18 April 2008 | Paul Snell
The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has criticised public sector action on sustainable procurement.
The trade association for environmental technology and services has sent a letter to Conservative MP Tim Yeo, chairman of the Environmental Audit Select Committee, as evidence to an enquiry into government progress on sustainability.
"EIC members' experience of supplying to public sector construction projects is that they commonly procure the cheapest, most polluting option, even where whole-life costs are higher than more efficient alternatives," it said.
The group was critical of a lack assessment of sustainable procurement targets, and a lack of leadership for buyers.
"Unless this positive rhetoric is backed up with genuine action, the government risks further undermining its stated aim to make the UK one of the EU leaders in sustainable procurement by 2009," it said.
It added an array of policies was bewildering procurement staff, meaning plans were "less than fully implemented" or superseded by new ones.
It also said there was confusion over the use of "quick wins", as they were not up to date and awareness of them was not high enough. "There is a need for greater information sharing between organisations so that products and services that comply are well known."