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Sustainable procurement

Implementing sustainable procurement practices in the public sector

What is sustainable procurement?

Sustainable procurement ensures that goods and services are procured in a way that not only achieves quality and value for money for the organisation but which also ensures benefits for society, the economy and the environment.

Why is sustainable procurement important?

Sustainable procurement can save money, reduce environmental impact, increase competitiveness and boost reputation.

Sustainable procurement practices need to be included in procurement decisions in Scotland across the public sector to ensure the requirements of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 are met and that social, economic and environmental benefits are made. 

How is Zero Waste Scotland involved?

Mentoring Programme: Circular Procurement

Procurement has a major role to play in the transition towards a circular economy. Circular procurement is all about making the right choices early on in the procurement process, so that materials and components are suitable, at end-of-life, for repair or refurbishment and re-use, thus helping to close the materials loop. 

Circular procurement adds value in other ways too for example, by extending and intensifying long-term business relationships with suppliers and customers. Circular procurement promotes innovative performance- or usage-based business models that focus on access to services and products rather than ownership.

Our Programme aims to work with public organisations to identify the products and services where innovation and best practice in procurement can have the greatest benefit in promoting circular approaches such as leasing, reuse, repair and remanufacture whilst delivering value for money.

Mentoring support is currently being offered to selected procurements across Scotland’s public sector where a circular economy approach could make a significant difference – either through its scale or replicability. Organisations are supported to embed relevant circular economy outcomes within specification and other stages of the procurement cycle.

For more information, please contact Claire Guerin by emailing claire.guerin@zerowastescotland.org.uk or calling 07816 224 290.

Online Learning Resources

The Introduction to Sustainable procurement online learning module has been developed to introduce the concept of sustainable public procurement in Scotland, as part of Scotland’s Flexible Framework Assessment Tool’s recommended reference material. It takes around 20 minutes and is certified on completion.  Please note, the module uses Adobe Flash within an Adobe PDF file - if you cannot see the content once downloaded please request the latest version of Adobe Acrobate and Flash from your IT department.

We have produced a number of case studies that demonstrate best practice within sustainable procurement, these can be accessed at the Scottish Government’s Sustainable Procurement pages.

Procuring for Repair, Re-use and Remanufacturing. Category and Commodity Guidance

Zero Waste Scotland undertook research to develop specifications to include circular economy outcomes such as repair, reuse, remanufacture or leasing within commodities and services that the public sector procure. Commodities and services were prioritised according to relative expenditure, current & future market availability & scope for development of circular products & services.

Guidance was developed for the following categories below.

  • Electrical & electronic
  • Furniture
  • Construction
  • Textiles
  • Catering
  • Cleaning
  • Flooring
  • Power and hand tools
  • Vehicles and tyres
  • Outdoor playground equipment
  • Waste services
  • Medical devices

If you will be involved in the commissioning, specifying and procurement of the products, equipment and services listed above in the future, I’d like to hear from you. We would like to work with you via our mentoring programme to trial this guidance on a practical level in order to refine it for future use by the procurement community.

For more information, please contact Claire Guerin by emailing claire.guerin@zerowastescotland.org.uk or calling 07816 224 290.

Want to know more about sustainable procurement?

For more information and guidance on Sustainable procurement, visit the Scottish Government's website.

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