Council could harness its £200m buying power to help tackle climate change and cut its carbon footprint

September 3, 2021

A fundamental review of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s buying practices – including using more local suppliers to further reduce its carbon footprint – is being considered as part of the council’s commitment to tackle the climate emergency.

The council, which spends more than £200m each year commissioning goods and services, wants to harness this purchasing power to help combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions. 

A report to the council’s cabinet next Thursday outlines plans to adopt an environmentally sustainable approach to how it buys all its goods and services, including considering the carbon footprint and environmental impact of all products and services bought by the council over their lifetime as well as encouraging local procurement.

The Liberal Democrat-controlled council also believes its move will encourage innovation as suppliers will need to come up with the most cost-effective and sustainable solutions to meet its criteria.

The proposed Climate Emergency Procurement & Commissioning Strategy also responds to new national procurement regulations, due to be introduced next year in response to Brexit and Covid-19, which make it mandatory for public sector organisations to create new businesses, jobs and skills and improve supplier diversity, innovation and resilience. 

The council said its strategy is to be built on three principles – Think Climate, Think Local, Think Innovation – and will have four key objectives:

  • To consider the carbon footprint and environmental impact of all products and services bought by the council over their lifetime.
  • To consider suppliers’ capability to address these environmental impacts throughout the supply chain when awarding contracts.
  • To encourage the use of local suppliers to further reduce the council’s carbon footprint.
  • To encourage innovation by emphasising the council’s needs and desired outcomes to allow suppliers to come up with the most cost effective and sustainable solutions.

If adopted, the council has said it will take what it called a “phased and flexible approach” to implementing the new procurement strategy and review existing contracts.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for resources and economic development, Cllr Richard Samuel, said: “We are committed to delivering value for money while responding to the needs of our community, but we must also ensure our procurement practices deliver on our ambitions.

“If we are to meet our net zero targets it is vital we consider the environmental impact of all our decisions and show leadership. I therefore welcome this report which recommends that consideration of the climate emergency becomes a golden thread in our purchasing decisions.”




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