how overall cost of green purchased product can be beneficial to the society and the environment.

Furthermore, the article provides strategies, actions and few initiatives involved in the public firms and sectors that can implement green purchasing with much more considerations.

2. What type of literature is this?

(e.g. theoretical, research, practice, policy? are there links with other types of literature?)

This is a research topic, as this paper does in-depth survey around five Asian countries and Honk Kong and tries to context an overview of green purchasing and practices conducted and the environmental impacts created by the public sectors and also by Government agencies.

3. What sort of intellectual project for study is being undertaken?

a) How clear is it which project the authors are undertaking? (e.g. knowledge-for-understanding, knowledge-for-critical evaluation, knowledge-for-action, instrumentalism, reflexive action?)

The authors have clear conceptual understanding and have evaluated results by taking extreme measures conducted by networks which have high influence on data and analysis. This ensure proper researching methods are used to examine the surveys.

b) How does the sort of project being undertaken affect the research questions addressed? (e.g. investigating what happens? what is wrong? how well does a particular policy or intervention work in practice?)

The project has identified various key sources and initiatives which can provide overall views from various regions and to identify ways to implement green practices on exact measurable levels. It also mentions clear data on various categories in a table form to summarize the exact situations of every country stated.

c) How does the sort of project being undertaken affect the place of theory? (e.g. is the investigation informed by theory? generating theory? a theoretical? developing social science theory or a practical theory?)

The project is undertaken by conducting small-scale surveys on public levels and identifying the measure of green practices at nation level and also collecting data from government databases to justify their overall claims and building their report.

d) How does the authors’ target audience affect the reporting of research? (e.g. do they assume academic knowledge of methods? criticize policy? offer recommendations for action?)

All data provided and used by the authors are incorporated by the help of government department and database and has provided alternatives to the actions by conducting surveys on people associated with the public sectors and agencies.

4. What is being claimed?

a) What are the main kinds of knowledge claim that the authors are making? (e.g. theoretical knowledge, research knowledge, practice knowledge?)

The authors have used their own analytical knowledge to implement the research and took the insight from government databases to construct the results.

b) How clear are the authors’ claims and overall argument? (e.g. stated in an abstract, introduction or conclusion? unclear?)

The authors have put forth a reliable government sources to back their claims and have illustrated their arguments and generalised certain norms to be followed to improve the overall status of their researched article.

c) With what degree of certainty do the authors make their claims? (e.g. do they indicate tentativeness? qualify their claims by acknowledging limitations of their evidence? acknowledge others’ counter-evidence? acknowledge that the situation may have changed since data collection?)

Data collected and critically analysed can be clouded on the factual understanding of certain amount of sample audience and thus cannot be said for the whole group and thereby limiting their claims which may or may not be fully justified on all context.

d) How generalized are the authors’ claims – to what range of phenomena are they claimed to apply? (e.g. the specific context from which the claims were derived? other similar contexts? a national system? a culture? universal? implicit? unspecified?)

The authors claim is driven and dependent by collecting data by most government databases under green procurement criteria.

e) How generalized are the authors’ claims – to what range of phenomena are they claimed to apply? (e.g. the specific context from which the claims were derived? other similar contexts? a national system? a culture? universal? implicit? unspecified?)

The authors have used national system in the access of government bodies and their data to influence their research which could be old and somewhat irrelevant, but such extensive region needs to be backed by surveys which has been thoroughly considered by the authors to examine their research.

5. To what extent is there backing for claims?

a) What, if any, range of sources is used to back the claims? (e.g. first-hand experience? the authors’ own practice knowledge or research? literature about others’ practice knowledge or research? literature about reviews of practice knowledge or research? literature about others’ polemic?)

The authors have implemented their own academic based knowledge to identify quality sources from different government departments and backed their claims by using databases to formulate their results.

b) If claims are at least partly based on the authors’ own research, how robust is the evidence? (e.g. is the range of sources adequate? are there methodological limitations or flaws in the methods employed? do they include cross-checking or ‘triangulation’ of accounts? what is the sample size and is it large enough to support the claims being made? is there an adequately detailed account of data collection and analysis? is a summary given of all data reported?)

The claims made by the authors have been backed by the figures and data received by government procurement agencies. This eventually limits the sample size of the population used as it does not provide knowledge on every individual person and thus generalise the overall sample, but it does touch down to various issue and formalises the facts based on several sub-categories and that shows the quality of the assessment done.
  1. To what extent are claims consistent with my experience?


The authors based their framework of research on a compilation of several government data’s and surveys conducted by several green council officials to understand the situation and analysing their results. It also clarifies that out of many surveys conducted only 735 was completed and checks for proper standards, which lacks full understanding of the situation.



