Sustainable Procurement Tools

Annex – Example Procurement clauses and KPIs

The clauses within the Annex should be read in conjunction with the Commissioning and Pre-procurement guidance and Procurement guidance.

Pre-contract Notification Clauses

Decarbonisation ambitions:


‘The Contracting Authority has included obligations within the specification and contract conditions relating to carbon and other emissions from the use of vehicles, which are relevant to the products/services to be delivered.’


‘The Contract/Framework Agreement supports the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework, and the National Outcomes. The Contractor will be required to minimise the environmental impacts of services delivered, including vehicle use and associated carbon emissions, where practicable.’


‘The Contractor will be required to minimise the environmental impacts of services delivered, including carbon and other emissions arising from the use of vehicles [including the use of plant – where relevant] in product or services delivery, where practicable.’

Tailor to focus on specific outcomes

‘The Contracting Authority has included obligations within the specification and contract conditions relating to decarbonising our economy, including [minimising carbon emissions], [being resilient to a changing climate], [reducing fuel poverty] and [developing jobs and skills to support decarbonisation] which are relevant to the services to be delivered.’

Vehicle use and innovation (e.g. FM related – may be adjusted to suit):

‘We are committed to whole life value for money and encouragement of innovative low/zero carbon vehicles solutions. The Contracting Authority wishes to work with contractors who will support its aims to transition to a low carbon and circular economy and who will keep up to date with best practice vehicle emissions reduction opportunities within the [FM] sector.’

Minimum requirement (relevant as the standard(s) include focus on vehicle emissions reduction):

‘A requirement of this contract is that all products [services] supplied meet the mandatory level of the Government Buying Standards (GBS) for transport vehicles (2020) as a minimum.’

(other standards may be applicable – see the Specification section for more details).

Vehicle emissions (public transport):

‘A requirement of the contract is that emissions from the use of vehicles for public transport services should be minimised to support the transition to net zero. This includes meeting or exceeding mandatory minimum Government Buying Standards for zero or ultra-low emission at tailpipe for the relevant class of vehicle.’

Example Procurement Clauses - Supplier Selection

Vehicles and climate – service contract:

‘What experience, if any, does your company have in forecasting carbon and identifying and implementing options to reduce carbon and associated costs including utilising project carbon foot printing methods; evaluating and implementing low carbon vehicle and low emission options; and, route optimisation methods etc.’

An ideal response would provide the following details:

  • Project experience illustrating how the bidder has previously:
    • identified current carbon baselines,
    • forecasted carbon footprint
    • and investigated carbon reduction and mitigation options at an early planning stage, in conjunction with key stakeholders including end users and following post project evaluations;
  • Examples showing how the bidder affected the selection of cost-effective transport and vehicle use options, with lower lifecycle carbon impacts.


Tailor to focus on specific outcomes:

‘What experience, if any, does your company, in conjunction with partners and its supply chain, have in working with other clients to evaluate and supply products or services in contracts similar in nature that support the transition to a low carbon and circular economy, specifically through the [use of vehicles] [supply and distribution of products/services], identifying outcomes delivered [this may be expanded to focus on specific outcomes as relevant]?’

N.B. Buyers should ensure that the application of supplier selection requirements regarding environmental management measures and climate change commitments reflects ‘relevant’ and ‘priority’ contracts in accordance with prevailing SPD standardised statements. Selection criteria should be determined through strategy development and market research which indicates that applied minimum requirements are relevant and proportionate to the procurement exercise.

Example Procurement Clauses - Specification

Where a specific vehicle standard is required, it may be appropriate to include this within the specification:

Vehicle sustainability standard:

‘The Supplier is required to meet the requirements of the Government Buying Standard for Transport.’

While the GBS for Transport is dated 2017 it includes ‘The default is zero or ultra-low emission at tailpipe with alternatives considered only in exceptional circumstances’).

Also consider specifying higher standards; for example, Type-approval CO2 emissions of vehicles comprehensive criteria, e.g. EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) Road Transport (2019).

Bus services (example):

The bus route/s [the contracting authority will insert the identification of the route/s] must be operated using vehicles [choose one of the following]:

a) Equipped with one of the eligible technologies listed below.

b) Equipped with the technology X [the contracting authority will select the technology among the eligible technologies listed below to reduce GHG emissions].

Technology Class (basic) Technology Class (good)
Mild hybrid Full electric and plug-in vehicle
Flywheel hybrid Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle*
Full Series hybrid OEM dual-fuel natural gas vehicle with a gas energy ratio over the hot part of the WHTC test-cycle of at least 50%*
Full Parallel hybrid High pressure direct injection natural gas vehicles*
  Dedicated natural gas vehicles*

*Hydrogen and natural gas vehicles require a minimum percentage of renewable fuel supply to be classified A (see EU GBP Transport criteria (2019) for full details).

Where the use of vehicles and emissions reduction is relevant and proportionate the following wording could be included in a specification:

Vehicle use and decarbonisation – outcome specification:

‘The contractor will be expected to have an environmental sustainability plan in place as part of this contract, including actions and estimated quantifiable reductions to vehicle emissions and any other detrimental environmental impacts associated with the purchase, maintenance and operation of their transport fleet.’

Vehicle emissions and construction project (example) – outcome specification (may be tailored to suit alternative service):

‘The Supplier ensures that the works and associated services are performed in accordance with the Contracting Authority’s response to the climate emergency.

