Procurement- The First Step to Sustainability

Our latest Fit for the Future Network event, Sustainable Procurement, Policies and Practices, took place in the grand surroundings of National Trust’s Morden Hall Park. The meeting was supported by Clean Air Better Business and the Mayor of London. Representatives from member organisations including the National Trust, Cancer Research UK, Canal and River Trust, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, RSPB, The Co-op, The City of London and Lambeth Council came along to share best practice and sustainable procurement strategies.


Sustainable procurement and policies – James Cadman from Action Sustainability

Key points included:

  • It is important to think about sustainably early in the planning process of a project to maximise influence over the supply chain
  • United Utilities saved £6 million through sustainable procurement, and staff awareness more than doubled in 2 years
  • When members work collaboratively they can have more influence over the supply chain. This is where the Fit for the Future Network comes in!

sustainable procurement

Sustainable energy procurement and legislation – Martin Gary from The Co-operative group

Key points:

  • The energy market is so unpredictable that fluctuations in price cannot be anticipated
  • It’s more expensive to buy energy in advance and reductions in energy usage are not seen in a reduction in costs
  • Having private wires directly to a premise can end up being cheaper
  • There is currently a REMIT in the UK where organisations can face fines if found abusing the market. Transaction reporting began on 7th October 2015, so organisations need to make sure they are registered.
  • LECs have been removed but the transition period has been extended to March 2016.
  • Other legislation to keep an eye on includes ESOS, DCP 114 and DCP 115. See Martin’s PowerPoint for a full breakdown. 

“That’s what I like about the Fit for the Future Network- by putting our buying power together we can change things.” Martin Gary.


Environmental policies and procurement – Natalie Evans from The City of London

Key points included:

  • The three pillars of sustainable procurement which are social value, environmental sustainability and ethical sourcing.
  • It’s important to plan sustainability into a project from the early stages.
  • Pay incentives encourage staff to think about sustainable procurement.

The meeting ended with breakout sessions where network members discussed  five key areas: catering, print, timber, transport and energy.

Catering: issues surrounding sustainable procurement in catering include seasonality of produce, purchasing locally, transportation and storage of food.

Transport: issues surrounding electric vehicles include; pedestrian safety due to low noise production, contract issues, whether to buy or lease vehicles, and getting boroughs to agree on the same payment system.

Energy: members discussed de-coupling their energy bills so that cost and CO2 aren’t connected, connecting smart metres to reduce costs, and adopting a flexible approach to buying energy.

Network members can access presentations and resources from the day in the members area. Check out the calendar for details of upcoming events as well as site visits and meetings.