Corporate level commitment
Reducing the negative impacts of our work and creating a greener and more sustainable business world is key to our approach as an organisation. This is clearly embedded within our vision statement (PDF, 457KB)
and corporate strategy
which outlines our sustainable development commitments.
Procurement also forms part of our environmental management system which is accredited to ISO14001 and EMAS standards.
The Environment Agency has a clear commitment to ensuring social values are embedded within the organisation and this is clearly reflected in our diversity policy. Our procurement activities form part of this policy and further details of our organisational commitments can be found on our diversity pages
Procurement mission statement
- Best value
- Best practice
- Most sustainable outcome
- Procurement policy statement (PDF, 95KB)
Our comprehensive sustainability strategy is underpinned by a risk based approach. We prioritise our efforts on our top ten high-risk categories, which have been mapped using Procuring the Future’s Sustainable Procurement Task Force (SPTF) method. We were a major contributor to the SPTF and the development of the Flexible Framework (FFW). We aim to deliver Level 5 in all areas by 2015. For more information on how to deliver sustainable procurement within your organisation please see the link above.
We are fully committed to meet the Greening Government Commitments and also support a range of diversity and equality initatives such as Race for Opportunity and Stonewall.
Our procurement staff support the delivery of our strategy through our category management (PDF, 335KB) model, we have professional procurement staff leading category strategies for all of our high risk/high value purchases.
Our strategy is comprised of 6 key elements:
Risk assessment and action
Risk assessment is at the heart of our approach to Sustainable Procurement. We encourage early consideration of sustainability risks, this offers more opportunity to manage them. We were pioneers of this approach, which is considered as best practice.
It helps our people to understand the life cycle impacts, identify the key risks and focus effort. These risks are translated into actions that are managed throughout the procurement process to maximise positive results.
Integration into the procurement process
Sustainability is fully integrated into all stages of our procurement cycle, from identifying needs through to contract management. Our suppliers are made aware of our commitments early on and we encourage them to present sustainable solutions. We improve our knowledge by sharing information and mandate the use of existing product standards such as Government buying standards. Category specific strategies are developed for all our high risk purchases.
Supplier management and development
We cannot achieve our strategy on our own and recognise the significant role our supplies play. We interact with our suppliers and rely on them to be informed and active in their approach to sustainability issues. Both in terms of carrying out our contracts and managing their own businesses and supply chains.
Our voluntary supplier development audit programme began in 2002. It focuses on the environmental and ethical performance of our key suppliers. We offer advice and encourage our suppliers to adopt sustainable practices for themselves and their supply chains. This provides commercial benefits to them and the wider business community.
We are committed to working with our suppliers to understand and mitigate our negative sustainability impacts and to enhace the positives. We look for our suppleirs to lead the way in environmental solutions and social practices, this includes embedding diversity (all strands) and equality within their operations and supply chain.
Sustainable procurement marketing
Our commitments and successes are promoted internally and externally. This is essential to maintain buy-in from our customers and suppliers, and encourages innovative ways of working.
We work closely with organisations such as Defra, the Cabinet Office and the Welsh Government to promote sustainable procurement across the public and private sector. The Government’s ambition is to develop a consistent approach.
Staff training and awareness
Our procurement staff are champions of sustainable procurement. Sustainable procurement forms part of our training programme and we provide regular refresher training. All of our procurement staff have been fully trained in our approach and use practical application of our risk assessments. Our Procurement teams also raise awareness with their local management teams, key project managers and suppliers. They also represent the Environment Agency at external events to raise awareness with local government and businesses.
All procurement staff have sustainable procurement objectives, against which their performance is assessed.
We continually strive to maintain excellence in everything we do including our approach to sustainable procurement. We believe that periodic benchmarking of our performance helps to maintain that we are a leader in this field.
We have held our EMAS and ISO14001 accreditation for a number of years and remain committed to initatives such as Race for Opportunity and Stonewall, for which procurement is an integral part.
Our commitment to maintaining excellence has been recognised externally. For example in 2008 we won a prestigious Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) award for our approach to timber procurement.
In 2009 we submitted an entry to the European EMAS Awards and were successful in winning both the UK Public Administration category and the Public Administration Category for Europe.
Internally we have introduced an annual award to encourage our procurement teams to push the boundaries of Sustainable Procurement. This offers us a range of good case studies that can be shared.
Internally we have introduced our own sustainability procurement awards and also host awards with outher construction suppleirs. This offers us a range of case studies that we will soon share with others.
The procurement strategy supports delivery of our Internal Environment Management (IEM) Strategy and our ISO14001 certified and EMAS registered environmental management system. In this way, as an organisation, we work towards common goals and objectives.
For further details of our strategy please request a copy of the Environment Agency’s Sustainable Procurement Guide.