Wednesday, 27 February 2013

What is Sustainable Procurement?

Authored by Fayaz Haq

Safety is part of our culture, why not Sustainable Procurement too?

What if Sustainable Procurement were to become part of our culture at work, home and school, just as safety is now?

I see Sustainable Procurement as the process of improving the efficiency by which public sector (i.e. Government) money is spent whilst at the same time using influence to bring about major environmental and social benefits locally and globally. It is the process of sourcing and procuring goods,services, and even construction projects, taking into account the social, economic and environmental impact on communities, and still delivering value.

Public sector procurement is central to delivering the social, economic and environmental benefits that sustainable economic growth demands.

It is vital for organizations to develop specific plans in alignment to their corporate sustainability policies and establish specific procedures along with measurable key performance indicators to promote the procurement of sustainable goods and services. In the eyes of citizens and residents, we all want to see a commitment to ensuring that any public sector spending derives value for money and contributes to sustainable economic growthfor our country. Sustainable procurement is simply good procurement; it is the right thing to do and has to have a recognized role within a balanced approach alongside improved quality and optimized costs.

Sustainable Procurement will help deliver optimum value for money, for example by reducing consumption and waste, by doing more with less,by reducing environmental impacts (e.g. using environmentally friendly goods and services), delivering additional social benefits (e.g. supporting training and employment opportunities) and supporting economic growth. Success will only be achieved through an organizational wide commitment where all stakeholders recognize that the procurement process starts at the point where customers begin to consider their requirements and needs.

The potential for a positive economic impact from public sector procurement is substantial. Contracts are competitively tendered and a prime focus must be made on supplier engagement and efforts to assist suppliers, especially Small and Medium Enterprises, in becoming competitive and successful in securing public contracts. Organizations should proactively engage with suppliers to ensure that they have visibility and a clear understanding of working with the public sector and the available opportunities. In parallel, public sector procurement organizations needto simplify and standardize processes, e.g. Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) documents and supplier data profiles, to expedite and make the tendering process more efficient for both buyers and suppliers.

What are your views on Sustainable Procurement?


  1. From the definition of SPP, the environmental, social and economic factors should be considered. It is a balacing act which means that an organisation procures a fuel-efficient car and not an electic or hybrid car if the latter is excessively high. A compromise has to be made.

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