Publication - Advice and guidance

Carbon in production: sustainable procurement guidance

Guidance for public bodies covering the procurement of products that are known to be energy/carbon intensive in their production.

Carbon in production: sustainable procurement guidance
Pre-contract notification

Pre-contract notification

In designing contracts where energy consumption requirements are to be built in, early market engagement is important to identify the capacity of the market to deliver these.

These requirements should be indicated in the call for competition (whether this is a conventional contract notice or in the prior information notice where it is being used as a call for competition).

This ensures that potential bidders are made aware early on that this will form part of the contract requirements and where relevant raise awareness of other sustainability requirements. Below is an example of wording that can be used for this purpose:  

‘The Contracting Authority has included obligations within the specification and contract conditions relating to embodied carbon, which are relevant to the products/services to be delivered.’ 

‘In all of our development work, our aim is to minimise any adverse impacts that construction has on the environment and society. We seek this through the design process, materials selection, construction techniques, and operational methods. All organisations appointed to work on our behalf are required to work in accordance with these principles.’ 

Further, it is good practice to notify suppliers early in the process of particular conditions of the contract and as such this should also be included in the Contract Notice. For example: 

‘The contract/framework agreement supports the Scottish Government's purpose to focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. This framework supports the following National Outcomes, and contractors are expected to support the authority’s aim to achieve these. [Insert relevant National Outcomes - see above].’ Or:

'The contractor will be required to minimise the environmental impacts of products supplied, including the energy and carbon intensity of their production, where practicable.' Or: 

‘A requirement of this contract is that all products offered have been assessed in terms of embodied carbon and offer the lowest values whilst meeting functional performance standards.’  (This may only be suitable where it is known that such products are energy/carbon intensive in their production and the market is known to (or should) assess embodied carbon). 

Where it is relevant and proportionate to include a requirement for embodied carbon assessment, it is important to be clear on the parameters to be used. Assessment should be done on a like by like basis to ensure results are comparable.