Sustainable Procurement: A Winning Combination

21 March 2011

The Scottish Government have recently released new guidance for caterers on buying food sustainably which will help to provide economic, environmental, social and health benefits to the organisation as well as to society and the economy.

This guidance is aimed at anyone who is involved in the procurement of food or catering services especially but not exclusively in the Scottish public sector. It tells you how you can use procurement to support economic growth, contribute to health improvement and address national and local climate change targets. Although the guide generally refers to the procurement of food, its principles and its content are equally applicable whether you are buying food directly or using a catering provider.

The origin of food and drink is of increasing importance to people across Scotland. It is important for our economy given that one in every five manufacturing jobs in Scotland is in the food and drink industry.

Sustainable procurement can also protect the environment. The Food Climate Research Network estimates that in 2008, the food industry produced between 20 and 30 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Procurement legislation also means that the public sector must be open, fair and transparent in the way that goods and services and bought.

Examples of sustainable procurement provided in the Guide include:

  • specifying fresh and seasonal produce in tender documents
  • removing barriers which stop small businesses bidding for work
  • structuring contracts in a way that attracts a wide range of suppliers
  • addressing quality and nutrition
  • buying food which will help to meet the Scottish Dietary Goals
  • taking account of how food has been produced and processed
  • thinking about its distribution
  • considering animal welfare

For more information contact: or view the Guide.