Sustainable Procurement

What is Sustainable Procurement?

Sustainable Procurement can be defined as ‘a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life cost basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment’.

Sustainable procurement is not limited to environmental considerations alone (e.g. Carbon, Waste and Water). It also covers social and economic impacts from procurement actions, such as encouraging increased participation from SMEs in procurements. There is a general consensus that small firms may be able to offer better value for money and innovation and therefore public procurement should look to remove barriers that they may face in competing for public sector contracts.

There is a general misconception that sustainability and value for money are in conflict. On the contrary, sustainability is about achieving value for money whilst realising environmental, social and economic objectives and the two are rarely in conflict when the whole life cycle is taken into account.

Sustainable procurement and how we achieve such

South of England Procurement Services is committed to achieving value for money and delivering economic, environmental and social benefits through sustainable procurement activities. Our ambition is to ensure that sustainable procurement is being consistently undertaken in practice across the organisation. Download  ST011 – Sustainable Procurement Strategy and BP017 – Sustainable Procurement Policy

Through encouraging staff, suppliers and contractors to follow more sustainable procurement practices, this can be achieved. As part of an improved procurement process which questions the need to spend, cuts out waste, seeks innovative solutions and is delivered by well trained professionals, sustainable procurement will reduce rather than add to public spending in both the short and long term.


Sustainability Diagram: Opportunities versus value

Our Sustainable Procurement Objectives

Working with our stakeholders and suppliers, where relevant we will:

  • Reduce carbon within contracts, reducing energy usage, fuel usage and waste
  • Reduce other emissions that may be used in manufacturing/production
  • Improve supply chain management including working with small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s), voluntary sector and local suppliers
  • Ensure that recruitment, education and training are included in contracts


The three principles of sustainable development:


Seeking to minimise any negative environmental impacts of goods and services purchased, across their life cycle from raw material extraction to end of life and supporting the principles of SoEPS.


Managing and monitoring supply chains to ensure that fair contract prices and terms are applied and that ethical, human rights and employment standards are met at all times.


The economic principle relates not only to obtaining value for money from our contracts, across the whole life of the product or service, but also ensuring as far as is possible under relevant procurement law, that local businesses, particularly Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME’s) can benefit from our procurement processes in being able to supply SoEPS where it is feasible for them to do so.

Through tackling all three principles of sustainable procurement in the procurement process, we aim to embed these so that they eventually become an integral part of all relevant contracts, at pre-tender, tender and contract award stages (including monitoring and evaluation), through to the end of the life of the contract and including any disposal of equipment.