HL Deb 13 June 2002 vol 636 c49WA
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whet her their procurement policy includes environmental criteria; and, if so, what are the criteria. [HL4161]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty)

Government procurement policy is to obtain value for money having due regard to propriety and regularity. Value for money is defined as "the optimum combination of whole life cost and quality (or fitness for purpose) to meet the customer's requirement". Sustainable development objectives, including policies aimed at reducing adverse environmental impacts, are pursued within the framework of this procurement policy and the EC procurement rules.

Government departments have been required since 1990 to operate procurement strategies that take into account the environmental impacts of their purchasing decisions. This means drafting contract specifications (including for production processes) that reflect government objectives; selecting suppliers that have the technical capacity to meet the environmental criteria specified; and awarding contracts to the bids that offer the best combination of quality and whole life costs for the contracting authority. Whole life costs will include, for example, energy consumed over the life of the product or service and disposal costs. Incorporating environmental criteria into procurement is explained in a note published jointly by HM Treasury and the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions in 1998 and may be viewed on the Office of Government Commerce website. Detailed guidance on government policy and specific environmental criteria may be found in the Green Guide for Buyers—URL: http://defraweb/environment/greening/greenpro/greenpro.htm.