We have worked with UK and overseas procuring organisations and suppliers to enable them to embed relevant environmental, economic and social criteria into policies, strategies, processes and contracts or tender responses.

Some of our recent work includes:

Local and Global Reach

Sustainable Procurement Limited has established a reputation far and wide, having been an early proponent of and partner in the delivery of global sustainable procurement and supply.

We have delivered services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland working with public, private and third sector procurers, suppliers and partners.

We have operated in many countries, including - Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Chile, China, Columbia, Cost Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Iceland, India, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay and USA. 

As well as working with Governments we have delivered projects with UNEP, ICLEI, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Crown Agents and others.

Scotland - Sustainable Procurement - leading the way


  • Since 2010 SPL has supported the Scottish Public sector develop global leadership in its approach to embedding Sustainable Procurement.
  • SPL has undertaken a Policy and Systems review, supported the development and implementation of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and supporting guidance, trained over 700 procurers and other key stakeholders, developed and tested tools to support legislation, and applied lessons to contracts and frameworks through mentoring public bodies.
  • SG_National_Performance_Framework_2018
  • The Scottish approach has attracted interest from around the world.

Aims and Objectives

The Scottish Government’s focus on national well-being beyond GDP, including environmental and socio-economic well-being, was enshrined in the National Performance Framework (NPF) in 2007.

Recognising that procurement of goods, services and works is a major enabling mechanism to achieving National Outcomes, as set out in the NPF, the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 was enacted.

SPL has provided extensive support to the Scottish Government and public sector. This aims to ensure that systems, processes, capability, guidance and tools enable procurers and suppliers to focus on relevant, proportionate contract requirements, delivering outcomes aligned with the NPF.

Figure 1: Scotland’s National Performance Framework 2018

Embedding_Sustainable_ Procurement


SPL’s support has been extensive. The following sample:

Policy and Systems Review: to identify whether policy and systems effectively focus on environmental and socio-economic outcomes and what changes were needed. SPL’s Barbara Morton chaired the Sustainable Procurement working group advising on environmental and social aspects of Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

Training: SPL has trained over 700 procurers and other stakeholders within the Scottish public sector on sustainable procurement principles and practice. It is the sole provider of sustainable procurement training under the Scottish Government Procurement and Commercial Training Framework, providing courses and mentoring on embedding and delivering sustainable procurement, Life Cycle Costing and Social Issues in procurement. SPL has also supported training of buyers on the new Procurement Regulations and developed sustainable procurement e-learning and webinars.

Using_Sustainability_TestDevelopment and testing of tools to support the Act’s implementation: SPL have developed and tested, with working groups from across the public sector, the Scottish version of the Flexible Framework, updated to be relevant for all of the public sector and including an Action Plan. This enables organisations to plan and track their progress in Sustainable Procurement.

SPL also developed the Prioritisation methodology, a strategic planning tool, enabling organisations to identify priority categories of procurement where critical environmental and socio-economic risks and opportunities are relevant, reflecting a balance of spend, environmental and socio-economic risk and opportunity, scope to do more to address these and influence over the market. The Sustainability Test and supporting guidance has also been developed to enable a focus on relevant risks and opportunities within contracts and frameworks. These tools are available here.

Mentoring: through a focus on Circular Economy (supporting Scotland’s Circular Economy Strategy ‘Making Things Last’) and other outcomes SPL has supported the development of a range of contracts for public bodies with an annual procurement value in excess of £500m. This has included specifications and Invitations to Tender documents, evaluation and award criteria, contract management requirements.

Supporting Guidance: SPL has developed on behalf of Zero Waste Scotland a range of guidance to support the implementation of environmental and socio-economic outcomes. This includes:

  • Procuring for Repair, Re-use and Remanufacturing procurement specifications to support Circular Economy outcomes across 13 key procurement categories.

  • Procuring Resource Efficient Construction Projects procurement specifications, targets and clauses to deliver resource efficient construction projects for clients and contractors.

Supporting the Third Sector: SPL has been a partner in Ready for Business, providing support to public bodies on encouraging practical opportunities for the Third sector in public procurement. SPL has also worked with Partnership for Procurement (P4P) to help identify such opportunities within Local Authorities.

Case studies: SPL has supported the development of a range of case studies as a result of the above support. These can be found: here and here. Many of these have been presented in conferences on procurement and supply, sustainability and circular economy.


  • Public bodies obligated by the Procurement Reform Act are required to produce an Annual Procurement Report demonstrating how they have delivered intended actions within its Procurement Strategy. SPL is pleased to have supported the practical application on relevant and proportionate sustainable procurement outcomes.
  • SPL continues to support public bodies; some of whom are adopting practices to meet the requirements of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 while others are seeking innovative solutions.

Lessons Learned

SPL is proud to have been associated with Scotland’s leading approach to sustainable procurement and supply. The application to contracts and frameworks is also applicable to other countries and organisations. Key principles and lessons have been adopted in other parts of the world, in part through SPL’s engagement with governments, public agencies and companies in over 40 countries.

The support provided has demonstrated that progress in sustainable procurement, including a focus on innovation and the Circular Economy, requires alignment with National and/or organisational objectives in Procurement Policy and Strategy commitment supported by effective systems and processes, a focus on key priorities and awareness and capability building through training, tools and guidance. Monitoring and reporting outcomes delivered is essential to show how procurement is delivering against these national or organisational objectives.

