Embed sustainability principles, government told


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16 March 2012 | Adam Leach

The government and Greater London Authority (GLA) should embed the sustainable procurement practices from London 2012 into their buying standards.

Assuring a Legacy – Promises, Progress and Potential, published yesterday by the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, called for both the GLA and the UK government to ensure they embed the procurement lessons learned during the development of the games to maximise legacy benefits. It recommended that LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games), with support from government, develop a publicly available ‘learning legacy’.

Shaun McCarthy, chairman of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, said: “We have been particularly impressed by the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) and LOCOG’s efforts to raise the bar when it comes to issues like sustainable procurement, but unless the knowledge behind these projects is both made available and utilised, UK industry will find it hard to repeat these successes.”

In the report, the commission explained that ‘preliminary outcomes’ appear to show that by embedding sustainability into procurement from the outset, the ODA saved ‘considerable amounts of money’ while also delivering stronger technical outcomes. The report also praised the work by LOCOG in the area of sustainable procurement.

A case study included in the report explained that by conducting soil washing, a process that includes separating soil into different parts, scrubbing it and washing it, enabled a range of benefits. As a result of soil washing, 80 per cent of contaminated soil avoided landfill and therefore reduced lorry journeys.

The report said that while fuller analysis of the benefits is still needed, the signs so far from soil washing and other initiatives make a case for embedding the principles across the public sector. It said: “Even on the basis of the information gleaned to date, we urge the government to embed principles of sustainable procurement into the heart of its delivery agenda to ensure outcomes are sustainable, affordable and appropriate. One way to do this would be to embed consideration of sustainable procurement into government guidance on buying standards.”


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