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Sustainable Procurement. Myths & Legends. Shaun McCarthy. Director. Chair. What – Sustainability…?.

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Sustainable procurement

Sustainable Procurement

Myths & Legends

Shaun mccarthy
Shaun McCarthy



What sustainability
What – Sustainability…?

  • “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

    • Brundtland Definition

What sustainability1
What – Sustainability?

  • Living within environmental limits

    • 1.8 Global hectares per capita

    • 2 Tonnes CO2 per capita per year

  • Living in an equal world

    • Gini coefficient 0.25 to 0.35

      • Ratio of most advantaged to least advantaged

Inter governmental panel on climate change
Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change

  • CO2 levels highest for 650,000 years

  • Climate change “unequivocally” happening

  • Global temperature will rise between 1.8oC and 4oC in the next century, worst case 6.4oC

  • In the worst case, Trafalgar Square would be under water

The challenge
The challenge


It s not just about carbon
It’s not just about carbon…!

  • Resources

    • If the whole world lived like Western Europe we would need 3 planets resources to sustain life

  • Inequality

    • 25% of London’s Black Caribbean community is unemployed compared to 2.5% of the Indian community

    • 25% of the UK population has a physical or mental disability

    • 3.8M children were living in poverty in the UK in 2005/6

  • Health

    • UK childhood obesity is increasing at the same rate as the USA, we are breeding a generation that will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents

    • Average male life expectancy in Tower Hamlets is 7 years shorter than Kensington

  • Waste

    • Landfill capacity is likely to be non-existent within 7 years

Sustainable procurement1
Sustainable Procurement

“Sustainable Procurement is a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment”.


Sustainable Procurement should consider the environmental, social and economic consequences of:

Design; non-renewable material use; manufacture and production methods; logistics; service delivery; use; operation; maintenance; reuse; recycling options; disposal; and suppliers' capabilities to address these consequences throughout the supply chain.”

Procuring the Future – June 2006

The challenge to purchasers
The challenge – to purchasers

“Using procurement to support wider social, economic and environmental objectives, in ways that offer real long-term benefits”.

Sir Neville Simms


Sustainable Procurement Task Force

Good practice
Good Practice

  • Flexible Framework


Which has the bigger carbon footprint…?


Which has the bigger carbon footprint…?



From Kenya

From Holland


  • How big is theirs…?


  • How big is his…?


  • How big is his…?

    • What proportion of global emissions is the UK responsible for?

      • 2%

      • 17%

      • Both

      • None of these

      • It depends


How big is yours…?


Why bother with social issues? I can make no difference as a buyer.

The great roc n roll swindle
The great ROC n’ Roll Swindle

Buying “Green Energy” will make no difference to your carbon emissions.


It’s all about risk. We don’t want to end up here!


“Centre for Sustainable Procurement Excellence”


“The UK is already among the EU leaders in sustainable procurement”


  • Swedish vehicle contract

    • Created a market for bio-ethanol vehicles


  • Zero waste prison mattress

    • Market leading initiative


  • M&S Plan A

    • Vision

    • Leadership

    • Research

    • Marketing led

    • Delivery?


  • Environment Agency

    • Want to know everything

    • And check it

    • Concerned about plastic membranes in Jiffy Bags (among other things)


  • Manchester City FC

    • Wind power

    • Biomass CHP

    • Local procurement

      • Except the players

        • …and manager


  • Premier Farnell

    • 3 clear priorities with plans and measures

    • Responded to jiffy bag challenge

    • No more tungsten bulbs

    • Presentation to a major global manufacturer resulted in objective to double turnover through this distributor

    • Top 10 product hit list

On the horizon
On the horizon

  • Water

    • The new carbon…?

  • Social issues

    • Local

    • Fair partner/employee

    • Equalities/diversity

  • Secondary impacts

    • Embodied carbon

  • Food

    • Healthy

    • Organic

    • Sustainable


  • We have a long way to go:

    • 83% buying professionals “ill equipped” to deliver sustainability in 2006/7

      • 55% in 2007/8

    • 550+ benchmarks, average Level 1 against FFW

    • BITC Index still recording low scores in this area

London 2012 myth or legend
London 2012… Myth or Legend…?

  • 3 different organisations procure (ODA, LOCOG, LDA)

  • ODA

    • NDPB

    • Current bulk of procurement activity

    • Under review by CSL working with NAO

    • Process includes balanced scorecard with sustainability embedded

    • Contract specs include sustainability requirements (?)

    • Ground breaking work with concrete (forward commitment)

    • Local opportunities and support (?)


    • Private company

    • Commercial sponsors provide free goods & services

    • Merchandising and promotions

    • Food

  • LDA

    • RDA

    • Legacy owner

    • Procurement activity 2012 onwards

London 2012 sustainable
London 2012 – Sustainable…?

It could be said that building a lot of facilities and flying people round the globe to stage an event is inherently un-sustainable.


London 2012 sustainable1
London 2012 – Sustainable…?

  • …it is possible to…

    • Create real, long term jobs for people in the UK and in particular East London,

    • Use the power of sponsorship, media and communications to change people’s behaviour across the world,

    • Developa diverse and vibrant community in East London,

    • Set new standards of sustainability for the construction industry,

    • Delivera truly inclusive and accessible place,

    • Make all these things work together in a virtuous cycle,

  • Then, the net effect of the London 2012 Games could be positive.

Thank you for your attention
Thank you for your attention