16 December 2004 | David Arminas
Welsh Assembly finance minister Sue Essex urged delegates at the principality's first all-public-sector procurement conference to think about sustainable supply chains when tendering.
"Don't fall for short-term saving instead of long-term sustainability," she said.
"Think about where products come from, who has made them and what energy it took to produce them."
Essex spoke at the launch of the Welsh Procurement Initiative's information and guidance documents: Buying into Sustainable Development and Buy Now, Don't Pay Later.
She told SM: "We have created a climate in Wales where people talk about sustainability in practical ways. Purchasers in Wales can make a difference."
The issue is important as Welsh public-sector purchasers seek efficiency savings of £126 million over the next three years on their annual £40 billion public-sector expenditure.
David Rosser, director of CBI Wales, acknowledged that more firms were now thinking about sustainability issues but said that there was some nervousness about how far they could be achieved.
"It is a balancing act and an area that business is nervous about," he said.
He cautioned the 220 delegates that government purchasers must not dilute good procurement practice through pushing too many sustainability goals (see News
, 2 December).