Sustainable Procurement Tools

Supplier selection

Some suggested selection criteria that can be used within Single Procurement Document (Scotland) (SPD), or as criteria for contract award is provided below. As to deciding at which stage they are appropriate, this will depend on the exact wording and the particular procurement requirement, some issues may be addressed at either stage (but not at both). It needs to be emphasised that they must be both proportionate and relevant and there must be a clear methodology to evaluate responses.  

Where services are being procured care must be taken to ensure that requirements placed on tenderers are both relevant and proportionate. In terms of products supplied a tenderer may have responsibility for the production methods and place of origin.  Where the sustainability of product or material content is both relevant and proportionate the following questions may be helpful: 

'Please describe your approach to environmental sustainability, including details of any specific steps taken in the design and manufacture of services to protect and/or enhance natural [built] heritage areas.

'Please describe how you manage your environmental impacts detailing any environmental good practice systems, including ISO 14001, or EMAS, or equivalent which form part of your business practice.'

An environmental management system is likely to only be relevant in the procurement of some services. Its requirement should be proportionate according to the market and the scope of services required, and you must be prepared to accept an equivalent to a system accredited to ISO14001 or Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

Rather than asking for a specific standard buyers must identify the elements of these standards and decide what is relevant to their organisation and the particular procurement. It is then essential that suppliers are notified of which elements they will be evaluated on. This will provide good evidence of their professional and technical ability – particularly where ‘sustainability’ is a desired outcome. As an example for a service contract you could include:  

'Please provide a copy of your Environmental Policy and highlight how it relates to the enhancement of heritage sites in the construction services you provide.'

When selecting suppliers it is essential to assess the technical capabilities that will be required for the products or services you are procuring to meet your needs. Not only is this useful from the buyer’s point of view, as suppliers that can clearly not meet the requirement will be eliminated, but it is also useful for the suppliers as they have a very clear understanding of how serious you are about sustainability and what will be essential for their submission to be successful. 

To assess the capability of suppliers in understanding the relevant issues and working sympathetically in areas sensitive to harm: 

1. Detail your understanding, experience and achievements in cost-effectively providing [insert service] services that minimise the harm and maximise the enhancement of heritage areas.

2. Detail your experience in identifying and obtaining materials suitable for the restoration of XX building given the age, design and use of the building.

3. Detail your understanding, experience and achievements in providing services in historic public areas to reduce disruption for a similar project.

4. Detail your understanding, experience and achievements in delivering a cost effective and efficient building that meets the needs of users and all relevant stakeholders within the constraint of a historic building, through appropriate design. 

An ideal response would provide the following:

1. Evidence of having achieved reduced adverse impacts or made improvements for clients. 

2. Evidence of experience of working on historic buildings and sourcing and using sympathetic materials. 

3. Evidence of having achieved reduced disruption and maintained access for the public in a safe and cost effective way. 

4. Evidence of experience of having worked with all relevant stakeholders to understand the vision and required functions for the existing historic building and to have applied this in design proposals and undertakings, [potentially recognised in case studies or awards].