Headlines: March 6th, 2007



The Government has set out the steps it believes will be needed to ensure ‘greener’ public services. It has published details of the actions that it thinks will deliver changes to make services, and supply chains, low carbon, low waste and water efficient as well as ensuring they respect biodiversity and achieve sustainable development targets.

Publication of the ‘Government Sustainable Procurement Action Plan’, which is linked to the recent Treasury report, ‘Transforming Government Procurement’, follows targets set last summer for sustainable operations in Government buildings. They included a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2012 and a 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

The new Action Plan lays down lines of accountability and reporting, as well as detailing plans to raise the standards and status of procurement practice as a way to achieve its targets. At the same time the Government has published an updated set of mandatory environmental product standards to ensure Departments buy and use the most sustainable commodities. Implementation of the plan will be overseen by Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Head of the Civil Service, who said Government purchasing power was enormous and with the head of the procurement service he would be leading the drive across the whole of Government to ensure that procurement was sustainable.

Environment Secretary David Miliband added, “Public sector purchasing power must be harnessed to transform the market for innovative and sustainable solutions to make them more widely available and affordable to others. Procurement is key in tackling climate change and as a Government we must do more and practise what we preach in terms of tackling climate change.”