How to Demonstrate Environmental Sustainability in a SQ Submission
The concept of ‘environmental sustainability’ is becoming increasingly important at SQ stage. With pressing government targets and increased environmental awareness throughout society, Local Authorities are looking for suppliers with ‘green’ credentials and environmental questions are now a standard feature within the SQ document.
Many providers, however, are unclear about what’s required or aware of their responsibilities to the green agenda.
‘Sustainability’ is very different to ‘environmentally-friendly’. The latter involves the use of recycled ink cartridges, for example, or ensuring staff recycle waste materials thoroughly. A sustainable business, on the other hand, involves long-term, strategic planning that links your business growth with positive environmental and societal continuity. As the Carbon Trust point out, “businesses need to ask themselves, are operations consistent with the rate of replenishment of resources that they use?”
What does this mean? One aspect is reducing emissions. The Climate Change Act dictates that we achieve an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. This means businesses need to look at delivering a 1 to 2 per cent emissions reduction every year up to 2020, and then around a 2 to 3 per cent reduction annually until 2050. For a social care provider, reduction in emissions can come from reducing travel, e.g. ‘walking rounds’ or car sharing, or by reducing office energy use.
Another aspect of ‘environmental sustainability’ relates to our use of natural resources. One example of this might be your company’s use of paper – important considerations would be reducing your use of paper through maximising electronic communications, using you company intranet or staff portal etc, and making sure you buy only Forest stewardship Council certified paper products.
This issue isn’t going to go away – environmental sustainability is set to become an increasingly important feature of Public Sector procurement. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to focus on reviewing this aspect of your operations to ensure you have everything in order. Insequa Ltd will be addressing this and environmental policies and action plans in further blogs and expert advice is available from The Carbon Trust.