WWF worked closely with bidders to ensure sustainability was embedded throughout the life of a facilities management contract at its Living Planet Centre in Woking.
Speaking at a CIPS Best in Procurement event in London, Tim Lowe, head of procurement at the WWF UK, said that it worked with consultancy Acclaro Advisory and used its Sustainable Facilities Management Index (SFMI) to inform the procurement process.
The contract, worth around £350,000, involved cleaning, maintenance, grounds maintenance, waste management and office services.
Lowe said he was able to use the project as an opportunity to introduce more sustainability around energy management, climate change issues and waste management.
He said he “tried to work very closely with ethical bidders, and have an ethical and environment section on each operating procedure”, during the early stages of tendering.
Contract management requirements were embedded to ensure bidders were committed to maintaining sustainability standards over time. This included the bidder needing to meet gold level accreditation on the SFMI, the UK's only sustainability benchmark in facilities management, throughout its contract life, Lowe added.
Lowe said: “The collaboration [with Acclaro] that I managed to foster was to try and get expert input throughout all stages of the procurement.
“There were things I was able to do in shortlisting bidders to make sure we were talking to the right third parties. Particular work we did was on specification and an informed management model for the contract to make sure it could build these ethical values.”
Bidders were targeted based on who had scored in the top 10 of the SFMI that year.
He said: “This meant we were dealing only with suppliers who demonstrated corporately that they were committed to sustainability and ethical principles.”
Within the evaluation, Lowe said he tried to have a question or method statement around ethical issues and dispersed the criteria across the different stages in the process.
Lowe said it was important to note operational details in the contract, for example around chemical-free products and switching off lights and appliances.
He added: “I think these need to be written down because many people are going to interface with this contract over, potentially, the next decade.”
Environmental and social benefits put into the contract included chemical free services, removal of single use plastics, real-time energy management, improved biodiversity, and optimised waste recovery.
WWF UK's facilities management procurement project won the ethical procurement award in the CIPS SM Awards 2019.
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