Local, regional and national public sector bodies are being urged by DEFRA to get their act together on sustainable procurement. While many councils have made significant progress in meeting the targets in the National Procurement Strategy, much remains to be done. Procurement professionals, practitioners and council buyers from across the UK, who are responsible for sourcing goods for a wide range of services including purchasing food for their local schools are being invited to a conference in Cambridge on 3-4 November 2005. They will share ideas on delivering priorities for the strategy and exchange knowledge with EU counterparts.Public bodies are very influential market actors spending significant sums of money on purchasing consumables and services. This purchasing power can be used to promote more sustainable products and services with considerable improvements and changes in market structures both in the short and long term. Sustainable procurement is an issue, which until recently, has received attention in only a few pioneer countries, such as Denmark and Austria. However, this cross-cutting topic is rapidly gaining international recognition and is one where public bodies, and especially local government, have a leading role to play and a mandate to do so.
Topics and workshops at the conference will focus on the way ahead for local food supply and look at means of supporting sustainable procurement for local businesses and the construction sector. Speakers will talk about a range of issues facing local buyers, the reinvention of supply chains and building on current plans and key objectives. A key theme for the workshops will be how buyers can translate the current EU policy into practice and use the leverage of the public sector to deliver better quality, greater efficiency gains and sustainable outcomes. These topics tie-in with the delivery of the National Procurement Strategy for Local Government in England and actions in ‘Securing the Future’, the UK Sustainable Development Strategy launched this year.