shopping trolley

Procurement traditionally includes purchasing, inventory control, traffic and transportation, receiving, inspection, management, store keeping, salvage and disposal.

Sustainable procurement involves incorporating social and environmental costs into the purchasing process.

Often sustainable options are more expensive to purchase at the outset.  This can prohibit the uptake of more sustainable options. If reduced operational costs and reduced impact on society and the environment are taken into consideration sustainable options can be more favourable.
It is very important to collaborate with the supply chain, including suppliers and installers, to ensure joined up thinking and make new build or refurbishment projects effective.  Local materials and skills should be utilised wherever possible to reduce transportation costs and to stimulate the local economy.

The National Audit Office presented the main barriers of sustainable procurement which include:

  • Cost - perception of increased cost is associated with sustainable procurement. Value for money is perceived to be inconsistent with paying a premium to achieve sustainability objectives;
  • Knowledge - lack of awareness of the need for and processes required to conduct procurement more sustainably;
  • Awareness and information - lack of information about the most sustainable option; lack of awareness of products; lack of monitoring of suppliers; perceptions of inferior quality;
  • Risk - risk-averse buyers prefer to purchase from suppliers with a good track record. Organisations fear criticism from the media and are therefore less keen to take innovative approaches;
  • Legal issues - uncertainty as to what can, and cannot be done, under existing rules (both UK and EC) on public procurement;
  • Leadership - a lack of leadership – both organisational and political – leading to a lack of ownership and accountability at all levels;
  • Inertia - lack of appetite for change. Lack of personal or organisational incentives to drive change.

What should I do?

Consider long term costs rather than capital costs.

WLGA - CLILC Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru / Welsh Assembly Government