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Corporate Responsibility

A quick guide to Sustainable Procurement

Why is it important?

Both the private and public sectors are putting great emphasis on sustainable procurement to help manage future environmental impacts and improving society.

The Sustainability Task Force has set the agenda for the public sector in its 2007 paper ‘Procuring the Future’ which sets out a ‘Flexible Framework’ for achieving public sector targets, a quick guide can be found on page 68 of the full document

The target for 2009 was a minimum requirement that sustainable procurement would have been put into practice within the public sector. Constructionline is looking to support Buyers to achieve this.

Sustainable Procurement in Practice

Here is a brief list of approaches to consider:

  • Identifying needs – What overall solution offers the best sustainability profile? In a perfect world this would be contracting with a supplier who offer the cheapest quote, manage their environmental impacts and those of their supply chain, and offer social benefits. A good example is available at www.idea.gov.uk/idk/aio/5623644 (slides 9,10 and 11) this is positioned as socially responsible procurement but the terms are interchangeable see FAQs
  • Requirement specification – What materials can be used (percentage recycled content, reused materials, delivery miles etc) that help a projects sustainability profile
  • Supplier Selection – Do potential suppliers have environmental policies / management systems and most importantly a good environmental track record?
  • Tender Evaluation – What weighting is given to sustainability criteria and do suppliers know?
  • Contract Management – Your processes must ensure suppliers are maintaining standards stated in the contract

Looking at the points above and other factors you will begin to gain momentum and quickly get a picture of what a supplier can really offer you, over and above the specific service you are tendering for.

Additional useful links:

Achieving Excellence in Construction Procurement (OGC 2007): http://www.ogc.gov.uk/documents/CP0016AEGuide11.pdf

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