Purchasers’ views needed on new British standard

12 March 2010

12 March 2010 | Carly Chynoweth

Purchasers are being urged to comment on the draft of a new British standard on sustainable procurement.

Shaun McCarthy, director of Action Sustainability, said he would like purchasers to get involved in the consultation for the ‘BS 8903 Principles and framework for procuring sustainably’ British Standard.

The draft standard is designed to help individuals and businesses implement sustainable purchasing practices. This could include only buying goods that are really needed, as well as selecting goods and services that are produced, used and disposed of in ways that minimises their impact on the environment and society.

“The procurement profession needs to move to the next stage, which is not just about training and making sure systems and processes are in place, but about actually doing it,” McCarthy said.

“BS 8903 attempts to create a standard that describes to procurement how their organisation should be set up based on the flexible framework (a sustainable purchasing self-assessment tool), but then goes on to describe how you can use various procurement techniques to deliver more sustainable outcomes.” 

McCarthy hopes to get feedback from buyers working in a range of different sectors and organisations. “This is something that will affect all supply chain professionals,” he said. “The document is designed to be all things to all people in all types of organisation.”

The next step will be the development of a number of detailed sector-specific documents that will complement BS 8903, he added. 

The consultation, which is already open, will close on 30 April 2010. The draft standard can be found online here. McCarthy expects the final document to be published in the autumn. 

When it comes in, organisations that meet the standard will be able to display the BS 8903 label as a mark of their achievements.

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