The Supplier shall submit to the Contracting Authority for their written acceptance a mitigation plan that minimises emissions arising from:

The use of vehicles and movement of [people] [materials] [demolition] [construction] during service delivery, including cars, LGV, HGV, plant and others. Where relevant this will include the application of minimum vehicle emissions ratings and all fuel/energy source is used economically, the practical application of innovative solutions, including switching to low and zero carbon technologies and fuel sources.’


‘The Supplier is expected to minimise emissions arising from the use of vehicles. This includes the transport of Materials, Plant, Equipment and people in delivery, including sourcing of Materials, such as Plant and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) used on or off project Sites. This includes a preference for the use of electric plant and equipment, where this is practicable, or otherwise the use of low emission Plant in accordance with Non-Road Mobile Machinery Regulations, diesel emissions standards and EURO [6] and practical measures to reduce relevant emissions that contribute to climate change and poor local air quality by avoiding unnecessary travel and idling, maintenance of vehicles and the relevant use of low, ultra-low or zero emission vehicles. The Supplier shall maintain records of actions taken to reduce the climate impact of transport.’

Example Procurement Clauses - Evaluation and Award

Vehicle emissions reduction statement (service contract e.g. FM):

'Please describe in a method statement your proposed approach for minimising (where practicable) the emissions that contribute to climate impact and poor air quality from the purchase, maintenance and use of vehicles/ transport fleet [including by approved sub-contractors], in service delivery, in conjunction with the Contracting Authority.

This should include detail regarding:

Your understanding, experience and achievements in cost-effectively providing [insert service] services that minimise the use of transport and associated emissions and reduces the whole life costs of the contract delivery, detail how this approach will be applied to this contract, including innovative solutions.

Your understanding, experience and achievements in communicating the importance of fuel-efficient driving to your drivers, Detail how this approach will be applied to this contract.

Your relevant plans to transition to low/ zero carbon vehicle fleet [or services].’ 

A good response would provide the following:

  • Evidence of having achieved reduced transport and associated emissions for clients using:
    • effective route planning and scheduling/ optimising the sourcing of products or materials,
    • the use of vehicles and plant: the use of low carbon/ zero carbon fleet and load optimisation applications, avoiding idling.
    • detail of how this will be applied in contract delivery.
    • innovative solutions may include the early adoption of hydrogen technology, where relevant, the use of alternatives to the need for transport (such as remote delivery or monitoring services), the use of alternatives such as use of bikes/ ecargobikes for local transport requirements, where appropriate.
  • Evidence of providing fuel efficiency training to drivers encouraging behavioural change and what records will be available to the client during contract delivery.
  • Evidence of providing clients with vehicle performance data with analysis and recommendations for changes/adaptations to the services to reduce vehicle emissions in a cost-effective way and how this will be applied in contract delivery.
  • Evidence of using fuel efficient vehicles which are maintained and serviced regularly and how this will be applied in contract delivery.
  • Details of the relevant planned transition of vehicle fleet (e.g. conversion of existing fleet to hybrid, EV etc) over specific timeframes in line with, or ahead of government [or Contracting Authority] targets.

According to the subject matter of the contract and the market - large contractors can and should cascade good practice throughout their supply chains, with the Contracting Authority seeking evidence of this. There may for example be scope to work with local SMEs and Third sector organisations (for example, where they can provide cost-effective local transport capability, either independently, or as sub-contractors).

N.B. Contract or frameworks which potentially involve large and small contractors need to ensure requirements do not discriminate against smaller contractors and must be relevant and proportionate.

For example, you should focus on those issues relating to vehicles and carbon reduction which the market can reasonably be expected to be able to take positive action on.

At present (early 2022) EV infrastructure or vehicles are not sufficiently mature and relative costs do not allow all suppliers to immediately transition to electric vehicles. While larger contractors may reasonably be expected to have a plan to transition to EV, with evidence of action undertaken so far, some small suppliers may not be able to transition now due to prohibitive costs. In this case, focus on those issues outlined above which they may reasonably implement (e.g. route planning, driver training, evaluation of practical alternatives to use of diesel/ petrol vehicles, services which reduce the need for transport).

Example Procurement Clauses and KPIs - Contract and Supplier Management

Specific requirements may include:

'Establish a baseline of vehicle emissions (in relation to delivery of product of services) within [insert] months/years of commencement of the contract.'

'Provide the total of carbon emissions that arise from vehicle movements in the delivery of the service at the end of each 12 month period from commencement of the contract, showing changes and measures undertaken and planned to reduce emissions further, where practical.'

Example KPIs
Example relating to vehicle used: Potential Baseline: Vehicle fleet emissions ratings

Revised vehicle fleet and emissions ratings. 

If a vehicle of the service fleet is replaced, the % of new vehicles exceeding the service fleet KPIs for GHG emissions and air pollutant emissions as offered in the tender.
Use of vehicles in service delivery: Where vehicle use (mileage) and emissions can be monitored in service delivery relevant KPIs may include: Potential Baseline:

Known or planned mileage and CO2e emissions for service delivery (e.g. based on detail provided by client and assessment of planned transport requirements by contractor)


Based on historic mileage/ CO2e emissions.
Improvement: Reductions in mileage and/or CO2e emissions from use of vehicles/ transport of people/ materials/ products. 
Qualitative reporting: Where a baseline may not be available, or the market may not yet have the capability to report improvements, discuss with the contractor: Improvement: What improvements you have made/ can reduce emissions from the use of vehicles/ transport of people/ materials/ products in service or product delivery. Will it be possible to quantify these improvements in time (if so, setting a deadline for establishing a baseline and monitoring improvements)?

Monitoring and Reporting Outcomes