Setting a standard for best practice in Responsible Procurement Policy - GLA Group

SPL is delighted to have assisted The GLA Group develop its new Responsible Procurement Policy which sets a standard for best practice.

This is aligned with the objectives set out in the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s, Vision and Statement of Intent.

The GLA Group, comprising Greater London Authority, Transport for London, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, London Legacy Development Corporation and Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation and supported by the Metropolitan Police Service has clearly set out a range of commitments. These focus on: 1. Enhancing social value 2. Encouraging equality and diversity 3. Embedding fair employment practices 4. Enabling skills, training and employment opportunities 5. Promoting ethical sourcing practices, and 6. Improving environmental sustainability.

The Policy stresses the role of the Policy to set commitments which the GLA Group Functional Bodies can adopt and implement through a relevant action plan.

This builds on the Group’s progress in Responsible Procurement over a number of years.

See the new Policy here.

ITAIPU Binacional – the World’s largest single generator of energy in 2016

The ITAIPU hydroelectric plant, on the border between Brazil and Paraguay, ended 2016 with a historic production of 103,098,366 megawatt hour (MWh) and established a new world record in annual generation. If the energy it generated came from fossil fuel sources this would have resulted in carbon emissions of 41 million tonnes (Gas), 72 million tonnes (Oil) or 93 million tonnes (Coal).

See here for further information and click here to view ITAIPU website.

Sustainable Procurement ProgrammeAs part of this ITAIPU has implemented a Sustainable Procurement Programme which SPL has been supporting and SPL is now working with ITAIPU on the Development of Relevant Sustainable Procurement Indicators. This is an exciting project and builds on previous work SPL has undertaken in Latin America since 2008.

Effective Public Procurement Management ConferenceKyrgyzstan

20th- 22nd April 2017, Kyrgystan.

SPL Director Barbara Morton travelled to Kyrgyzstan to present at the First International Open Conference on Effective Procurement Management, organised by the Crown Agents in Bishkek. Barbara led a presentation on "Sustainable Public Procurement - What is it?" and co-facilitated a workshop with Dr Elena Shadrina about the identification of priority products in Kyrgyzstan for implementation of sustainable procurement.

Barbara took and answered questions throughout the event, amongst the subjects discussed were standards and experiences on sustainable road building projects.

The event was broadcast online, which you can view via the Crown Agents’ You Tube Channel.

Overseas - Marrakech Task Force (and beyond)

UNEP 2003 - the start

The Marrakech Task Force (MTF) on Sustainable Public Procurement was set up to "To promote and support the implementation of Sustainable Public Procurement, by developing tools and supporting capacity building in both developed and developing countries".

The initial programme with seven countries was part of the 10 year programme until 2011.

This included training, mentoring and various events. Barbara Morton, as the UK representative, trained trainers in the UK as well as overseas.

2011- Post-MTF

Since 2011 the principles set out in MTF have been adopted (for example by Defra in the National Sustainable Public Procurement Programme – NSPPP – developed in 2010 and 2011) and by the Scottish Government adoption of the Marrakech Approach.

SPL have trained over 700 public sector procurers in the UK and many more overseas and continue to deliver training in Africa, Latin America and other regions.

More information on the Marrakech Task Force is available from here.


SPL_in_Africa Barbara Morton attended the fifth meeting of the Africa Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production held in Midrand, South Africa 4-6 June 2008. In her role as technical advisor to the Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Public Procurement (MTF on SPP) she facilitated a workshop on sustainable public procurement (SPP).

Since then SPL has worked with the Public Procurement Authority Ghana on a number of occasions to support the development of sustainable procurement processes and systems. 

This a Swiss-Ghana project funded by SECO, the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Cooperation. It has included the delivery of a 'train the trainer' session in August 2014 in Accra. 

SPL have also undertaken a range of support for the African Development Bank.

This has included training and support on strategy development.

This supports the Bank's Strategy for 2013-2022 'At the Center of Africa's Transformation'. 

This strategy sets out a 'response not only to sustainable growth, but also to the sustainable management of natural resources. Africa's development is so closely tied to nature, and economic growth is not sustainable without preserving the continent's natural capital, land, water, marine, forest and natural resources'.

Latin and Central America

SPL_in_Latin_and_Central_AmericaOur work in Latin and central America began in 2008 with Pilot Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) training for the Marrakech Task Force (MTF) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was for 120 participants from all over Central and Latin America including Argentina, Brazil, Equador, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.

Subsequent training was undertaken for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the MTF in Mexico City for delegates from Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua. This continued in 2009 in Chile comprising support for development of policies and training for UN agencies in Latin America including ECLAC in Panama City, Panama.

This was followed in 2010 by SPP support at San Jose for Costa Rica and in 2011 in Montevideo, Uruguay and Bogota, Colombia.

Engagement in Chile has included further work with Ministries of Finance and Environment through a project support by the British Embassy in Chile in 2013.

Brazil/Paraguay - ITAIPU. Barbara Morton delivered a seminar and workshops to buyers and project team in connection with the work of the Fundacion Moises Bertoni on the ITAIPU Binational. She was subsequently invited to speak at the 2nd international seminar on Sustainable Public Procurement in Brasilia in August 2014, organised by the Brazilian Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management in partnership with the British Embassy in Brasilia and ICLEI South America under the project 'Green Public Procurement for Innovation and Growth'.