Sustainable procurement duty

Sustainable public procurement aims to make the best use of public money, helping us to achieve our overarching purpose and strategic objectives.

The sustainable procurement duty, outlined in Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, aligns with our purpose to create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

It is underpinned by the National Performance Framework and Scotland's Economic Strategy.

The sustainable procurement duty requires that before a contracting authority buys anything, it must think about how it can improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the area in which it operates, with a particular focus on reducing inequality. 

It also requires a contracting authority to conside how its procurement processes can facilitate the involvemen of SMEs, third secor bodies and supported businesses, and how public procurement can be used to promote innovation.

Compliance with the sustainable procurement duty is the mechanism through which public procurement contributes to and tracks its contribution to our overarching purpose.

Each contracting authority must set out in its procurement strategy how it intends to comply with the duty, and must report annually on progress.

Sustainable procurement support and guidance

Guidance has been published to help public bodies comply with the sustainable procurement duty and support sustainable procurement, including statutory guidance on the sustainable procurement duty (chapter 3).

Sustainable procurement tools

We have developed a range of tools to help public sector organisations identify and address how they can optimise the economic, social and environmental outcomes of their procurement activity:

  • Scottish public procurement prioritisation tool
  • sustainability test
  • life cycle impact mapping
  • flexible framework assessment tool

Access the sustainable procurement duty tools.

A series of sustainable procurement supporting guides are also available to help public sector organisations embed sustainability into their procurement processes.

Climate change and public procurement

Public procurement is expected to contribute to our climate change targets, and public bodies are required to report annually on how their procurement policies and activity have:

  • contributed to carbon emissions reduction targets
  • contributed to climate change adaptation
  • acted sustainably

Compliance with the sustainable procurement duty should help in this reporting process as the tools associated with the duty (listed above) prompt public bodies to consider carbon and energy consumption, resource efficiency and pollution during the procurement process.


You can view sustainable procurement content prior to 2018 on the archive.