Making sustainable purchasing decisions

Information for suppliers on sustainable purchases and making your own supply chain more sustainable.

Making sustainable purchasing decisions minimises the indirect, negative impacts of an organisation, its operations and the services it delivers on the environment whilst maximising positive impacts.

Benefits of sustainable procurement include:

  • reduced energy, waste and travel costs
  • reduced risk of non-compliance with environmental legislation
  • increased employee and customer loyalty because buyers and organisations are becoming increasingly environmentally aware

When undertaking services, supplies or works contracts on behalf of the council we expect suppliers to have considered sustainability impacts the following areas:

  • buying products
  • purchasing decisions
  • supply chain

See below for useful resources and links. 

Sustainable products

Sustainable products should:

  • use fewer natural resources
  • contain fewer hazardous or toxic materials
  • have a longer life span 
  • consume less energy or water in production or use
  • be able to be reused or recycled on disposal
  • generate less waste, for example be made from recycled materials, use less packaging or be recycled by the supplier

Sustainable purchasing decisions

Sustainability is not just about buying ‘green’ products; it is about minimising the negative social and economic effects of your purchasing decisions. As such you should consider:

  • ethically sourced and fairly traded products. Ethical sourcing ensures that decent minimum labour standards are met in production of a whole range of products, where as Fair Trade is primarily concerned with the trading relationship.
  • local suppliers and goods. Supporting local jobs and services will have a positive impact on Brighton & Hove’s economy as a whole. It has been proven that a greater percentage of money spent employing local contractors is recycled back into the economy.
  • utilising the Community & Voluntary sector. This sector maybe more able to deliver on social factors, such as training and skills development, within the local community.
  • local job creation, opportunities for training and skills development, the use of apprenticeships and the use of the Local Employment Scheme.

Making your own supply chain more sustainable

The delivery of a service will have sustainability impacts that you may not be able to control directly, but may have some influence over them. For example in cleaning contracts you can specify the type of products to be used, reducing or eliminating the use of certain chemicals or substances.

With services that you contract out to another organisation, a key opportunity to introduce sustainability measures is when you agree the contract – it will be much harder to influence your service providers once a contract is in place. You will want to consider what the main impacts of the service are, so that you can include relevant requirements in the contract.

If you use or intend to use sub contractors when providing services to the council we expect you, at least, to have:

  • A process in place for ensuring the suitability of potential sub contractors, in terms of their technical knowledge and experience, capacity and capability.
  • A process for monitoring sub contractor performance and ensure they abide by the terms of the main contract.

You should be aware that you will be held contractually responsible for the actions of any sub contractors you use, so it is in your best interest to assess and monitor your own supply chain.

Useful websites & resources

Local Employment Scheme
This is a free recruitment service to individuals seeking employment and for developers requiring appropriate staff for contract delivery in the construction industry.

Build East Sussex
Build East Sussex is a network led by East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council, aimed at developing the construction supply chain across East Sussex.

Build East Sussex helps partner main contractors looking for local construction related businesses to enhance their existing supply chains, local businesses looking for work opportunities and members of the public searching for an apprenticeship or job in construction.