Sustainable procurement—private sector
Produced in partnership with Ardea International
Sustainable procurement—private sector

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Ardea International provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sustainable procurement—private sector
  • What is sustainable procurement?
  • What do lawyers need to be aware of?
  • The benefits of taking sustainability into purchasing decisions
  • What are the key issues to consider in the procurement process?
  • Including sustainability criteria in tender evaluations
  • Selection Questionnaires
  • Sustainability in contracts
  • The use of standards in sustainable procurement

What is sustainable procurement?

According to the UN Global Marketplace definition: procurement is sustainable when it integrates requirements, specifications and criteria that are compatible and in favour of the protection of the environment, of social progress and in support of economic development, namely by seeking resource efficiency, improving the quality of products and services and ultimately optimising costs.

ISO 20400 on Sustainable Procurement, published in April 2017, defines sustainable procurement as ‘procurement that has the most positive environmental, social and economic impacts possible over the entire life cycle.’ For more information on ISO 20400, see: The use of standards in sustainable procurement.

Essentially, sustainable procurement involves embedding environmental, economic and social criteria into contractual documents, with an aim of motivating suppliers to offer more sustainable products and services. It means looking at the impacts of the product and service on the environment over its entire lifecycle from creation to disposal.

Sustainable procurement must not be confused with the term Green Public Procurement (GPP), which emphasises only the environmental impact throughout the lifecycle of goods, services or works. Sustainable public procurement includes the social and economic aspects of sustainability.

There are EU and UK regulations that govern the sustainable procurement process by public bodies.

There is currently no legislation that mandates the sustainable procurement process for the private sector. However, where a private sector company wants to tender for public contracts,

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