Government procurement to go greener

16 November 2010

16 November 2010 | Helen Gilbert

Plans to make the government’s procurement functions the ‘greenest ever’ by next December have been published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

An action plan for driving sustainable operations and procurement across government sets out intentions to provide transparent environmental performance information by releasing departmental and supplier data.

The report also mentions targets to improve the sustainability of the supply base to enable the building of stronger relationships with vendors to enable the government to manage risk and cost effectively.

Under the plans, the government will:

  • Publish the carbon footprint of its supply chain and work with departments to calculate their individual footprints.
  • Establish baselines to target high carbon impact areas, ensuring departments work with key suppliers to develop at least three projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Set minimum technical specifications (through its Government Buying Standards) to encourage the purchase of low carbon technologies.
  • Undertake a full feasibility study to understand the benefits and costs of government recycling its own paper waste to produce its copier paper.
  • Engage and incentivise the private sector – particularly facilities management suppliers – to come up with innovative proposals to deliver change.

In addition, civil servants across government will be tasked with driving staff behavioural change so that sustainable choices become the norm in government operations and procurement both at work and in areas such as travel.

A Defra statement said: “This action plan will improve transparency by releasing departmental and supplier data; build stronger relationships with suppliers to allow government risk and costs to be managed effectively; and deliver greater efficiency allowing Defra to lead across government and beyond.”

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