Sustainability and Procurement

Nov 08, 2021 editor

Sustainability is now an important factor across many industries. Underwriting sustainability in procurement can be managed through investigation and understanding of the environment and social contexts as well as the benefits of building long term sustainable practices into the strategy and processes of your services.

Sustainable procurement can not only contribute to a reduction in energy consumption, but also promotes environmental, ethical, and sustainable awareness amongst suppliers and contractors, while improving efficiencies, stimulate the market for eco-friendly goods and services and driving local supply chains to promote innovation.

The Government’s 2006 sustainable procurement national action plan Procuring the Future defines sustainable procurement as: ''a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieved value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment''.

Mitigating sustainable procurement policies 

Careful procurement can improve community image, attract stakeholders, and meet expectations. It will take more than just 'green' products however and comprehensive approach is required as follows.

planning to manage demand for goods and services.

overseeing suppliers' contractual obligations effectively.

managing supply chain risks and impacts; and

continually monitoring and identifying areas for improvement. 

Ways to complete this within procurement are as follows.

Preliminary stages- create a procurement policy clearly outlining sustainable objectives thus embedding the ethos into the principles.

Plan- this allows time to reflect on service or product 'whole life' costings, assessment of needs and evaluation of environmental impacts.

Best Practice- engage in local procurement expertise to ensure initiatives are local sustainable approaches are captured.

Coordinate with other parties to deliver sustainable commitments sharing services and equipment and increasing purchasing power.

Pretender stages- Market engagement at the before stage means you can assess and investigate your requirements and discuss options and solutions.

Tender stages- build the developed strategy for sustainability into the procurement invitation to tender documents within the tender specification. This enables selection to be based on sustainable approaches and measured against competition.

Contract stages- Contractually agree terms for sustainability through KPIs and contract management through accountability,


Organisations and their decisions are more than ever under scrutiny, and careful planning for procurement in the above ways can show demonstrated approaches to sustainable intentions and social responsibility.

Red Box can help by engaging with stakeholders to identify key areas for sustainability in the preplanning, pretender, tender and contract management stages and are willing to work to the bespoke requirements of our clients. We wish to ensure the sustainable approach is embedded in your catering, cleaning, and Facilities Management services to reduce long-term purchasing costs and to shape connections between clients, stakeholders, and local communities.