Where requirements around materials' scarcity or the reduction of the use of unsustainable materials will be built into the contract, relevant and proportionate performance indicators need to be developed to ensure delivery.
These may include evidence of the origin of materials or independent verification of process methods.
A baseline should be available or required (for example within 6-12 months of start of the contract). If it is impractical to obtain a baseline (for example where materials' quantity cannot be tied to the delivery of a specific contract) the focus within contract management should be on continual improvement in materials management practices.
'The provision of yearly verification that materials used within products or services supplied meet the specification requirements of [X% recycled content] [sustainably sourced].'
Contractual requirements must be quantifiable and measurable; otherwise there is a risk that it may be unenforceable. The buyer must also consider whether this requirement is core to the contract or a secondary issue, as any remedy for breach of performance may be difficult to quantify.
At the point of potential award there is always scope to reach a voluntary agreement with the supplier that they will work with you to deliver identified (and agreed) sustainable outcomes that can be captured as a contract commitment. Ongoing improvement and innovation can also be built into the management of the contract to further develop the products and services required.
This is particularly relevant in the case of innovative materials where the market may initially be constrained but opportunities develop over time.