This guidance is concerned with the procurement of products or services from sources that are potentially vulnerable to supply disruption.
This guidance may be considered, where relevant, alongside Construction Policy Note (CPN) 1/2023 which draws attention to the publication of a new chapter (chapter 18) within the Client Guide to Construction Projects. The guidance provides an overview of the client’s role in planning for sustainability in construction projects, particularly during the project initiation phase.
It is part of a series of guides which support the sustainable procurement duty tools to help public sector organisations embed sustainability into their procurement processes.
Materials security is intertwined with scare or unsustainable materials and these matters should be considered alongside one another. Scarce or unsustainable materials are addressed in the Scarce materials guidance.
The risk of supply chain disruption or constraint could be as a result of supply from politically sensitive regions, a supply chain which is restricted to a limited number of suppliers or limited supply sources, or which may be affected by labour, environmental and other factors like civil unrest, crime, natural disaster, or pandemic. For example:
The availability of products or equipment that include or rely on minerals, metals, timber, plastics and water, or those including materials that are known to be scarce or unsustainable (critical raw materials (CRMs)) may be affected by such circumstances. For example materials or products used in ICT, furniture, textiles, and construction (e.g. timber, cement and stone).
The above information is not exhaustive.
It is important to consider how to secure supply chains for key products and services that are potentially vulnerable to security of supply. Managing these risks might include requiring bidders to demonstrate their risk management process including assessment of potential risks, risk mitigation measures including sourcing strategy and stock level strategy, etc. There are also several approaches to minimising these risks:
In addition, the following might be considered:
Keeping the lines of communication open with suppliers is important, so that the organisation is informed of developments and challenges being faced by suppliers.
A circular economy approach has the potential to preserve valuable raw materials by ensuring that materials are retained within productive use, in a high value state, for as long as possible. It focuses on reshaping business and economic systems so that waste is ‘designed out’ of how we live.