As with the other aspects of any fit to supply audit, its vitally important that all businesses have some relative understanding of environmental aspects and how you propose to manage your impact from an environmental point of view. Many businesses stumble and fall as the questions start to build on this particular subject. In this blog we are going to suggest 5 environmental aspects to consider in your next contract bid.
Having just a standard environmental statement no longer fully works. There should be elements of actions and outcomes in your approach to environmental matters. All businesses need to dig deeper to really get to the heart of their products or services. Find the things that will make a real difference are so important. Environmental management is something that every business needs to know about and more importantly to action.
Buyers will probably ask for environmental information on your business. They may also want to know how you manage the environmental impact your business may have on consumers and broader environment sustainability. There are some things you need to consider:
How does Procurement effect your actions?
The basis of public procurement is primarily economic with an overview of openness, fairness and due diligence. There is a requirement on public procurement officers to obtain the best value for the public purse.
However, the concept of promoting and maintaining acceptable levels of environmental awareness and achieving value for money in public procurement are not always compatible. While issues such as driving economic advantage and observing tendering rules occasionally gives rise to issues and tensions for both the buyer and the provider.
These issues should not be seen as ones of conflict between securing best value and promoting the environment, but rather recognising the parity that can exist between the two. So here are 5 environmental aspects to consider when responding to buyers questions:
1. Do you have an Environmental policy?
This question is almost guaranteed to come up in the response requirement, our advice is to write or obtain an environmental policy that is relevant and robust.
Your environmental policy should really set the tone for your organisations approach to the environment. Procurement bodies do read all submitted items in the response so do make sure you take the time to consider and write a really good one
2. What actions could you or have you taken to reduce your impact on the Environment?
Another possible question that needs equal attention in your response. You should reinforce actions from your policy from question 1. Expand on what you have done and what the outcome has been.
Being able to provide facts and figures is key. That is why at BIZphit we really promote the idea of setting targets, implementing KPI’s and measuring your performance. Also consider your carbon footprint measurement and activities you have undertaken to reduce emissions.
Be specific and detailed, focus on outcomes. Promote the fact that all staff have been engaged in this process of improvement and you have promoted awareness in your business.
3. Do you operate an Environmental Management System (EMS)?
If you have a formal EMS such as ISO 14001, you will often tick the box and move on. However, if you are asked to provide further information then make sure you do so, be expansive and focused with your description of the system.
If you don’t have or do not intend to invest in ISO 14001 then you should clarify your position. Say that you have reviewed the applicability of ISO 14001 for your business (which you should have done if you are reading this blog) and that due to the size of your business and nature of work, concluded that a formal system is not yet warranted.
Then state that as a responsible business you have however taken a number of steps to manage your environmental impact.
List all the activities you have completed or intend to complete (i.e. measurement of your carbon footprint and waste production, staff training activities, keeping a register of relevant legislation etc.).
Always make sure you highlight why you don’t have an EMS and what you have done practically to address your environmental impact including the writing and adoption of your environmental policy.
4. Do you have an in-house Environmental Manager?
Again, unless you are a large organisation it is unlikely that you will have a specific environmental manager. Buyers do understand that the financial impact is often just to demanding for smaller businesses. However for larger and more mature businesses then maybe some investment is required. There are a number of operational models to use.
Do say if you do not have a dedicated environmental manager. However, do mention your investment in environmental aspects and staff members who have been instrumental in improving your environmental performance.
You could refer to these people as ‘workplace’ champions and mention them by name and position. Also mention that a Director or MD oversees all activities and provides clear senior management support.
5. What Environmental staff training do you provide?
It may be likely that you do not provide any specific training to your staff. However, you could say that all staff inductions include a session which reviews the company’s environmental policy and activities.
Have you provided awareness raising sessions to make staff aware of environmental activities and actions? If so, then do make mention of that.
If you haven’t completed any staff training, then we would encourage you to take the first step. Start engaging your staff in the activities you would like to implement. Be delighted by the enthusiasm and commitment you will receive to making improvements.
There are many ways you could accredit environment solutions. This article from The Guardian is definitely worth a read.
As always, if you are looking for more help and support? do get in touch for a chat about the problems and issues you face in your tendering.