Route 3 Sustainability Test
You can use this test to identify and prioritise the opportunities to address sustainability
through your procurement.
The key stages within the procurement process that relate to Sustainability are:
Public bodies can reserve a contract by restricting participation in a
tendering exercise to supported factories & businesses only
Public bodies are able to specify their requirements in sustainable terms
provided they do not discriminate against products or providers
Questions regarding the suppliers’ general sustainable policies are not
permitted unless they are directly relevant to the subject/performance of
the contract
Award Criteria
Must be relevant to the subject/performance of the contract and where
possible should include whole life costing
Invitation to
Contract terms and conditions could be linked to the sustainable policies
of the organisation e.g. whilst working on the organisation’s premises the
contractor will comply as far as possible with its’ recycling policy
Using the Test
The sustainability test is in two parts:
1. Initial Options Analysis tables where your initial analysis of the
options to address economic, social and environmental aspects
through your procurement should be recorded
2. Sustainable Opportunities slide where details of which of the
opportunities that were identified during the initial options analysis
can feasibly be addressed through your procurement should be
recorded. The Sustainable Opportunities slide should be included in
the commodity strategy.
Initial Options Analysis Tables
The social, environmental and economic aspects tables should be used to identify
opportunities to address sustainability through your procurement. This initial analysis
of all options will inform the sustainable opportunities slide for inclusion within the
commodity strategy.
1. In the Aspect column, click on the links for guidance and examples of
sustainable procurement good practice
2. In the Opportunity column, insert details of the opportunities that exist to
deliver positive sustainable outcomes through your procurement for each
3. In the Impact column, summarise any impacts these opportunities will have
on the delivery of the organisations objectives or the delivery of the contract.
You should arrange these impacts by order of priority, from highest to lowest
4. In the Recommendation column, if possible, provide details of what actions
should be taken to address the opportunity through your procurement
Sustainable Opportunities Slide
Details of the opportunities that were identified during the initial options
analysis that can feasibly be addressed through your procurement and
recommendations for how they are to be addressed should be included
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to address every aspect of
sustainability through every procurement. You should try to prioritise
delivering those opportunities that have the highest positive impact on
your organisation’s sustainable procurement objectives.
You should also record details of how you propose to implement the
recommendations to address each opportunity.
Once completed, the sustainable opportunities slide can then be inserted
into your commodity strategy in the appropriate place.
Managing Sustainability
The requirements that you placed on contractors and their sub-contractors
should be monitored once the contract is awarded through Contract &
Supplier Management.
Care should be taken to make sure the monitoring process does not place
excessive burdens on contractors which could be a barrier to their
participation in the competitive process.
The balanced scorecard is a useful tool for ensuring that contract
performance is consistent with the pre-determined measurements.
Performance Review Meetings are an important part of the Contract &
Supplier Management process. The meetings provide the Contract
Manager and the Contractor with an opportunity to focus on what is going
well, identify any problems at an early stage and agree opportunities for
improvement and innovation.
