IEMA advises UK government on sustainable procurement

Sustainability body IEMA has submitted its response to the UK government’s consultation on incorporating social value outcomes into its procurement process.


Following extensive member engagement, IEMA said that the government’s proposed policy metrics must be more simple, action-oriented, and support the upskilling of professionals.

It argued that they must also incorporate issues that “lie at the heart” of sustainability, such as responsible sourcing, responsible design, and ethical business practices.

In addition, IEMA called for the environment metric to refer to specific environmental commitments that are more readily understandable within industry by procurers and suppliers.

Looking at potential barriers for procurers, IEMA found that smaller businesses and voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs) could struggle in the bidding process.

It warned that they might not have the resources needed to implement management systems robust enough to ensure the full scope of social value outcomes are captured through their supply chain.

And when advising the government on its internal capacity to support sustainable procurement, IEMA strongly encouraged it to adopt ISO 20400.

This could help ensure a standard approach to procurement across all government departments and functions, and provide a strategic framework for organisations to procure sustainably.

Finally, IEMA advocated the need to support the training and upskilling of professionals with procurement responsibilities, providing “capacity building in sustainability” so that procurement integrates social value.

The full version of the IEMA’s response is available here.

Should you wish to participate in further engagement activities around the topic of social value then please contact IEMA’s policy lead, Marc Jourdan, who led the member engagement, on


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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