The importance of going green
In November, the government released new statistics on fuel consumption, emissions and pollutants, and no surprise, they are still high. With these figures and reports in mind, it is understandable that the government enforces binding legislation and guidelines to ensure that businesses consider and curtail their impact on the environment. For example, the government’s regulatory guidelines for gas installation engineers and the enforcement and sanctions outlined by the Environment Agency.
This means that more and more buyers, and subsequently their tenders, are requiring bidders to explain their commitment to sustainability efforts. Sustainability questions are weighted heavily in the assessment process, and in some cases, the question receives more marking consideration than the value for money response. In short, explaining your sustainability practices and demonstrating your efforts to reduce your impact on the environment are very important in the process of winning a tender.
A good place to start in a sustainable practices response is to consider the good practices and policies that you already have in place. Think about what legislation your business abides by and consider what is outlined in your environmental and sustainability policy. Which member of staff is the appointed manager of environmental and sustainability considerations? What does your policy include? How often is it discussed, reviewed and improved? By demonstrating your understanding of sustainability and its importance, you will be able to show the assessors that sustainability is at the heart of your business model and practices.
Small changes go a long way
After you have considered the good sustainable policies and practices that you already have in place, consider the small changes that your business has made. Recently, local businesses like The Apartment Group and national businesses as large as Wetherspoons have stopped using plastic straws and now use biodegradable alternatives in efforts to reduce the toxic waste they send to landfill. It may be difficult to recognise the small changes, particularly if they have been in place for a long time. Consult the government’s guidance on sustainability indicators and speak to your staff. Speaking to your staff about sustainability practices is an ideal way of gathering an inventory of all the small things that your organisation does to make a positive change over time. Additionally, by consulting your staff on this topic, you may find that they have made small, individual changes that you were not even aware of. For example, some staff may have organised a car share scheme, which over time has reduced your business’s carbon footprint as fewer vehicles are being used by staff to get to work. Small changes go a long way, and it is important to ensure that both the large- and small-scale sustainability efforts are mentioned in your tender.
After explaining your foundations of sustainability practices and the small scale but long-term improvements that have been successful in your business, you must confirm that you are willing to continue this process. Include your sustainability targets for the next year. Are you going paperless? Are deliveries being grouped into one order? What percentage of materials do you hope to recycle? Illustrate that as a business you are aware of your current sustainability performance and understand that this performance can always be improved.
Change that will last
An important aspect to consider when approaching the topic of sustainability in tenders is showing that the practices you have in place are indeed just that: sustainable. There is no benefit to using examples or setting targets which cannot be achieved. You must remember that assessors are looking for contractors who will be reliable in every aspect of their work, and this includes a contractor’s willingness, commitment and ability to improve their practices.