Costing the Future: Securing value for money through sustainable procurement

"This is a truly excellent and timely document that deserves to be listened to, studied, read, and acted upon by Government”.

Peter Ainsworth MP, then Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


Each year the United Kingdom's public sector procures an estimated £170 billion worth of buildings, goods and services. The environmental impact of the public sector is equally vast, emitting 30.4m tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.  Through its enormous purchasing power the Government has both a responsibility to promote social justice and minimise its own environmental impact, and an opportunity to encourage innovation and stimulate the market to provide new technological solutions for the advancement of sustainable development. 

The Report

Costing the Future: Securing Value for Money through Sustainable Procurement, was the product of a year-long inquiry into public procurement that had brought together procurement experts, parliamentarians, senior civil servants, business leaders and representatives from local government. The report provided a 'healthcheck' on the government’s progress towards its target of being recognised by EU member states as a leader in sustainable procurement by 2009.

The report highlighted a range of obstacles to the incorporation of the principles of sustainability into public sector procurement. The report also made a number of recommendations as to how to overcome these obstacles. Most notably the report highlighted the potential for whole-life costing to incentivise and embed sustainability within public sector procurement.  

The report was chaired by David Kidney MP, former PPS to David Miliband, and Barbara Morton, Director of Action Sustainability and former Project Manager of the UK Sustainable Procurement Task Force.