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ARCHIVE: Government Buying Standards: how to procure sustainably

Government Buying Standards (formerly known as Buy Sustainable Quick Wins) are designed to make it easier for government buyers to buy sustainably. They include:

  • official specifications that all government buyers must follow when procuring a range of products
  • information about sustainable procurement and how to apply it when buying
  • direct links to websites with lists of products that meet the standards.

Lord Henley StatementLord Henley

We are facing tough times in the UK as we define and follow the path to recovery.  And now more than ever we need to be thinking about balancing environmental, social and economic needs. 

What we buy in the public sector is absolutely vital as it affects product markets as well as local economies. Whilst finding cash savings is important in the short term, it also is imperative that what we buy now is cost effective during its lifetime.  There is no point buying the cheapest computer on the market if it is not energy efficient. Today’s savings must not be tomorrow’s costs.

Government Buying Standards have been developed in consultation with procurement officials across Whitehall as well as industry experts and other stakeholders, and rigorously assessed in terms of costs and scientific evidence.

I believe that buying sustainably is buying well and I encourage you all to use these Government Buying Standards developed to help you understand the life cycle impacts of a wide range of products.

Sustainable procurement

Good procurement is sustainable procurement and will save costs, reduce carbon  and deliver  other environmental benefits such as cutting waste to landfill.

Government Buying Standards are designed to help buyers across the public sector to do exactly this. Currently, there are around 50 standards in ten priority groups that are updated on a rolling basis.

Government Buying Standards have been endorsed by the Coalition Government and all central government departments and their related organisations must ensure that they meet these minimum mandatory specifications when buying products and services. The standards have been developed so that products which meet the criteria save more money over their whole life than products that do not.

By following the Government Buying Standards across the whole public sector, we can also meet key policies around sustainability - including the Coalition Government’s commitment to reduce central Government’s CO2 emissions by 10% this year and support for a wider sustainable operations agenda to help drive the development of the green economy.

Government Buying Standards simplify sustainable procurement by:

  • providing minimum and best practice standards for around 50 different products
  • giving you straightforward specifications you can insert directly into tenders
  • asking suppliers to prove their compliance with these standards
  • enabling more suppliers to develop products that meet the standards - so increasing competitiveness.

This site also helps you apply sustainable procurement principles by offering you a wealth of information about buying sustainably, including links to sites where you can find and buy products that meet the standards.

See also

Page last modified: 1 October 2010
Page published: 31 March 2010