Sustainable Procurement 

Overview: 

In Australia, re-use of recycled materials is strongly encouraged under  ecologically sustainable development and sustainable procurement programs. At the national level, National Waste Policy 2018 sets a target to reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse. This policy has also emphasised the application of the principles of a circular economy to support better and repeated use of the nation’s resources. Two strategies to promote sustainable procurement in Australia are at the forefront of this policy: Strategy 8 (Sustainable Procurement by Governments) and Strategy 9 (Sustainable Procurement by Business and Individuals). These two strategies urge the public and private sectors to promote demand for recycled materials and products containing recycled content

The Environment and Communications References Committee suggests that local governments practice sustainable procurement policies to ensure strong domestic markets for recycled material. The Australasian Procurement and Construction Council Australian and New Zealand Government Framework for Sustainable Procurement is implemented by the federal government to pursue three aims when procuring goods, services, works, and utilities. These aims involve the reduction of environmental impacts, social impact and economic impacts through the procurement process. This framework also shares some premises with the circular economy in considering alternatives to the ‘take, make and dispose of’ approach. According to this framework, the government has a decisive role in providing a market driver for increased use of recycled materials in the goods and works that it procures. In 2019, the federal government published 

Commonwealth Procurement Rules in which agencies are required to consider the relevant financial and non-financial costs and benefits of each submission, including but not limited to (clause 4.5e) the environmental sustainability of the proposed goods and services (such as energy efficiency, environmental impact and use of recycled products). 

In 2012, the SA Government was the first authority to release a Sustainable Procurement Guideline.[1] In 2018, the federal government also released the first Australian guideline on sustainable procurement[2]. This work was further complemented by state-specific guidelines to tailor sustainable procurement requirements in the ACT[3] (2015), NSW[4] (2017) and WA[5] (2017).

 

[1] SA Government. 2012. Sustainable Procurement Guideline.

[2] Sustainable procurement guide, Commonwealth of Australia 2018

[3] ACT Government. 2015. Sustainable Procurement Policy 2015.

[4] NSW Government. 2017. Sustainable Procurement Guide for Local Government in NSW.

[5] WA Government. 2017. 2017 WALGA Guide to Sustainable Procurement.