Sustainable Procurement Tools


This guidance is concerned with buying products or services where biosecurity is an issue of concern. This may include food, plants and animals.  

It is part of a series of guides which support the sustainable procurement duty tools to help public sector organisations embed sustainability into their procurement processes.

It is important that when we have identified biosecurity risks or opportunities associated with the products or services that we procure, that we understand the alternative options available to us. This will be achieved through gathering market intelligence and sound use of pre-procurement supplier engagement.  

Please note that the flexible framework (a self-assessment tool to enable you to embed sustainable procurement principles and practice, tailored to your organisation) also acts as a signpost to a range of relevant guidance, for example, Scottish Procurement policy notes, category or commodity specific guidance, examples of good practice, case studies and so on. 

Description of risk or opportunity

Could there be a negative impact on biosecurity from the resulting contract? Are there potential opportunities to promote biosecurity during the performance of the contract? Are there concerns regarding food safety, animal and plant life and health? 

This may involve risks relating to food safety, transmission of infectious diseases in crops and livestock, quarantined pests, invasive alien species, and living modified organisms.

Role of procurement

The categories of procurement that can have both a positive and negative impact on biosecurity range from catering to construction and many opportunities to make improvements will need to be identified at the design stage of the procurement. 

Vigilance and good biosecurity are the best form of defence against an outbreak of a notifiable disease, both in terms of prevention and, should a disease reach Scotland, in terms of quickly bringing the situation under control.  

This may include decisions regarding protection measures needed when undertaking infrastructure or construction projects as well as the sourcing of wood products (which impact on forest management) and sourcing of plants and planting media (with impacts on peatbogs).  

In addition, reducing the distances that food is transported, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of transport and refrigeration, may have indirect benefits for biodiversity.

Farming and food production practices may also potentially impact on or enhance biodiversity; such as through the use of pesticides, field margin habitats and hedgerows.

This guidance is provided to support the embedding of relevant and proportionate contract/framework requirements and the information and examples are provided in good faith. To the extent that this guidance contains any information concerning procurement law such information does not constitute advice to you.

The contents of this guidance is not to be construed as legal advice or a substitute for such advice, which you should obtain from your own legal advisers if required. The Scottish Government is not and shall not be held responsible for anything done or not done by you as a result of this guidance.