Supplier engagement is essential to allow the market to understand and prepare for developing requirements and this must be undertaken before the procurement process begins.
Many sustainability benefits can be achieved through the effective evaluation and selection of a supplier and further requirements will be detailed in the specification and evaluated as part of the tender process.
It is also essential that a weighted scoring mechanism is designed reflecting the criteria to evaluate the responses against and that this is shared with potential suppliers as part of the tender documentation.
Finally, ongoing improvement and innovation can be built into the management of the contract to further develop the products and services required by the contracting organisation.
Also do not forget that at the point of potential award there is always scope to reach a voluntary agreement with the supplier that they will work with you to deliver identified (and agreed) sustainable outcomes that can be captured as a contract commitment.