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UK government to use GPP to help meet sustainable development goals

27 June 2013

Green Public Procurement (GPP) will form a major component of the UK government’s new sustainable development plan for the country, according to a document recently released by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The department intends to use GPP to encourage suppliers to make their products and services more sustainable. It will also use its buying power to green the way contractors carry out works, such as ensuring greater energy and waste efficiency within new buildings.

Defra has also stated that it will take life-cycle costing into account in its procurement practices, opting for the most cost-effective solution over the long term, rather than simply the cheapest up-front. It has also developed a set of procurement standards, titled Government Buying Standards, which all central government departments and agencies are required to use. Each agency is expected to collect and publish information about the impacts of their supply chain.

Under the Timber Procurement Policy, government departments are committed to buying sustainably sourced timber. Employees working in the field of procurement will also be offered to undertake a Sustainable Public Procurement training Programme. At present, public sector spending is worth approximately 16 percent of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), representing a major opportunity to encourage sustainable development through GPP.

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