Greening government procurement chains

Local authorities spend around £100 billion annually which amounts to roughly 15% of all public spending. Being such key players in the economy gives them an opportunity to drive growth in the low carbon goods and services sector.


In 2010 Berlin passed a Public Procurement Act which applied sustainability criteria, including lifecycle costs, to the city government’s £4bn supply chains. This was tightened in 2013 to include office materials and equipment, cleaning agents and services, road vehicles, large-scale events, tenders for power supplies, the planning of office buildings, and recycling of commercial waste.

The argument was that the size of the Government, as the largest purchasing entity in the city, would make it a strong agent of change, which could spread the benefits to all stakeholders in the production chain. A study of 15 newly commissioned products and services found financial savings of £38 million, and a 47% (355,000 tonne) reduction in CO2e, compared to the former conventional procurement. On top of this 9,300 tonnes of wood and 2 million tonnes of natural stone were saved and a particulate reduction of around 12 tonnes of diesel soot achieved.

See what you can do