  1. What is my summary evaluation of the text in relation to my review question or issue?

a) How convincing are the authors’ claims, and why?

The research is strong and has an extensive review by touching down various countries of Asia, which in itself proves the extreme work invested to formulated and to analyse the overall practices and policies implemented by these countries on green purchasing.

b) How, if at all, could the authors have provided stronger backing for their claims?

The authors could have conducted some of their research methodologies by getting helps from some particular small governing bodies, non-government organization, independent research agencies to get unbiased data which could have formulated the article more efficiently.


  1. Bibliography:

Bapat, G. 2011. Supply Chain Management : Green Approach For Enhanced Sustainability. SSK Busilink, 2, pp.439–445.

Coggburn, J.D. 2004. Achieving managerial values through green procurement? Public Performance & Management Review, 28(2), pp.236–258.

CBECS 2012. Energy Characteristics and Energy Consumed in Large Hospital Buildings in the United States in 2012. Available from: https://www.eia.gov/consumption/commercial/reports/2007/large-hospital.php.

D’Cunha, S.D. 2017. Despite A Booming Economy, India’s Public Health System Is Still Failing Its Poor. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/suparnadutt/2017/09/12/despite-a-booming-economy-indias-public-health-system-is-still-failing-its-poor/#507785f278e0.

Erdmenger, C. 2003. Buying into the Environment: Experiences, opportunities, and potential for eco-procurement. 1st ed. Taylor and Francis.

Emmett, S. and Sood, V. 2010. Green supply chains : an action manifesto. Chichester : Wiley, ©2010.

Genovese, A., Lenny Koh, S. c., Bruno, G. and Esposito, E. 2013. Greener supplier selection: state of the art and some empirical evidence. International Journal of Production Research, 51(10), pp.2868–2886.

Grandia, J., Steijn, B. and Kuipers, B. 2015. It is not easy being green: increasing sustainable public procurement behaviour. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Sciences, 28(3), pp.243–260.

Guenther, E., Hueske, A.-K., Stechemesser, K. and Buscher, L. 2013. The ‘Why Not’–Perspective of Green Purchasing: A Multilevel Case Study Analysis. Journal of Change Management, 13(4), pp.407–423.

Günther, E. and Schei, L. 2006. The hurdle analysis. A self-evaluation tool for municipalities to identify, analyse and overcome hurdles to green procurement. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 13(2).

Hollos, D., Blome, C. and Foerstl, K. 2012. Does sustainable supplier co-operation affect performance? Examining implications for the triple bottom line. International Journal of Production Research, 50(11), pp.2968–2986.

Karliner, J. and Guenther, R. 2011. Global Green and Healthy Hospitals. Health Care without Harm (HCWH). NoHarm.

Kippo-Edlund, P. and Nordic Council of Ministers 2005. Measuring the environmental soundness of public procurement in Nordic countries. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers.

Lundberg, S., Marklund, P.-O., Strömbäck, E. and Sundström, D. 2015. Using public procurement to implement environmental policy: an empirical analysis. Environmental Economics & Policy Studies, 17(4), pp.487–520.

Lutz, P. 2009. Addressing sustainable development through public procurement: the case of local government. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 14(3), pp.213–223.

Mebratu, D. (2001) ‘Environmental Competitiveness’, International Trade Forum, (2), pp. 11–13.

Ochoa, A., Führ, V. and Günther, D. 2003. Green purchasing in practice: Experiences and new approaches from the pioneer countries. Greenleaf Publishing.

Ottar, M. and Luitzen,  de B. 2009. Green procurement in Norway; a survey of practices at the municipal and county level. Editorial Board Publication, 91(1), pp.160–167.

Palmujoki, A., Parikka-Alhola, K. and Ekroos, A. 2010. Green public procurement: analysis on the use of environmental criteria in contracts. Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, 19(2), pp.250–262.

Raut, R.D. 2011. Environmental Performance: A Hybrid Method for Supplier Selection using AHP-DEA. International Journal of Business Insights & Transformation, 5(1), pp.16–29.

Shu-Lin Tang 2017. Green supplier selection model with hesitant fuzzy information. Journal of Intelligent & Fuzzy Systems, 32(1), pp.189–195.

Srdić, A. and Šelih, J. 2011. Integrated quality and sustainability assessment in construction: a conceptual model. Technological and economic development of economy, 17(4), pp.611–626.

World Bank 2016. India’s Poverty Profile. World Bank. Available from: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/infographic/2016/05/27/india-s-poverty-profile [Accessed December 9, 2017].

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