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Green procurement in the public sector

This guide is based on UK law. It was written and last reviewed in January 2010. It is part of a series of OUT-LAW guides on green IT . The UK Government's Sustainable Procurement Action Plan...

This guide is based on UK law. It was written and last reviewed in January 2010. It is part of a series of OUT-LAW guides on green IT.

The Sustainable Procurement Action Plan (SPAP)

The UK Government's Sustainable Procurement Action Plan (60-page / 1MB PDF) details the Government's commitment to embedding sustainability in its procurement practices. This has resulted in many Government departments taking more environmental issues into account when assessing tenders.

The result of this has been more public sector procurers selecting suppliers and solutions that assist them towards meeting their own sustainability targets.

The Home Office's Sustainable Development Procurement Strategy is an example of this, which includes a proposal setting out environmental standards for its ITT (invitation to tender) template and relevant terms and conditions. These changes require tenderers to show a commitment to 'green issues' to win work.

For both IT manufacturers and service providers, green policies and standards have an increased role in procurement and an ability to demonstrate good environmental management and market leading energy efficient products is a key factor in winning government procurement pitches.

The Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement (CESP)

The SPAP has also led to a new Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement (CESP) within the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), to ensure Government action and delivery on sustainable operations and procurement.

CESP produced a Government Operations and Procurement Delivery Plan (167-page / 1.1MB PDF) in August 2008, which reported on the government's performance on sustainable procurement issues. These initiatives and also the Government's commitment in the Climate Change Act 2008 ensure that sustainable procurement will remain on the Government's agenda in the future.

Quick Wins

The Quick Wins list is published annually on the Government's Sustainable Development website.

The Quick Wins are commonly-purchased products that comply with strict environmental standards, higher than the statutory minimum standards. The OGC and other bodies identify products that meet these standards and all central Government departments are strongly encouraged to purchase them in order to meet their sustainability targets.

Businesses may also consider a policy of procuring these products where possible as "best practice", in order to demonstrate a commitment to environmental issues to both government and non-governmental customers.

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Related Publications

  • The Directors Handbook 2010
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    This is adapted from the third edition (2010) of The Director's Handbook, edited by Martin Webster of Pinsent Masons and available to buy from the Institute of Directors.

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