Sustainable development

We recognise our duty to reduce the impact of our business on the environment by cutting carbon dioxide emissions, by using resources efficiently and effectively and by eliminating waste.

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'Greening government'

This government aims to be the greenest ever - in delivering sustainable development by promoting economic development, environmental protection and an improving quality of life for everyone in the UK. The commitments for greening government operations and procurement were published on 28 February 2011 and set out a range of new measures including:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • reducing waste
  • reducing water use
  • being transparent about the impact of government's supply chain
  • making procurement of goods and services more sustainable, while continuing to deliver value for money

Each year, we report our progress in the department's annual report (2011-12: chapter 7, page 55). There are also accompanying notes for the report.

Real-time reporting of energy use has been implemented across central government headquarter buildings to ensure greater public transparency in Whitehall's energy efficiency. These systems have been in place since summer 2010; you can check the Home Office's energy use. Our carbon management plan is available to read.

Food procurement reporting

In compliance with the sustainability standards that were developed to enable government to set a good example on sustainable procurement, the Home Office presents reports from it's food and catering suppliers. They provide data on meeting standards on the sourcing of food, and specific information about the standards achieved at the department's London headquarters.

Sustainable procurement

Of the product groups we reviewed in 20011-12 (ICT, paper, furniture and vehicles) we estimate that where government buying standards (GBS) is relevant to the services/goods we have achieved around 80 to 90 per cent compliance. This comprises 13 contracts.

Since July 2012 we have been promoting GBS among buyers and commercial managers and have inserted a corporate social responsibility (CSR) clause within our standard long-form terms and conditions. This includes a requirement to comply with current GBS for the provision of commodity goods and services and to conduct an annual self-assessment of its CSR policy to include equality and diversity, environmental and socio-economic practices (currently, this is through CAESER).

Sustainable construction

BREEAM is an environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. BREEAM assessments are carried out where the size of the construction or refit project warrants it. In line with the greening government commitments, we aim to achieve 'excellent'  for new construction projects, but the vast majority of projects undertaken are small refits, and so rated 'very good' for refurbishments. Another environmental assesment tool is the Ska rating, which helps organisations achieve more sustainable fit-outs.

In 2011-12 one BREEAM assessment was completed and rated 'very good', while one Ska assessment was also completed and received a bronze rating (both for projects managed on behalf of the Ministry of Justice). There are currently several projects underway where BREEAM assessments for UK Border Agency and MoJ are being carried out.

Construction contracts include a timber procurement clause to ensure compliance with UK government timber procurement policy. Construction waste is reported on an online reporting tool by WRAP, an organisation that helps businesses and individuals reduce waste and use resources in an efficient way.

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