Social Considerations
Promotion of:
• Youth employment & older workers
• Gender balance
• Employment of persons from minority groups
• Job skill development programmes
• Inclusive and accessible work environments
Equality &
Human Rights
Promotion of:
• Access to training
• Gender equality
• Access to basic social protection
• Diversity
• Health and safety throughout the supply chain, including subcontractors
Social Inclusion
Accessibility &
Design for All
Promotion of:
• Equal access to procurement opportunities of firms owned
by/employing persons from ethnic/minority groups
• Access to employment for persons with special needs to
enhance their employability to secure decent work
language/cultural skills & knowledge
• Language/cultural skills & knowledge e.g. making information
available in other languages, reflecting different cultural
requirements in service provision
• Documents written in simple language which is easy to
• Use of reserved contracts to restrict the tendering process to
supported businesses only
Promotion of:
•Mandatory requirements in technical specifications to ensure
access by persons with disabilities
Examples of Procurement Activities with a Positive
Social Impact
Procurement Activity
Advertise contract opportunity on *Public Contracts
Sustainable Impact
Ensures contract opportunity is advertised widely to
maximise participation and increase supplier diversity
*to access PCS copy and paste the link in your browser
Procurement as a reserved contract
Restricts the contract opportunity to supported
businesses only
Specification of *Community Benefits clauses
Delivers a wider social benefit in addition to the core
purpose of the contract, particularly through targeted
training & recruitment outcomes in the local community
*to access Community Benefits copy and paste the link in your browser
Specification includes consideration of diversity and
equality issues
Ensures contract can be accessed by all potential endusers i.e. regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion,
Consultation with Ready for Business
Ensures realisation of maximum value from
procurement opportunities through:
• Use of Community Benefits
• Encourage best practice in social enterprise
• Facilitate consortia development
• Encourage collaboration between social enterprises,
SMEs and third sector organisations
Documentation written in Plain English
Ensures clear understanding of requirement and
standardised approach
Environmental Considerations
Raw Materials
Energy Usage
Reduction in:
• Emissions to air
• Emissions to water
• Impact on Climate Change
• Impact on population’s health
Reduction in:
•Solid waste
•Liquid wastes
•Hazardous wastes
Promotion of:
•Sustainable resources
Reduction in:
•Energy use
•Business travel
Promotion of:
•Energy efficient products;
•Renewable energy
Reduction in:
•Impact on habitat
•Loss of biodiversity
Environmental Purchasing Hierarchy
e.g. service instead of product
e.g. hazardous material content
e.g. emissions produced
e.g. packaging
e.g. paper, glass
e.g. minimise quantities and
therefore cost
Examples of Procurement Activities with a
Positive Environmental Impact
Procurement Activity
Use of *Government Buying Standards
Sustainable Impact
*to access Government Buying Standards copy and paste the link in
your browser
Sets out minimum criteria that must be followed when
buying a range of different products and services and
ensures that products which fulfil the criteria provide
better value for money over the whole life of the
product than products that do not
Consider the principals of the Environmental
Procurement Hierarchy
Ensures that products / services with the lowest
environmental impacts are identified
Assess procurement on a Whole Life Cost basis
Ensures that all costs associated with the contract are
identified and fully accounted for as part of the
procurement process to minimise “over specifying” the
products/services being procured i.e. costs for
disposal. Also ensures that costs associated with
performance are more visible so trade-offs can be
made between performance and cost so wastes can
be minimised
Economic Considerations
Reducing the cost/burden of participation by:
• Ensuring the requirements in the pre-qualification documents
and tender documents are proportionate to the value and
complexity of the contract
• Using plain English and avoiding the use of jargon in
• Considering the use of lotting strategies
Supplier Diversity
Enabling greater access for all suppliers by:
• Engaging early with suppliers to advise of forthcoming
• Advertising the requirement in easily accessible places e.g.
Public Contracts Scotland
• Ensuring sub-contracting opportunities are visible
• Ensuring equal terms for sub-contractors
• Encouraging supply base collaboration
Supporting suppliers’ competitiveness by considering:
• Contract terms & conditions
• Payment terms, including terms relating to payment to subcontractors
• Using output based specifications so the supplier can define
the solution to your requirement
Providing economic benefits to the community by:
• Using community benefit clauses
• Using collaboration with other buying organisations to reduce
cost disparities
• Whole life costing to identify the most economic solution
Examples of Procurement Activities with a
Positive Economic Impact
Procurement Activity
Sustainable Impact
Use a geographical lotting strategy
Makes opportunity more available to maximise
participation and increase supplier diversity
Advertise contract opportunity on *Public Contracts
Ensures contract opportunity is advertised widely to
maximise participation and increase supplier diversity
*to access PCS copy and paste the link in your browser
Specify that the successful Contractors are to
advertise any sub-contracting opportunities on *Public
Contracts Scotland rather than allowing them to
appoint sub-contractors directly
*to access PCS copy and paste the link in your browser
Ensures contract opportunities are advertised widely to
maximise diversity in the supply chain

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