04 July 2002 | Robin Parker
The Environment Agency is putting pressure on its suppliers to step up their long-term socially responsible practices.
Mark Yeomans, head of procurement, said it was vital to "future-proof" supply chains as issues such as labour conditions, bio-diversity and respect for local cultures are increasingly coming under the spotlight.
The agency has added specific questions on sustainability to its biannual environmental benchmark of its top 500 suppliers.
The suppliers, representing 85 per cent of spend, will also receive a training package to raise standards and awareness.
Yeomans told a conference organised by campaign group Business in the Environment that the agency is determined to control supplies along the entire supply chain.
"Where supply chains involve the developing world, it's often difficult to deal with primary suppliers, and we want to promote our expectations and raise awareness down the supply chain," he said.
One initiative involves suppliers that source sandbags from the Indian subcontinent vetting their supply chains.
The agency is also part of the Government Sustainable Procurement Group, set up to determine best practice and targets across government.