Sustainable Procurement Tools

Policy and Legal Context – Climate Change Obligations

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 commits Scotland to achieve a target of net zero emissions by 2045, with interim targets of 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040.

‘Net Zero’ emissions means any emissions remaining, after all possible efforts to mitigate them have been undertaken, would be balanced by verified schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage. Only after all possible emissions have been mitigated should offset be considered.

The Public Bodies Climate Change Duties, established by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 required from 2011 that Public Bodies, as listed in schedule 2 of Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 exercise their functions: 'In a way best calculated to contribute to delivery of the Act’s emissions reduction targets; to deliver any statutory adaptation programme; and in a way that it considers most sustainable.'

In line with the Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2015, those public bodies listed in Schedule 1 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 are required to report annually to Scottish Ministers on how their procurement policies and activities are contributing to compliance with climate change duties.

Climate change mitigation and vehicle use and efficiency forms part of a public body’s sustainability, carbon reduction strategy, or equivalent and is subject to procurement reporting requirements under revisions to the Climate Change (Reporting on Climate Change Duties) Order 2015 (Part 5).

The Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 strengthens the above requirements by requiring public bodies to report on, where applicable, their target date for achieving zero direct emissions of greenhouse gases or such other targets that demonstrate how the body is contributing to Scotland’s emissions reduction targets, and targets for reducing indirect emissions in their annual ‘climate’ reports. In addition, public bodies are now asked to report on how they align spending plans and use of resources to emissions reduction and relevant targets and how they will publish, or otherwise make available, progress towards achieving its targets; and how they are contributing to Scotland’s Adaptation Programme.

Public Sector Leadership on the Global Climate Emergency Guidance reinforces the key role that leaders of Scotland’s public bodies have in the crucial period to 2030 in the shared national endeavour to tackle the global crises of health, climate emergency and biodiversity loss and the role of carbon in future procurement activities of all public bodies to help achieve carbon reduction targets.

Sustainable Procurement Duty

The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 places a duty on a contracting authority before they buy anything, to consider how they can, though their procurements, improve social, environmental and economic wellbeing in Scotland, with a particular focus on reducing inequality e.g. through appropriate use of sustainable procurement tools and relevant and proportionate contract requirements.

The Act also requires obligated organisations to develop a Corporate Procurement Strategy and report against its delivery at the end of each year, emphasising the importance of monitoring and reporting delivery of intended sustainable outcomes, such as climate change.

SPPN 1/2021 ‘Taking account of climate and circular economy considerations in public procurement’ clarifies expectations with respect to climate and circular economy considerations, aligning the strengthened climate change reporting duties, current procurement policy and legislation which requires public bodies to consider and act on opportunities to improve environmental wellbeing. It highlights that public bodies should use their public procurement spend to support climate and circular economy ambitions.

Transport policy and legislation

Transport Scotland’s Mission Zero for transport, focusing on Scotland being at the forefront of markets for fair and equitable zero emission mobility and a global destination for innovation and investment in sustainable, zero emission mobility.

The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2019-20 sets out the need for the public sector to lead from the front and decarbonise their fleet vehicles in stages using the 2025 and 2030 milestones for different types of vehicles – the largest and most difficult last. This is also emphasised in the National Transport Strategy.

The Scottish Government has published its route map to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in car kilometres by 2030 which includes reducing transport miles and changing modes of transport for the delivery of services and goods.

During COP 26 the Scottish Government signed five international agreements supporting the global decarbonisation of the transport sector:

The Further, Faster, Together’ Under2 Coalition Leaders Action Document commits 100% of light-duty public fleet vehicles to be zero emission by 2035 and encourages signatories to adopt reduction and modal shift targets such as the Scottish Government’s 20% car kilometre reduction target by 2030

The Drive to Zero Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero Emission Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles supports a full transition to zero emission medium and heavy duty vehicles by 2040

The COP26 Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to Zero Emission Cars and Vans involves working towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets

The Climate Group ZEV Pledge for Public Fleets requires signatories to commit to converting their owned and existing fleets to zero emission vehicles

The Transport Decarbonisation Alliance ‘Call for Accelerated Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure’ commits signatories to support the transition to electric vehicles by accelerating the timely deployment of charging infrastructure

National Performance Framework

The National Outcomes and Indicators focus our activity around ‘to focus on creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth’.

The National Outcomes and Indicators relevant for this guidance are:

Environment: We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment.

Economy: We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy (Carbon footprint, Greenhouse gas emissions).

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