As with all market sectors, it is important to understand the needs of the public sector and, in particular, the political and legislative environment which shapes how we do business. Public procurement is integral to policy development and service delivery, and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 places duties on public sector bodies to ensure that their procurement activities are both business friendly and socially responsible.
The Act builds on the success of public procurement reform and establishes laws about sustainable public procurement. Contracting authorities must think about how procurement can improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of their area. It also requires them to think about how they can facilitate the involvement of SMEs, the third sector and supported business.
Scotland Excel undertakes a comprehensive sustainability test for each new contract prior to issuing a tender. Questions will be included in the tender to assess the supplier's policies on workforce matters, their approach managing waste or minimising their carbon footprint, and their commitment to providing community benefits when spend on the contract reaches agreed thresholds.
Where appropriate, questions on sustainable procurement may be scored, and suppliers may be required to supply evidence of their sustainable practices. Scotland Excel welcomes ideas from suppliers for innovative approaches to sustainable procurement and community benefits.
Some examples of sustainable procurement from our current contract portfolio include:
Domestic furniture and furnishing framework
Suppliers to the framework have diverted a significant amount of waste from landfill through re-use initiatives, and they have reduced their carbon footprint through improved logistics. It has also brought significant community benefits, including creation of 113 jobs and apprenticeships and 8,960 hours of work experience. This framework won the National Government Opportunities (GO) Public Procurement Excellence Award for Sustainability / Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year in 2015.
As well as services to provide and fit new tyres for the wide range of vehicles Scotland’s councils use, our tyres framework also offer safe and environmentally sound tyre disposal. Old tyres are either retreaded to maximise their life and value to the councils, or recycled at specialist facilities where the rubber is turned into fuel energy, or into the chip and pellet materials that are used for road run off lanes. This not only avoids waste going to landfill, but makes sure the rubber is put to good use with the minimum environmental impact.
Organic waste framework
Our organic waste framework is helping Scottish councils meet legislation that makes it mandatory to collect food waste from households and food businesses by 2016. It is the first contract of its kind to put a sustainable approach to food and garden waste in place across Scotland and, within its first three years, had diverted 296,000 tonnes of food and garden waste from landfill. Community benefits delivered by suppliers through this framework have included donating products created from organic waste back to the community for a variety of horticultural and landscaping projects.