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Sustainable procurement of resource efficient equipment for your business

Purchasing long-lasting equipment such as boilers and insulation is usually done infrequently. It’s therefore unlikely that expertise are developed alongside an in-depth knowledge of suppliers, product specifications and pricing.

This means many businesses may miss out on financial and environmental benefits. This is particularly true in smaller businesses where the pressures of day-to-day operations mean there is very little time to undertake improvement projects. For other businesses, lack of time and expertise can lead to purchases going ahead without the right amount of planning – delivering disappointing results.

Making the right choices when buying new resource efficiency equipment not only ensures that you enjoy maximum benefits from the project, but it also helps bolster management support for future projects.

Different purchasing decisions will, of course, carry different risks. Buying energy efficient lighting for a storage area has less risk than investing in a new heating, ventilation and airconditioning (HVAC) system.  However, the purchase process is the same, the only difference being the time and effort you feel the tasks warrants.


Four steps to successful procurement

The process we recommend follows four key steps:

1) Understand your requirements.

2) Find and short-list suitable suppliers.

3) Review estimates and supplier capabilities.

4) Select the most suitable supplier


Planning for the future

While most resource efficiency products are likely to be a one-off purchase that will last many years, they should still be part of an overall sustainable procurement system in your organisation.

Sustainable procurement is about:

  • Ensuring the environment for the supply of raw materials remains secure for current and future generations.
  • Purchasing products and services that cause minimal, adverse environmental impacts.
  • Incorporating human health and resource scarcity concerns. Sustainable procurement considers the life-cycle of a product from extracting the raw material to disposing of the product at the end of its useful life. Products are assessed not just on their price and performance, but also on their environmental impact.

Sustainable products and services are those that:

  • Minimise resource use.
  • Optimise energy and water efficiency.
  • Prevent waste arising in the first place.
  • Use renewable materials.
  • Use materials with a high recycled content.
  • Have a low impact on the wider environment.
  • Are not hazardous or toxic.
  • Minimise transport and fuel use.
  • Minimise packaging waste. When speaking to potential suppliers, you should make it clear to them that you will be assessing their goods and services on the basis of sustainable requirements as well as value for money. For example, you could ask them to:
  • Minimise the use of materials that may become waste, such as packaging.
  • Reduce the amount of hazardous material in products.
  • Increase the use of recycled materials. This means you can give preferences to suppliers who can then reduce total material use, reduce the number of components, minimise the use of harmful materials, extend product life, enable servicing, extend materials life and minimise waste generation.