Tech Net Zero discovery report – recommendation 6
Recommendation 6 – Make sustainability part of procurement
What’s the problem?
Our policy research and our conversations with public servants both highlighted the opportunity of procuring digital products and services in a way that reduces carbon emissions.
Public servants talked about the challenge of getting enough funding to explore and deliver new technologies, including digital services.
Participants also mentioned not knowing how sustainability should translate into digital procurement. They saw an opportunity to build sustainability into wider procurement policy and platforms, rather than leaving it to individual organisations to interpret.
Read more in our research findings about this problem:
Difficulties with sustainability in procurement and supplier management
Lack of funding, time and resource
Net zero needs to be a prominent part of the procurement process, and people need support to implement it. The STAR team emphasised the importance of addressing carbon reduction in procurement. They pointed to the sustainability clauses added to the UK government Model Services Contract and supplier code of conduct as examples.
Various practitioners encouraged bringing net zero needs into relationships with vendors – many are addressing these needs in their product and service roadmaps already. Considering net zero throughout supply chains will be essential.
Applying user-centred design and involving digital and sustainability experts early during procurement will help make solutions cost effective and sustainable.
Possible approaches to solving this problem might include:
- providing guidance on embedding net zero goals within digital procurement
- developing vendor relationships to include net zero goals
- making user-centred design (which makes services more efficient and so potentially greener) part of buying as well as building products and services