Sustainable Procurement Tools


Sustainable requirements need to be incorporated into the specification and must be relevant to the particular procurement, and not to the general capacities or qualities of the operator.

Technical specifications

Technical specifications relating to vehicles are those that require all suppliers to meet specific vehicle emissions ratings or meet relevant standards.

For example, core Scottish Government organisations must ensure that they meet the Government Buying Standards (GBS) - a set of product specifications for public buyers when buying goods and services for those product groups covered and which include the GBS for transport vehicles, which is aligned to Guidance on the implementation of The Cleaner Road Transport Vehicles (Scotland) Regulations 2010 and focuses on encouraging the purchasing and leasing of the cleanest vehicles, and addresses safety and fuel efficiency.

GBS use is encouraged across the wider public sector. It is important to establish that the market for a particular product can meet these requirements before incorporating them; the GBS criteria have been tested against market capabilities.

N.B. The Guidance on the implementation of The Cleaner Road Transport Vehicles (Scotland) Regs 2010 deals with the procurement of vehicles, which is not addressed within this guidance. This includes examples from Councils with some European good practice examples ("tender models") include those relating to low emission vehicles.

It also highlights aids and measures that are intended to improve the efficiency of vehicle use and therefore reduce relevant emissions. These may be appropriate to the use of vehicles within services procured and include: gear shift indicators, air conditioning gases complying with regulations, tyre pressure monitoring systems, on-going maintenance, fuel-efficient driving, including driver training, and the use of telematics systems to help optimise route planning and transport data. Additionally, for guidance on the procurement of vehicles you may wish to read our process-focused case study on the Glasgow Emission Free Fleet Strategy.

life-cycle cost tool was specially developed to calculate the operational lifetime costs of a vehicle fleet according to the methodology defined in the Clean and Energy Efficient Vehicles Directive.

The lifetime costs for energy consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions are monetised and calculated by multiplying the lifetime mileage by the corresponding value of energy consumption or emission per kilometre and by the respective cost per unit of energy or emission.

Several options are included in the tool enabling the user to select the type of vehicle and to enter or choose different values from a list.

EU Green Public Procurement Criteria for Road Transport

As well as the Government Buying Standard for transport vehicles the EU GPP criteria for Road Transport (updated in 2021) potentially provides useful information for buyers.

Contracting Authorities may, where relevant, require suppliers to be able to meet specific or all of the criteria within these.

Prior to the UK’s exit from the EU there was increasing alignment between the EU GPP criteria and those within the UK Government Buying Standards (see below).

While not mandatory, they provide a useful source of information. They apply at ‘Core’ or ‘Comprehensive’ levels.

Within the Annex are examples of vehicle and climate wording that may be used within specifications.

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