Sustainable Procurement Tools

Specification development

Sustainable requirements need to be incorporated into the specification and must be relevant and proportionate to the particular procurement.

Current EU legislation permits environmental considerations to be included in the technical specification of a procurement. In the case of biosecurity procurers should consider its relevance to the product in question, as well as the relevant market. 

Suggested criteria may be found in the Government Buying Standards guidance (GBS) for food and catering services and horticulture and park services. It is important to establish that the market for a particular product can meet these requirements before incorporating them; if using the GBS criteria, they have been tested against market capabilities.  

If, for instance, the buyer wishes to ensure that the biosecurity of plants and trees is protected the following example can be used in a specification to highlight the requirement to meet sustainability criteria. 

‘All products and services procured should comply with the latest version of the Horticultural Code of Practice covering invasive non-native plants.’ 

To ensure traceability of food the following could be used: 

‘Catering contractors or food suppliers shall ensure the traceability of fresh, chilled and frozen produce in accordance with current UK legislation or equivalent.’ 

To ensure animal welfare the following could be used: 

‘All food served must be produced in a way that meets UK legislative standards for animal welfare, or equivalent standards.’ (see the GBS Food and Catering for more information).