Procurement strategy: April 2021 to March 2023

Scottish Government Procurement Strategy covering the period from April 2021 to March 2023.

7. Climate change and circular economy


Scotland is committed to a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions nationally by 2045 in response to the global climate emergency and the world is looking to Scotland as the United Nations COP26 climate summit takes place in Glasgow in November 2021.

The Programme for Government highlights several high profile commitments which includes the public sector fleet, heat and other key infrastructure considerations and the Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland sets out further clarity on our aspirations, targets and associated activity. While these commitments are not owned by procurement, we are working to facilitate targets and milestones set by the business areas on behalf of whom we procure.

We will invest £1.6 billion in heat in buildings over the next Parliament, improving energy efficiency and decarbonising heating, and helping tackle fuel poverty.

We contributed to the Construction Industry Recovery Plan which has several climate-related actions to help deliver a net-zero
built environment.

We are working with Transport Scotland to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. Also, we are supporting a project to help secure value for money in the investment required to enable Scotland's public sector to decarbonize its fleets through better procurement practices.

We are working with public bodies to lead the way by phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles by 2025.

From a Scottish Government perspective environmental considerations are already at the heart of the sustainable procurement duty and are routinely considered as part of individual procurement exercises. There is much more that we can and need to do through our procurements to reduce emissions and to achieve resource efficiency. In response to the First Minister declaring a Global Climate Emergency in April 2019, public bodies across Scotland have been collaborating to address the Climate Emergency through their procurement activity.

Our aim is to make the best use of our resources to provide a consistent and robust approach to addressing climate issues through procurement. Early products include key messages for all those involved in public sector procurement, Scottish Procurement Policy Note SPPN 1/2021: Taking account of climate and circular economy considerations in public procurement and Climate Literacy for Buyers e-learning that is available through our sustainable procurement tools. Over time this activity will enable procurement to contribute to other net-zero related commitments including heat and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.

To allow us to use our networks and influence with the market, suppliers and wider public bodies to promote a collaborative and proportionate approach to tackling the climate emergency we have established a cross-sector Climate and Procurement Forum to drive this work.

Our policy

Existing procurement duties under the 2014 Act already require public bodies to consider and act on opportunities to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their areas through their procurements. The Scottish Government's sustainable procurement tools, available to all public bodies, include indicators and guidance to support Scottish public sector buyers to consider and act on a number of climate change considerations. Examples of where benefits are already being seen in respect to reducing emissions include:

  • The 2nd generation Non-Domestic Energy Efficiency (NDEE) frameworks launched in 2020. These frameworks will continue to support public and third sector bodies in Scotland to accelerate energy efficiency retrofit projects across their estates. The frameworks aim to cover environmental, community and Fair Work benefits, as part of any energy efficiency projects supported.
  • The award-winning frameworks for IT Products, open to the whole of the Scottish public sector, which have been recognised by the Green Electronics Council as demonstrating excellence in the sustainable procurement of IT products that are manufactured to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; reduce hazardous waste and use of primary materials.
  • The contract for Warmer Homes Scotland, where the average Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rating per household on the scheme has increased.


As reflected in the key messages that we have communicated around Climate and Procurement – including a joint Ministerial letter to local leaders – we recognise that whether we buy, what we buy and how much we buy can have a much greater impact on our climate aspirations than how we buy. Specifically, we are committed to helping to tackle the climate emergency by buying goods and services which reduce emissions, minimise waste and allow for re-use or recycling wherever appropriate. We are looking for ways to reduce how much we buy as that will impact directly on the emissions and waste involved in manufacturing, logistics, distribution and servicing. Given we routinely buy on behalf of others many of these decisions are influenced by our stakeholders and budget holders. We are exploring a range of ways to influence, support and track progress.

Our policy calls for public bodies to set out in their corporate procurement strategies their approach to embedding climate and circular economy considerations within procurement, with progress against their commitments tracked in their published annual reports.

Impact of Scottish Government policy

We will continue to use our influence with the market, suppliers and public bodies to promote a collaborative approach to tackling the climate emergency working with colleagues across the public sector.



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