Publication - Advice and guidance

Biodiversity: sustainable procurement guidance

Guidance for public bodies covering the purchase of products or services that have potential negative impacts on biodiversity.

Biodiversity: sustainable procurement guidance

Biodiversity: protection and enhancement

This guidance is concerned with the procurement of products or services that have potential negative impacts on biodiversity or there are opportunities to enhance biodiversity.

It is part of a series of guides which support the sustainable procurement duty tools to help public sector organisations embed sustainability into their procurement processes.

It is important that when we have identified biodiversity risks or opportunities associated with the products or services that we procure, that we understand the alternative options available to us. This will be achieved through gathering market intelligence and good pre-procurement supplier engagement. 

Please note that the flexible framework (a self-assessment tool to enable you to embed sustainable procurement principles and practice, tailored to your organisation) also acts as a signpost to a range of relevant guidance, for example, Scottish Procurement policy notes, category or commodity specific guidance, examples of good practice, case studies and so on.

Description of risk or opportunity

Are materials within products or those used within service delivery derived from potentially vulnerable ecosystems, where biodiversity is at risk or, in the delivery of a service, there is a risk that ecosystems will be damaged? 

Is there an opportunity to enhance biodiversity in relation to services delivered?

Materials from sources that may cause potentially significant damage to vulnerable ecosystems during their extraction (for example, rainforest clearance). Also, potential damage caused during construction or service delivery. 

Biodiversity may be enhanced through, for example, protecting and enhancing Scotland's natural resources. 

Role of procurement

The categories of procurement that can have both a positive and negative impact on biodiversity range from catering to construction and many opportunities to make improvements will need to be identified at the design stage of the procurement. 

This may include decisions regarding protection measures needed when undertaking infrastructure or construction projects as well as the sourcing of wood products (which impact on forest management) and sourcing of plants and planting media (with impacts on peatbogs). 

In addition, reducing the distances that food is transported, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of transport and refrigeration, may have indirect benefits for biodiversity. Farming and food production practices may also potentially impact on or enhance biodiversity; such as through the use of pesticides, field margin habitats and hedgerows.

Disclaimer: This guidance is provided to support the embedding of relevant and proportionate contract/framework requirements and the information and examples are provided in good faith. To the extent that this guidance contains any information concerning procurement law such information does not constitute advice to you.

The contents of this guidance is not to be construed as legal advice or a substitute for such advice, which you should obtain from your own legal advisers if required. Scottish Government is not and shall not be held responsible for anything done or not done by you as a result of this guidance.